The best of the decade: Your opinions, Part I
Note: RingTV.com asked you to tell us who you think is the best fighter of the decade. We received hundreds of emails. Many of them are here, on the first of two postings. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. And, please, keep in touch. We want to know what you're thinking.
I'd definitely have to agree that Pacquiao is the fighter of the decade. There's really no comparison IMO. Mayweather has all kinds of technical skills, plays the villain (or heel) perfectly, but he just lacks the warrior spirit — both in ring and in choosing his opponents. Undefeated means nothing when you haven't truly fought the highest level of challenges possible and don't fight like a warrior at least part of the time. Any fool can remain undefeated cherry picking and look good. I actually share more respect for defeated boxers because they've faced the worst kind of adversity … that loss. Defeat is a more powerful foe than some realize.
As far as undefeateds go in the last decade, I'd actually rate Calzaghe higher than Mayweather on the thrills list. Sure he gets tagged with “slappy” and didn't face what a lot felt was the best challenges all the time, but he still “thrilled” in the ring. He was offensive, he was adaptable, he didn't bike ride, and he was vulnerable in the ring. That's a helluva combination for a fan, even if you only want to see him lose. His fights weren't always absolutely overwhelming, but they entertained for boths sides of fans. I can't compare Joe to Manny because, like Mayweather, the level of competition just wasn't there, and as stupid as it might sound…he never had to get up from a defeat and dust himself off. I know that last comment is foolish a bit, but not facing the hardest challenges really diminishes those goose eggs in my eyes. I'd have more respect for both fighters had they faced the best and lost than bypassing the best to remain undefeated. Sorta like the respect I give to Hatton for even entering the ring with either guy. I honestly don't know how he thought he could beat either(if he even truly felt that way…paychecks do crazy things to people), but he at least earns that respect by facing the challenge head on to me.
Mayweather just doesn't inspire. He represents everything a lot of fans hate about the sport(even though some of it is probably just his “villain” act). He more or less admits only wanting money, not wanting challenges, then jumps in the ring and fights like it. Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle, pot shot, pot shot, pot shot….wake me when it's over…
Then when the bell sounds he jumps on his soapbox and yells, ” Yes I am in fact the best.” Everyone likes confident people, no one likes arrogant people, strike again.
Weight drained excuses or not, Pacquiao thrilled 1000% more in both mutual fights than Mayweather did. In my neighborhood we even joked that Mayweather's punch hurt Hatton less than the turnbuckle head shot did. We actually gave that corner the “W”, not Floyd.
Pacquiao fought to win, Mayweather fought to out point. Technical skills or not, out pointing will never ever trump a KO. Ever.
Pacquiao has everything a fan of boxing could love, personality(in and out of the ring), a warriors heart and will, skills(which just keep seeming to improve), he's faced defeat and rebounded-which adds vulnerability, he's offensive in the ring, and he's not scared to be hit/hurt.
His overwhelming fans may drive us all nuts, but he really is a full package.
I agree with the reasons you have pointed out why Pacquiao is a greater fighter than Mayweather. I also want to point out other reasons that define a great athlete: professionalism and sportsmanship. Pacquiao has always been humble and gracious despite his sudden rise in popularity. Before and after fights, he always shows respect and dignity to his opponents. He does not look down on people and he does not throw insults to anyone. He treats every fight like a true professional. After the fight with Hatton, he said that it's his job to fight and it's the promoter's job to look for opponents. Mayweather always talks trash and only brags about himself while Pacquiao is a God-fearing person who carries the hope and the pride of his countrymen. I consider these intangible reasons to be comparable with the “thrill” factor.
I finally read from you what I was thinking! Pacquiao beat Hatton in two while Mayweather did it in 10. Mayweather beat De La Hoya in a decision while with Pacquiao made De La Hoya quit. I’m just worried that Marquez will beat Mayweather. I hope not, so that we will see if Mayweather’s talking can answer Pacquiao's punching power.
