- Juan Manuel Márquez rivalry
In the defining rivalry of his career, Manny Pacquiao shared the ring with Juan Manuel Márquez four times, over 42 rounds, with the Filipino winning two, with one draw and one triumph for Márquez. The first fight took place on May 8, 2004 as Pacquiao challenged for the WBA and IBF featherweight titles. In the first round Márquez was dropped three times, but recovered well to win rounds after to secure the draw, one judge admitted to an error as he scored the first round 10–7 in favor of Pacquiao instead of 10–6 meaning only two of the knockdowns were scored. The controversy of the result set up the March 15, 2008 rematch, where Pacquiao would triumph via split decision winning the WBC super-featherweight titles. Following their close second encounter a third bout was scheduled for November 12, 2011, where again, the judge’s decision was not unanimous.
Pacquiao claimed a majority decision win however, many believed Márquez was on the end of a wrong decision, despite the Compubox stats showing Pacquiao landed more strikes, 176 to 138, and landing more power punches, 117 to 100. A fourth a final fight would follow, and this time, for the first time, there was a decisive winner. On December 8, 2012, Márquez would finally prevail against Pacquiao after a thudding right hand knocked his Filipino rival out in the sixth round. This proved to be the last in their epic rivalry, as over six years the two provided boxing fans with memorable rounds of action and skill.
- Floyd Mayweather saga
In a saga that plagued the boxing world for the best part of half a decade, it seemed for many years this fight would never take place. In 2010 Mayweather and Pacquiao were slated to meet in Las Vegas however, after a dispute over Olympic-style drug testing the fight was scrapped, as the boxers couldn’t agree to what stage they would give blood at. In the next five years disputes over purses, promoters and just about everything else meant the two best boxers on the planet wouldn’t face each other. They both fought and beat the same opponents, but the inevitable still seemed a universe away. However, On February 20 2015 it was announced the two would finally meet, Mayweather was still undefeated aged 38 while Pacquiao was 36, the WBO, WBA (Super) and WBC welterweight titles were on the line, but the contest meant much more than just belts. In a fight that grossed over $410 million in revenue, and a record 4.6 million PPVs purchased, Mayweather was awarded a unanimous decision victory having controlled the bout for much of the proceedings. The argument was finally settled although Pacquiao cited after the bout he had sustained a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder while training and called for a rematch, which never came. Despite the result going against Pacquiao, this fight remains as the biggest the sport has seen. With a rivalry that enticed the boxing world for so many years finally seeing a conclusive outcome was a success for the sport.
In a career where Pacquiao debuted as a flyweight, the idea of moving seven weights up to welterweight seemed near impossible. However, in December 2008 this absurd proposition became reality. Many had fears De La Hoya would be too big and powerful for the five-foot six Pacquiao however, the Filipino dominated from start to finish. Pacquiao overwhelmed his opponent with his speed and footwork as he landed 224 out of 585 punches, while the bemused and sluggish De La Hoya landed just 83 out of 402 punches along the way to an eighth round stoppage. Pacquiao shocked the boxing world and proved he could compete at the weight due to his vast amount of skill and cemented his name in the pound for pound discussion.
- Marco Antonio Barrera
In a career packed with rivalries, sagas and defining wins Pacquiao’s November 2003 triumph over Barrera is important. Despite previously being in world title action in America the Filipino had not quite announced himself on the world stage like he did in Texas this night. Moving up to featherweight, Pacquiao was facing the toughest test of his career coming up against the Mexican legend Barrera. Pacquiao had to recover from a controversial first round knockdown before stopping his opponent in the 11th round with less than ten seconds of the session remaining. This fight is widely regarded as a career defining win.
- Ricky Hatton
Pacquiao scored a total of 38 knockouts in his 59 career wins, but none were as emphatic as his May 2, 2009 second round destruction of Ricky Hatton. Pacquiao floored Hatton twice before knocking his British opponent out. Not only was this a first class display of Pacquiao’s raw power, it was the second time he had bettered the result of Floyd Mayweather, who rivalled Pacman in the pound for pound discussion at the time. Mayweather stopped Hatton inside 10 rounds after beating De La Hoya on points. Pacquiao’s second round finish of Hatton and eight round destruction of De La Hoya seemed more convincing than Mayweather’s, creating the argument for Pacman to lead the pound for pound list.
- Eric Morales rivalry
In the first rivalry of his career Pacquiao had to overcome another Mexican adversary in legend Eric Morales. The two first met in March 2005 a vacant WBC International super-featherweight titles, Pacquiao already had the previous win over Barrera but had failed in beating Juan Manuel Márquez after their draw, which meant the Fillipino was not yet a proven talent. Pacquiao would suffer a unanimous decision loss to Morales. 10 months later the Filipino would avenge the defeat by stopping Morales in the tenth round in January 2006.
- Timothy Bradley rivalry
On June 9 2012 Bradley scored a split-decision victory to claim the WBO welterweight world championship. However the decision was met by boos in the crowd as the result was deemed a robbery. Many news outlets and broadcasters scored the bout heavily in Pacquiao’s favour and on June 21, the WBO championship committee judges reviewed the fight and declared Pacquiao should have won, with all five judges scoring the fight in Pacquiao’s favor—117–111, 117–111, 118–110, 116–112, and 115–113. Although the organisation couldn’t overturn a result, they could recommend the rematch of a fight and that’s exactly what happened. On April 12, 2014, Pacquiao claimed revenge with a unanimous decision victory over Bradley regaining his former WBO title. With the scores tied one a piece, Pacquiao triumphed in the rubber match with another unanimous decision and after the bout he declared retirement only to return to the ring seven months later.
- Split with Freddie Roach
Roach and Pacquiao first met in 2001, at age 22 when the Filipino travelled to America with his business manager Rod Nazario in search of opportunities, and the first one would be a training session with Roach. After one session the two formed a team and a fight with IBF super-bantamweight world champion Lehlo Ledwaba became available, on two weeks’ notice Pacquiao made his US debut with Roach in his corner for the first time. On June 23, 2001 Pacquiao defeated Ledwaba at the MGM Grand, in Nevada to capture the world title. 33 fights and 17 years later the two would part ways, Pacquiao would be trained by life-long friend Buboy Fernandez a former assistant trainer in previous fights. Roach had previously wished for Pacquiao to retire, he was not made aware of the boxers decision to be trained by someone else until reading a press release. For the first time since 2001, Pacquiao will have another trainer leading him into a fight, having won seven world titles with Roach.
- Jeff Horn loss
After a fight with Amir Khan failed to materialise it was announced Australian Jeff Horn would challenge for Pacquiao’s WBO title in Brisbane on July 2, 2017. In front of 51,052 Pacquiao was defeated controversially via unanimous decision, despite Compubox stats showing Pacquiao landed 182 out of 573 punches thrown (32%), while Horn landed 92 of 625 thrown (15%). Many broadcasters, journalists and pundits scored the bout in favour of Pacquiao and a review was ordered. On July 6, 2017, the WBO announced they would re-score the fight but the result would wouldn’t change, the outcome of this was a Horn victory seven rounds to five with three judges scoring in favour of the Australian, one a draw and one to Pacquiao. Despite Pacquiao previously stating he would exercise a rematch, the two didn’t meet again. Although many adjudged Pacman to have won, the decline in form was evident and the eight-weight world champion was clearly past his best.
On June 30, 2016 Pacquiao became Senator of the Philippines receiving more than 16 million votes, and will serve a six-year term until 2022. His political career began in 2007 and has been a major part of his life since, the Filipino would juggle between politics and training, something his former trainer, Freddie Roach, stated was not easy to do.