Pacquiao-Mayweather: in the eyes of common foes
Come May 2, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will go atop the squared circle at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Before Pacquiao-Mayweather face off for the Fight of the Century, let’s take a look at how both fighters fared in the other fights where they faced similar enemies.
Pacquiao fought against Miguel Cotto on November 2009 at MGM Grand for a shot an unprecedented seventh world title in seven world divisions.
People were saying that Pacquiao was crazy climbing up to welterweight to fight the WBO Welterweight champion.
Criticisms proved futile as Pacquiao obliterated Cotto and won via technical knockout in the 12th round.
In contrast, it was arguably the toughest fight of Mayweather’s career.
Toughest in the sense that Mayweather had to engage in a real fight against a relentless Cotto in the WBC, WBA Light Middleweight Title unification match on May 2012 at MGM Grand.
Mayweather left the fight as the victor but for a time in his illustrious career he was bloodied, battered and bruised.
Juan Manuel Marquez
Juan Manuel Marquez’ match-up with Manny Pacquiao stretched to a four-part series that ultimately brought the most dramatic plots in Pacquiao’s career.
Pacquiao won two, the second one in a head-scratching decision, Marquez won one, via a devastating knockout, and they drew on the first.
Marquez put his WBA and IBF Featherweight titles on the line while Pacquiao staked his Ring Magazine Featherweight title in a unification bout where the fast-rising Filipino was seen as the underdog and the Mexican a prime power.
Pacquiao was riding an intense 13-fight win streak coming to his May 2004 fight against Marquez at MGM Grand Garden Arena, and that momentum carried him as he floored Marquez three times in the first round. But Marquez held his ground to reach the 12th round and see a draw.
On March 2008, Pacquiao and Marquez met once more, this time at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino also in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao sent Marquez sitting on the third round with a solid left and that proved vital as both fighters were almost even in the punch cards. Pacquiao outpunched Marquez in six rounds, Marquez got the better number in five and they were even in the third round.
A split decision gave Pacquiao the WBC Superfeatherweight and Ring Magazine Junior Lightweight titles.
A third fight saw Pacquiao fight in a new, and slower, manner while Marquez went out hell-bent for revenge.
Technically, Pacquiao and Marquez fought their 25th round on November 2011 at MGM Grand, but in a third weight division. Pacquiao was defending his WBO Welterweight title against the WBO/WBA lightweight champion Marquez.
A more technical Pacquiao fought slower and landed less punches than his previous fights showed up against Mayweather. He won via majority decision to retain his title. This uneventful showing ultimately led to the fourth fight.
On December 2012 at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao and Marquez met once more. No titles were at stake, just bragging rights. Both fighters were determined to put an end to controversies.
And they both delivered.
Marquez knocked Pacquiao down in the third round then the Pacman sent Dinamita down the mat in the fourth round.
Come the sixth round, with only a second to spare and Marquez on the corner, Pacquiao attacked. But Marquez sneaked in a powerful right and Pacquiao was down for the count, his first knockout in 13 years.
Finally there was a clear winner.
Unlike a four-fight series fought across three weight divisions, Mayweather and Marquez only fought once back on September 2009 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Mayweather, who just came out of retirement for this one, was stepping in the ring against Marquez for bragging rights between the sport’s premier defensive fighters.
Mayweather won via unanimous decision but it wasn’t without controversy. Marquez, 18 months prior to the fight, was a 130 pounder then had to move to welterweight for the fight.
A fight between friends, Pacquiao and Shane Mosley bore no animosity towards each other leading up for their May 2011 fight at MGM Grand.
Pacquiao entered the fight with a 13-fight win streak and was named the no.1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world according to Ring Magazine.
While it was very friendly affair between the two, Pacquiao still sent Mosley to the mat with a solid left. Pacquiao retained his WBO Welterweight belt.
Mosley had the chance to finally dent the perfect record of Mayweather on May 2010 at the MGM Grand, but he could only do so much.
Mayweather, usually a defensive minded fighter, went aggressive and this almost cost him the match. Mosley rocked him in the second round but Money still found a way to win via unanimous decision.
Pacquiao entered the realm of the welterweights for his fight against Hatton and it gunning for a sixth title in as many divisions was seen as a preposterous move.
Hatton put his Ring Magazine Light Welterweight title against, that time, the world’s best boxer on May 2009 at MGM Grand.
Even Pacquiao’s stature as the best boxer in the world could not spare him from critics who said that a featherweight fighting a light welterweight, a champion at that, for the first time is just asking himself to get beaten.
It was as if the world had forgotten how Pacquiao obliterated his opponent in his first welterweight fight five months prior. His opponent? Oscar De La Hoya.
With all the hype surrounding the fight, you’d think it will be a long one, yet Pacquiao ended it in the second round with a vicious left, arguably one of his best knockout punches of his career.
Both fighters entered the fight with undefeated records but only one left MGM Grand in December 2007 with a still perfect record. It was Mayweather.
Hatton entered the lavish arena with a pre-dominant British crowd but all those cheers went to naught as Mayweather dominated the Manchester native.
Mayweather scored a decisive 10th round knockout as the British sang for their fallen hero.
Oscar De La Hoya
It was the match that saw Pacquiao showcase his devastating power in a new and unfamiliar territory, the welterweight division.
Pacquiao faced his idol, the Golden Boy, Mr. Oscar De La Hoya on December 2008 at MGM Grand in his first fight as welterweight.
From the opening bell, Pacquiao was the bigger man. From rounds 1 to 8 it was the Manny Pacquiao show. Combos left and right, Pacquiao was in the zone, a zone where no mortal man can achieve easily.
At the start of the ninth round De La Hoya’s corner stops the fight.
There was a fight in the ring, but there was more.
Yes Mayweather won via split decision in their May 2007 fight at MGM Grand and took the WBC light middleweight belt, but it was Floyd Jr. and Floyd Sr. who were the story.
Floyd Sr. had been De La Hoya’s trainer for seven years and Senior had the potential to train a fighter who was hell-bent on knocking his son out.
Still, despite how estranged the Mayweathers were, they still found reconciliation with Senior behind Junior and Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach behind De La Hoya.
It was family magic as Mayweather took the victory and De La Hoya lost confidence in Roach.
For more updates on Pacquiao-Mayweather “Fight of the Century,” visit The Pacquiao Files.