I think that it might be too early to decide who is the best of the 2000s, but if I had to choose the top two, Mayweather jr. would not be one of them! You can't be considered one of the best if you duck fights. Mayweather jr. has ducked Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto when Floyd was in his prime. Then he quit when he had no choice but to fight either Mosley or Cotto, calling it a retirement. What a JOKE!!! Now the two fighters I believe deserve to be considered the best are, of course, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. You already made the argument for Pac-Man, which was a very good one, so I'll make one for Cotto. Cotto has been one of the most-underrated fighters of the decade, Cotto fights only the best fighters and all the top-ranked fighters your supposed to fight when you’re the champ. He's got one loss but to me he dominated that fight with Margarito until that left hook got him in the 10th, which is suspicious now that Margarito might’ve cheated in that fight as he tried to do with Mosley. Mayweather will duck Pac-man like he’s done his whole career. He'll come up with some excuse not to fight Pacquiao which is good because he doesn't deserve the kind of payday he would get if they did fight. So the fight that I would love to see at the end of the year would be Pac-Man vs. Miguel Cotto, and whoever wins that fight should be considered the FIGHTER OF THE DECADE!
I'm a huge Marquez fan! That said , I agree that Pacquiao is been a bit more impressive than Marquez, but you had Mayweather as the runner up and i think Marquez has taken more risks than Mayweather and came out victorious or at least impressive.
Simi Valley, Calif.
I think Pacquaio should be fighter of the 2000s over Mayweather. To use an MMA analogy, Pacquiao is the exciting striker with supreme stand-up skills, which is what most fans love. Mayweather is the skilled, albeit boring, Brazilian jiu jitsu guy who lays on his back and rolls around the mat until the bell rings. Might be very technical, maybe smart strategy-wise, but boring. Fans boo that. Fighter of the decade should be someone you'd want to watch, who also has the skills and credentials to boot. Not someone who induces sleep from their boring, ugly wins.
This is a really tough one for me because I’m a huge fan of both fighters. Before Manny’s pure domination of Hatton, I undoubtedly would have gone with Mayweather. Now, I’m not too sure. If they fight each other, I’d be pulling for Pacman, to be honest. However, I don’t think he would win. Mayweather is not a come-forward fighter, and I think he’s just as fast, if not faster than Pacquaio, not to mention the fact that he’s bigger. He’s also probably one of the best defensive fighters ever. I know Oscar and Ricky were bigger too, but Floyd is neither of those fighters. He’s in a completely different league in my opinion. As far as who is the greatest fighter of the 2000s, I’ve got to side with you. I pick my man from the Philippines simply for the fact that he’ll fight anyone and he’s a whole lot more fun to watch while doing it!
Here's why Pacquiao tops Mayweather for Fighter of the 2000s: Pacquiao is a gambler, in and out of the ring. He's willing to risk life and limb to battle his opponents. Mayweather is a defensive, safety-first fighter. To me, that means he doesn't like to take risks. And that is reflected by his choices of opponents. Critics call both Pacquiao and Mayweather “cherry-pickers,” but at least Pacquiao cherry-picks bigger guys (and it's done to equalize things, i.e. size differential), whereas Mayweather cherry-picks smaller guys (done because it presents less danger). That's the difference. If it weren't for Mayweather's hip-hop, original Gangsta image that is so popular among the American masses, nobody would be talking as much about him. He gets attention, not so much because of his skills, but because he's polarizing. He's just a flashier, louder version of Winky Wright.
San Diego, Calif.
One of the reasons we are losing our audience in boxing to UFC is due to dancers or technical fighters. You are right, we want thrills, we want entertainment. We as boxing fans want action, we want our frustration, depression, stress diverted by what we watch on TV or at ringside. Those guys who favor Mr. Floyd Mayweather are also fans of Dancing with the Stars. That's fine with me. I watch boxing to be thrilled by a man’s sport, although I think women too have a good idea of the boxing concept. Nevertheless, don't get me wrong, they too are entitled to their own opinion. Better boxer is one's opinion. When boxers are dancing in the ring, they are clapping their hands; when boxers trade punches, we the fans are the ones clapping our hands. I guess that's the best way I could put it. Again, I could be wrong.
Nothing is better than your reasons in judging Pacquiao as the “Fighter of the Decade” (2000).
If the boxing world were a battlefield, I would consider Pacquiao as a foot infantry soldier, Marquez as a machine gunner and Mayweather Jr. as a sniper, all fighting under different flags. The last man left standing gets the victory. But a “sour” victory is as good as a “sweet” loss.
The bottom line is, fans love fighters who fight “do or die”.
