Beginning his career at light flyweight, the fighting Senator of the Philippines rose through the ranks, climbing as high as super welterweight to win an unprecedented eight world titles in as many weight divisions — the first boxer in history to ever do so.
Along the way, Pacquiao has had a myriad of epic performances, defeating the biggest legends in the sport. However, a handful of performances truly stand out as Pacquiao’s greatest, most incredible displays of speed and power.
We can’t imagine anyone being unfamiliar with this legend, but if you’ve never seen “Pacman” fight, now is your chance to get a taste of what he was like in his prime. Or you could just relive all these fantastic moments with us. Nevertheless, we’ve come up with a list of his most astonishing victories inside the squared circle.
There will never be another fighter quite like Pacquiao ever again. Let’s take a quick look at Pacquiao’s time at the top of the sport. Today, Evolve Daily shares the five biggest wins in Manny Pacquiao’s career.
1) Marco Antonio Barrera (2003)
For many hardcore Pacquiao fans, his 2003 victory over legendary Mexican fighter “The Baby Faced Assassin” Marco Antonio Barrera is an indelible memory.
At the time, Barrera was a consensus pound-for-pound top 3 boxer in the sport. His awesome combination of strength, power, and Mexican fighting spirit earned him the admiration of spectators from all over the world.
Here was Pacquiao, virtually unknown to the masses, on the rise and about to face a beloved warrior. There was no doubt who the favorite was heading into this matchup. Everyone expected the veteran Barrera to win handily, and no one but Pacquiao’s closest friends and fans thought he could win.
So the fact that Pacquiao was just able to just starch and dominate Barrera from the opening bell, up until the final few seconds when the Mexican’s corner stepped in to throw the towel, was just absolutely shocking.
Pacquiao battered Barrera with a torrent of left hands from start to finish, never letting the Mexican even catch his breath for a second with unrelenting pressure. The result was an 11th round TKO victory, one of Pacquiao’s finest.
2) Erik Morales (2006)
Pacquiao took on the legendary fighter from Tijuana, Erik “El Terrible” Morales in 2006, looking for redemption.
The pair met for the first time years before, as Morales became the first Mexican to beat Pacquiao after he was already considered a star. Morales took that 2005 victory by unanimous decision, solving the Pacquiao puzzle with expert timing and counterpunching precision.
The rematch in 2006 was a different story.
Pacquiao came into the fight with a well-developed right hand, cultivated by his Hall-of-Fame coach Freddie Roach, and aptly dubbed “Manila Ice.” With better use of both fists, Pacquiao shook off his reputation of being a one-dimensional fighter in an emphatic fashion. This time, Morales just couldn’t handle the speed and power coming from a two-fisted attack.
The “Pacman” took Morales’ best shots, and each man had their moments. At times, it appeared evenly matched, and Pacquiao had to walk through the line of fire in order to get his shots off.
Of course, that was until the 12th round, when Morales finally folded from the constant pressure. Pacquiao, still fresh, put on the finishing touches with his usual unrelenting aggression and volume punching.
3) Oscar De La Hoya (2008)
After Pacquiao had experimented climbing to higher weight classes by beating former champion David Diaz at lightweight, coach Roach had the crazy idea of calling out Mexican-American megastar Oscar De La Hoya to face Pacquiao at welterweight.
De La Hoya was the box office and Pay-Per-View king at the time, and no doubt the most popular fighter in the world. He was boxing’s cash cow, and every fight ran up revenue to the millions. Every boxer on the planet wanted to fight De La Hoya.
Pacquiao, whose natural weight class was the super featherweight limit of 130 lbs., had to move up several divisions to face “The Golden Boy.” Because he was the naturally smaller man by a huge margin, again, no one gave Pacquiao a chance to beat De La Hoya. Though most experts believed Pacquiao was the more talented fighter in his prime, they also believed the size difference would be too much to overcome for the Filipino.
You guessed it, it was another one-sided knockout performance from the Filipino firecracker. Pacquiao annihilated De La Hoya from the first round, all the way up to the end of the eighth, when he forced the Mexican-American fighter to quit on his stool.
4) Miguel Cotto (2009)
When Pacquiao finally took on a young, strong welterweight in his prime in Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto, the fight was viewed as the Filipino’s first legitimate challenge in the higher weight divisions.
But whatever doubts lingered about Pacquiao competing at welterweight after the De La Hoya victory, “Pacman” put them to rest in a masterful performance against “The Boricua Bomber.”
Cotto came out strong in the first couple of rounds, and for a while, it appeared as though Pacquiao met his match against a live body. That was until, of course, a blistering third round that saw Pacquiao jump out in front after scoring a quick knockdown, care of a right hand that Cotto just didn’t see.
From that point on, Cotto was visibly a step slower, and fought from behind the rest of the way. The Pacquiao whirlwind continued in the fourth round, when the Filipino again dropped Cotto, this time with a left shovel hook that staggered the Puerto Rican.
Cotto would try to fight valiantly to the end, but Pacquiao was just too much for him, and the referee stopped the bout in the final moments of the 12th.
5) Ricky Hatton (2009)
When Pacquiao took on junior welterweight great Ricky “Hitman” Hatton in 2009, it was being viewed as another legit challenge for the Filipino star. One, because Hatton was a dominant champion, unbeaten at that weight class. And two, because Hatton had legendary coach Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his corner who promised to transfer “Hitman” into a completely different boxer.
Pacquiao and Hatton were pretty evenly matched. Both men loved to come forward behind powerful combinations, and neither ever backed down from a fight. However, the difference in speed and power was evident from the opening bell, and it quickly became apparent that Hatton wasn’t going to come out of the bout in one piece.
Pacquiao dropped Hatton twice in the first round, with the “Hitman” miraculously making it to the bell.
Then, in what is the single greatest knockout performance of Pacquiao’s career, the Filipino ended Hatton’s unbeaten streak at junior welterweight, stopping the Brit in the second round with a phantom check hook from nowhere. Hatton hit the ground, his lights out in mid-air, and his head bouncing off the canvas. He wasn’t getting back up.
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