I believe Manny is the fighter of the century. Even though he is not at his peak yet (he keeps improving every fight), he is freakishly fast and strong. And he is now a two-handed fighter with power in both hands. I also believe Freddie when he said that Manny is a genius in boxing, he learns everything he teaches and executes it in the ring. Right now, he is not the same fighter who lost to Morales and drew with Marquez. His opponents cannot see his punches coming and I think if Mayweather agrees to fight him, he will also be surprised by his speed and power. But what separates Manny from other fighters is his heart and his courage. He has not ducked anybody and he is not afraid to take risks to fight a bigger fighter. Mayweather cannot say that.
First, I enjoy the columns. The site is a great way to keep up on things and fill the void between the Ring magazine issues. One thing I don't believe has been mentioned is that Floyd did beat Hatton first (giving him his first loss as well) and many feel Hatton was never the same fighter. If you believe this, you may want to factor it into your common opponent analysis. Anyways, hopefully Manny and Floyd get in the ring to settle the argument for all of us.
Manny Pacquiao deserves to be the top fighter of the decade over Mayweather for this one reason: Pacman always says pre- and post-fight that he tries his best to have a fight that “boxing fans want to see.” And he has not failed on that … win, lose or draw.
Great article, and I agree that Manny Pacquaio is better than Floyd Mayweather. Bottom line is Pacquaio's a fighter at heart while Mayweather seems to be a businessman/fighter. Floyd selects fights purely based on money, not on how challenging they are nor what they will do for his legacy. The DLH fight was supposed to be Mayweather's breakthrough performance after years of showcase fights, and he stunk out the joint and barely outpointed his older opponent. You made a comparison between Mayweather and Pernell Whitaker. While both were uninspiring at times, the difference is Whitaker, like Pacquaio, faced much better opposition and always pursued the toughest challenges. Whitaker would've never retired at a time when his weight division was loaded with talent; he would've fought Cotto, Margarito, Williams, and Berto back to back if given the chance.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I’m going to have to say Mayweather is the best fighter of the decade. I understand that boxing is a “what have you done for me lately” sport and under those guidelines, it’s obvious as to why people would choose Manny Pacquaio – he just knocked out two fighters in brutal fashion. But I just can’t look at this argument with tunnel vision. I can’t ignore that Mayweather was fighting for a world title in only his 18th professional fight, nor can I ignore how ordinary he made Diego Corrales look, or the gusto he showed in giving Castillo an immediate rematch after winning a razor thin decision to most people in their first bout.
While I enjoy Manny and believe he has that “thrill factor,” I think he gets more credit than Floyd because of Mayweather’s background. He was a decorated amateur star who was destined to do great things as soon as he turned pro, whereas most boxing fans didn’t know Manny existed until he fought MAB in 2003. Pacquaio never had any expectations within the media and fans, so anything he does is highlighted at a very elite level. Mayweather had, like most Olympians, somewhat unrealistic expectations put on him and no matter what he does or who he beats, he will fail in comparison to the greats before him – Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, etc. Add to that fact Mayweather doesn’t always come off as the most humble cat (see 24/7, the “slave contract” comments from 1998) and I think it’s pretty obvious why many people enjoy and rate Pacquaio has the better fighter.
I also believe people put too much stock in the weight. Any time Manny wins he will be hailed great. Any time Floyd wins, he will be “beating the smaller man.” But really, aside from height, how is Manny so much smaller than Hatton or Floyd? Even Roach has gone on record as saying Manny’s ideal weight is 140 pounds, so I think we need to put to rest the notion that he’s so much smaller than his competition. With that being said, I won’t discredit his wins over DLH or Hatton for any reason – weight drained, over trained, whatever the case may be. And people shouldn’t with Floyd , either. The bottom line is Marquez stretched Pacquaio in two fights, and he’s the No. 2 p4p fighter on most people’s list. Credit needs to be given to those it’s due. And I have a feeling that if PBF and Pacquaio fight later this year, there will be no reason to doubt who the better fighter is once the bell rings.
I could not agree more with the case you made for Pacquiao; he fights with grace, raw power, unmatched speed, and the heart of a heavyweight. In the last decade, Pacquiao has met every challenge that could be made. And then some. Fighting greats like Morales, Barrera, and Marquez is respectable. Destroying the Golden Icon and the Hitman in the fashion he did is legendary. I don't know what happened inside Manny's head after the second Marquez fight, but Pacquiao has completely re-invented himself as a technician, striking with surgical precision and clinical damage. Mayweather lands over 50% of his punches by running and rolling that big left shoulder of his. Pacquiao lands over 50% without even slowing, as if a demon drives the saint. And it's not just the “thrill factor.” If you like brash and cocky like T.O., then Mayweather's whole family is probably for you. But some of us like humility,faith, and professionalism. Manny does his talking in the ring. There is a good chance that Mayweather could beat Pacquiao in a potential match up; but no matter the outcome, Pacquiao will leave the ring not only as a four-time world champion, but a legend that people will remember. Pacquiao ignites something inside of me, something inside all boxing purists. It's that X-factor. That unbendable, unstoppable, relentless will. All hail our King.
I pick Pacman as the boxer of the decade. Mayweather is coward. He is afraid to fight bigger opponents like Mosley, Margarito, Cotto, Berto, etc., not like Manny, who starts his boxing career as a flyweight then superbantam, featherweight, superfeather, lightweight, junior welter and welterweight. He’s not afraid to fight anybody. Floyd is back in the ring because Marquez is a smaller guy.
I won't argue with your assessment of Manny Pacquiao as the best of our current decade. His opposition has been consistently better than Mayweather's, and his performances have gone from stunning explosive upsets to virtuoso demolitions. Floyd is a virtuoso in his own right, but he frequently failed to dominate fighters who didn't belong in the ring with him. He seemed content to play and mug, escaping without a scratch, but boring us to tears in the process.
I believe, whole heartedly, that Juan Manuel Marquez is at the very least the second best of Manny's contemporaries. He fought everyone at 126, establishing himself as the preeminent featherweight of his generation. He has victories over a who's who at 126 and 130. He then stepped up to lightweight and knocked out the two best lightweights in the world, Joel Cassamayor and Juan Diaz (two guys no one had stopped). You can intelligently argue that he has never been decisively beaten. His losses to Norwood and John were highly debatable, and he gave Pacquiao absolute hell for 24 rounds, winning a majority of the rounds. Many (myself included) believe he won both of those fights. To watch Marquez fight is to see a master surgeon dissect his opponent and then break out a hammer when it's needed. His timing and technique are masterful. Marquez represents both the art and science of boxing, yet he still maintains the indomitable spirit and amazing heart that allows him to engage in the explosive and brutal exchanges that captivate those of fortunate enough watch him fight.
Terrific article. I think you made some great points for the Pac-Man. I agree. And while I believe that Mayweather is the more-gifted boxer, and he probably has the tools to beat Pac, I think one thing that Pac has going for him is this: He's not afraid to lose and he doesn't pick his opponents in terms of low risk, high rewards. Mayweather is probably the best today, and in the past, he's always fought the best. But for the past three or so years, he's been cherry picking his opponents. He's already talking about fighting De La Hoya again, and my question would be why? Manny made him look absolutely ridiculous. Why did he pick Marquez when Marquez has to go up two weight classes to meet him? And although Marquez has looked great the past two, three fights, he's 35 and I don't see him getting any better. As far as skill, I give the edge to Mayweather over Pac, but as far as excitement and the stones to go against the best and biggest challenges, Pac leaves Mayweather in the smoke.
Nice one! Upon reading it, I think whoever debates you on that is just plain dumb. One more thing I would like to add, Pacquiao looks for opponents in the higher divisions while Mayweather and De la Hoya are looking for opponents at weights below their respective divisions. BTW, I’m rooting for Marquez to win against Mayweather. I know it’s a long shot but if that happens, we will finally see the chapter 3 of Pacquiao vs. Marquez!
I do not understand why you have selected Manny Pacquiao as the best fighter of the past 10 years. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has accomplished more INSIDE the ring. Before Mayweather retired, few even argued that Pacquiao was the best in the world, let alone the best of the past 10 years. After Mayweather retired, Pacman beat David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, and Ricky Hatton. David Diaz is the class of fighter Mayweather would of been crucified in the media for fighting. Pac followed that by beating De La Hoya and Hatton, the EXACT SAME TWO fighters Mayweather beat before retiring. So let me get this correct, Mayweather beats De La Hoya/Hatton and it means he is running from everybody in the sport (Cotto, Margarito, Mosley, etc., etc.). Yet, Pacquiao beats the same two guys and it elevates him to the greatest fighter of the 2000's??? Furthermore, I feel the De La Hoya that Mayweather defeated was twice as good as the De La Hoya Pacquiao defeated. And regardless of what De La Hoya lovers and Mayweather haters may say, Mayweather won nine out of the 12 rounds against De La Hoya. I believe that the “check” hook Mayweather knocked Hatton out with was every bit as impressive as the monster left Pacman used to accomplish the same feat. Come July 18th, Floyd is going to do something Manny couldn't. Floyd is going to score a convincing and decisive victory over Juan Manuel Marquez. I cannot believe people are trying to criticize Mayweather for fighting Marquez because Juan is “a naturally smaller man.” First of all, time and time again boxing has proved that size does not matter half as much as the vast public believes. Second of all, Juan is the No. 2-ranked fighter in the world! In some hardcore circles he is considered the best in the world. Floyd taking on Marquez after a year and a half layoff with no tune-ups? Sounds like something Manny Pacquiao would be praised for until his dying day. But, since it's Mayweather, who isn't some humble religous freak media darling (Pacquiao), he is ripped for it. I honestly feel Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not only the greatest fighter in the past 10 years, but also in the history of the sport. I feel that prime 147 pound Mayweather Jr. beats a prime 147 pound Ray Robinson. Same goes for Ray Leonard. Prime Roberto Duran at 135 pounds, Mayweather Jr. boxes circles around him. I just wish everyone would stop with the double standards for Mayweather and the rest of the sport. People need to get past this cocky, loud mouth, villain role Mayweather has adopted for marketing reasons, and recognize the true brillance of his ability. Mayweather is going to outclass Marquez come July. I guarentee it.
It's an interesting comparison. I, too, will tip my hat to Pacquiao for the reasons you enumerated. And I'm not sure a Mayweather victory over Pacquiao would change my mind. De La Hoya's brief and effective use of the jab in his fight with Mayweather not withstanding, the latter is great because he's elusive, he's probably got the quickest
mind in the ring when it comes to figuring out what his opponent has brought and adapting to it within two or three rounds (versus Oscar and Zab Judah come to mind). But — I write about auto marketing, so
this fits — he is sort of the Lexus ES of boxing; elegant, quick, quiet, extremely reliable, smooth, good cornering, nice power and acceleration, good mileage. But, well, kind of snore inducing.
Pacquaio? Name your Italian sports car of choice.
Ryan Albert Andal
First, I have to say that you're completely right about saying that “This isn’t life or death, after all; it’s supposed to be fun.” I completely agree with that. This is a free world and everybody can state their own opinion.
I'm a Filipino and was overwhelmed when you named Manny Pacquiao the 2000-2010 fighter of the decade, though I think it’s too early for Manny to claim that title. Yes, he is the dominant pound-for-pound champion right now, but its only 2009. A lot of things can still happen within a year. He can still be defeated by Mayweather Jr, Marquez or even Mosley. He's only human after all. I also agree that being a risk taker has a big part to claim the title too. Manny knew that he was the underdog in the De La Hoya fight but he never backed out. Everybody said that Oscar will knock Manny out in the later rounds but an ironic twist suddenly occurred and Manny started pounding the Golden Boy every round of the fight for eight rounds. After the fight, people started saying things like, “Ohhhh, Oscar was badly dehydrated that night!” Man, who cares? They should've thought of that before the fight, that it could make a big difference. Nobody forced Oscar to fight Manny at 147 after all. And if you watched 24/7, Oscar already made the weight a month before the fight and was still working out in the gym pretty good. People just can't accept that Manny demolished him throughout the fight and started making excuses for Oscar.
No doubt in my mind that Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world today, after defeating Barrera, Morales and Marquez in their primes. Going up to lightweight to destroy Diaz, going up to welterweight to humiliate Oscar and going down to light welterweight to knock Hatton out cold. He literally defines the term “pound for pound” in my opinion. So far for me, it’s still too early to give Manny the title “Fighter Of The Decade” but not too late to give him a chance to be “The Best Boxer Who Ever Lived.”
I agree with you 100% (that Pacquiao is the best) due to the fact that he does take the risks. Every time Pacquiao fights, you never know on paper if he's going to win because his opponents always seem to have the upper hand, but he always knocks them out. With De La Hoya, Oscar was the bigger man. Yeah, he had weight issues, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he quit in the eighth round. With Hatton, everyone expected it to be a great fight, at least longer than it actually lasted. But again he knocked him out in the second round — the second round, I don’t think anybody was expecting for that fight to only last that long, especially since Hatton demolished his opponent in his last fight. With Mayweather, yeah he’s undefeated, but his fights were never exciting and they were never against elite fighters. Like he said, Hatton was the toughest fighter he ever fought and Manny destroyed Hatton. If you base it off of records, then yes Mayweather should be considered the best fighter of the decade. But base on quality of the fights and the fighters involved, hands down Manny should be the best boxer of the decade.
In my opinion it should be Juan Manuel Marquez! His resume speaks for itself! Pacquiao's last three fights were against washed up fighters. If you look at Floyd's fights, and you think about it, when has he fought a fighter that was even ranked on the Top 10 P4P list? Don't get me wrong: I am a huge fan of Pacquiao, but you never read articles on how Marquez's did this or that. You would think he would get a little more credit. If you remember, JMM gave Pacquiao hell! They should meet for the third time. And Floyd Mayweather needs to man up and fight a true welterweight.
I certainly agree with your view and why you think that Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter of the decade. I believe Pacquiao has faced more quality opposition than Mayweather. I also think that De la Hoya beat Mayweather during their bout. Oscar was the aggressor and he wasn't given full credit for that. Mayweather is indeed a gifted fighter and I won't even argue that, but Pacquiao is a warrior we all wanted to see in the ring. He brings so much excitement, which I believe is what the sport needs in the post-De la Hoya era. At the same time Pacquiao has managed to be at the top despite his three losses. In my opinion, a true measure of a great champion is how he manages adversity and comes back from a defeat. That’s what makes Ali the greatest boxer of all time. In the future, should Mayweather beat Pacquiao, I believe that it's simply because Manny fought a bigger and more athletic boxer. However, one thing's for sure: Manny will go out with all heart and will give us his best performance yet. And he's not afraid to face bigger opposition (note that he started fighting at 106 lbs). That I believe makes him the best boxer of the decade to say the least. Of all time? I think he ranks in the top five…
Manny Pacquiao has been the most exciting and explosive fighter of the 2000's. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was and probably still is the best and most-gifted (speed and agility-wise) boxer of the 2000's, end of story. Freddie Roach said of Gerry Penalosa, in comparison to Manny Pacquiao: “Manny is the most explosive fighter of the Philipines, but Gerry is the best Filipino boxer. I've never seen anyone as composed and relaxed in the ring as him.” Roach constantly admits that Mayweather would give Manny problems, as did: Erik Morales, who outboxed and defeated Manny, and Juan Manuel Marquez has won 10 more rounds in two fights but was outpointed by one point. Manny does not deserve more credit than Mayweather for defeating De La Hoya; just watch both fights and its obvious. In conclusion, Floyd would never beat Manny in a brawl, but the setting isn't a bar, a telephone booth or the UFC. It's called boxing. But Manny and Marquez still are my favorite fighters.
There's no debate here as far as I'm concerned. Floyd was great at 130, peaking with his masterful performance over Corrales. He hasn't put on that level a performance against that level a fighter (borderline hall of famer) since. That about says it all. At 135, he went 1-1 (in my eyes) against Castillo. At 40 and 47 he fought no one of note (I could care less that Baldomir was the “lineal champ”). Corrales and Castillo aside, how many of Floyd's victims went on to score a significant win post-Floyd? No one from 140 to 154. Why? They were all past it, or never that good to begin with. Contrast that with Pac's resume starting with the first Barrera fight, and it's no contest.
Well, in response to your question who is really the greater fighter between Pacquiao and Mayweathe: For me, it is obvious that Pacquiao is the greater fighter. Why? Well, for obvious reasons, Pacquiao seeks out to “FIGHT.” Note the word fight and like you said not DANCE.
Pacquiao never chooses the easiest fight; he always seeks out the best possible FIGHTER (not DANCER) to thrill the FANS.
I've watched some of Mayweather's fights and to tell the truth there are moments in his fights that almost puts to me sleep. Pacquiao (again, you said it “he moves you”) he is always ready to throw punches toe to toe (once again, not to “DANCE”).
Mayweather is a showman, who is just there to entertain people. Pacquiao is an accomplished “PERFORMER” who EXCITES and moves people, who is always looking for that shot that will lift you up from your seat every time he throws punches, especially DOING IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING.
Here's what really separates Pacquiao from Mayweather: Pacquiao fights for the people. I mean really for the PEOPLE because win or lose HE SHARES his earnings with the needy people both here in the U.S. and especially in his beloved native land of the PHILIPPINES. Now, Mayweather claims he didn't come out of retirement for the money but to reclaim the pound-for-pound title. I found that hard to believe. Why is the IRS all over his back? THAT'S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE between MANNY PACQUIAO AND FLOYD MAYWEATHER.
I like Joe C but here’s why I pick JMM:
1) I feel he drew with and beat Manny. You won’t get an argument from me that you think it was a draw but I just don’t think Manny did enough to beat JMM and I thought JMM imposed his will more often than Manny. Let’s assume they drew in both fights and go from there.
2) Since their epic two fights:
Manny PacMan beat David Diaz, No. 3 or 5 lightweight. Good fighter. And stopped him in the eighth. He beat ODLH. Still serviceable but not in anyone’s Top 10 in any class at the time. He beat Rick. No disrespect to Ricky but I’ve never been impressed with him. He beat an old Tszyu by wrestling with him, lost to Collazo and got KTFO’d by Floyd.
JMM beat Joel Casamayor, currently No. 2 lightweight: 11th-round KO. He beat the Baby Bull, currently the No. 1 lightweight, in electrifying fashion. And he’s about to beat Floyd. My concern: JMM hits the canvas when hit clean and Floyd is a pinpoint puncher. I just think he’s hands down the best Floyd’s ever seen and 18 months off is going to be too much.
The good news: We’ll settle this in about eight months in the ring. Gotta love boxing. No polls, no fantasy. I fight you and I win.
I’m going to put Miguel Cotto in the mix of fighter of the 2000s. He was the welterweight champion of the world until Antonio Margarito cheated him. Now it seems he’s off everyone’s best list. He beat the likes of Mosley and Judah, and if he had the chance to fight De la Hoya back in December, he would have destroyed him too. To me, Pacquiao beat the same old Hatton who looked no different than when he fought Malignaggi. To me, Pacquiao still must be tested in the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions before naming him the best. My vote goes to COTTO.
Mayweather won major titles in five different weight classes.
1. Dismantled the late great Diego “Chico” Corrales. Diego ruled the lower weight classes at that time. Diego was the bigger man!
2. Destroyed a newly renovated champ in Gatti, after Gatti learned to box from McGirt! Gatti was champ and the bigger MAN! Floyd moved up and you know the rest.
3.Zab Judah was the undisputed welterweight champ. Floyd gave him a BOXING CLINIC!
4. Baldomir. The man who beat the undisputed-champ Judah. Floyd made him look silly!
5. Beat a much BIGGER and YOUNGER and HUNGRIER De La Hoya. KO’d a younger, fully confident Hatton. Floyd already damaged Hatton's confidence as a fighter. Pacquiao simply finished the LEFTOVERS!
ALL THIS ADDS UP TO FLOYD STILL AT NO. 1.
I love your blogs and I absolutely agree with you 110% with Pacquiao being the greater fighter due to his “Thrill Factor.” Pacquiao does move me in the same way and I just started watching boxing 4-5 years ago. I've never in my life paid money to watch any other fighter but Pacman moves me in a way that is indescribable. Even with the recent 5 minute fight with Hatton, I still felt as though I got my hard-earned money’s worth. PBF is undoubtedly one of the most naturally gifted fighters that you love to hate or hate or love. I respect that Manny doesn't do much trash talking and he lets his hands do it for him in the ring. Whether or not he wins against PBF, he still will be one of the greatest and most thrilling fighters of all time!
Best of the decade? PACQUIAO all the way. Purists will say Mayweather. But let’s say they fight different quality opponents on the same day in Las Vegas. Don’t tell me these purists would go see Mayweather dance? He already did that on one dance contest. You're right, it's the thrill factor. Pacquiao is well loved as he does his talking with his fists. Excuses have been made that Pacquiao beat fighters on the downswing. Let's not make age an issue, that's lame. Take the case of Hopkins; age was never an issue. Mayweather had difficulty fighting Oscar De La Hoya, close-shave split decision. Hatton? Nothing more need be said. The best for this decade … move over Floyd … Manny is NOW the Man!
Since 2003, Floyd Mayweather Jr. had 10 fights against whom? Only two of his opponents were famous, De La Hoya and Hatton. Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti are not in the same league as Barrera, Morales and Marquez. The remaining five fighters are Sosa, N’dou, Bruseles, Corley and Mitchell. Who are they? If I may also add, there were only five TKOs, four unanimous decisions and one split decision against De La Hoya, who by the way took a bad beating from Pacquaio.
Manny Pacquaio meanwhile fought 16 times. He beat convincingly the second most famous fighter of all time next to Ali, Oscar De La Hoya. He prevailed over greats Barerra and Morales twice (he also lost once to Morales) and also beat another potential great, Juan Manuel Marquez. Also, let's not forget the May 2nd bout against Ricky Hatton that elevated Pacquaio to the next level. Pacquaio has had four KOs, seven TKOs and five Unanimous decisions. So there you go Michael, I rest my case. You hit it right on the button when you defended your choice using the Thrill Factor.
Lastly, I will surrender Pacquaio's fighter of the decade title to Mayweather if he beats Pacquaio. But you know what? It will never happen knowing FMJ. He is full of antics and will make all kinds of excuses to avoid tarnishing his perfect record and one of them is seeking a 60-40 split against Pacquaio. That's the end of it. I think what Pacquaio has overcome in boxing (fighting great boxers) is more important than the achievable perfect record of FMJ.
I think it is simplier to ask who would you rather see fight? PacMAn of course. You are right on Mayweather being gifted but lacking the warrior mentality. At the same size, Pacman would distroy Mayweather. A s is, I would say draw. If they do fight in December, I can easily say it’s a decision if Mayweather wins and it can be either or if Manny wins! Why hasn't Mayweather fought Mosely? aren't they closer in size?
Great column. You have made some great points upon considering who are boxing greats. It's not how many wins but how a person earned them and who you fought. I got interested in boxing during the days of Clay, Smoking Joe and Foreman; these are boxing greats and George Foreman proved that when he became a champ again in his 40s. A great fighther. Then comes Boom Boom Mancini, Sugar Ray, Duran, Hearns, Hagler, De La Hoya and Roy Jones. I love the sport!
To believe you are the greatest boxer in the sports you have to fight the best of the best. When Pacquiao was gaining recognition early in his career, elite fighters expected to stop him dead in his tracks but instead they found themselves brawling to stay alive and it was amazing to! Pacquiao certainly brought excitement back to boxing. He loves the sport. I guarantee you the words “lost interest in the sport of boxing” will never come out of his mouth.
At this point Pacquiao is one of boxing greatest and his career is not done yet
I think Pacquiao is better than Mayweather. As you have said, he's selective about his opponents. He chooses the easy openent. If he's really a tough fighter, he should have waited a day after the Pacquiao-Hatton fight [to chose his next opponent]. It's too obvious he's afraid to fight Pacquiao.
St. Louis, Mo.
Great article regarding Pacquiao being the fighter of the decade. I completely agree! I think Mayweather's best was at 130-135, where he beat Genaro Hernandez, Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales (although I had him losing the first bout to Castillo). Since moving up to 140-plus, he has cherry picked and is yet to face the best of the fighters in the divisions he's claimed. Also, there were quality fighters at lightweight he never faced, guys like Joel Casamayor and Steve Johnson. Meanwhile, it seems we're just now witnessing Pacquiao's peak. I feel Pacquiao has just done more; look at the statistics, it's all right there. Again, great article! I appreciate a writer having the guts to stick to his guns, even if they “go against the grain”. Sooner or later the masses will come around and believe in Manny's greatness. Unfortunately, it probably won't happen until he fights (and beats) Floyd Jr.
I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment: Pacquiao is the best fighter of the decade. The warrior mentality and entertainment factors into it greatly. It explains why “lesser” fighters like Ricky Hatton and Arturo Gatti are loved, while skillful technicians like Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather are merely respected (and typically only by hardcore boxing fans).
But to go further into Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, it is a classic case of a babyface and a heel. Pacquiao is humble, respectful to his opponents, and brings the action every time. Mayweather is a loudmouth trash-talker who fights like a gnat. “Money May” continues to wear his obnoxious bling even though we're in the middle of a deep recession. He's thoroughly unlikable, another reason why he's not the best fighter of the 2000s. Of course, a fight between these two men would be amazing and great for the sport. But the only people who will be rooting for Mayweather will be the part of his family he hasn't alienated yet. Everyone else will be cheering on the great Manny Pacquiao.
I really liked your Great Debate and Top 10 columns on the fighters of the decade and, specifically, the argument between Mayweather and Pacquiao. I have always had a soft spot for Mayweather (yeah, I’m the one) because my interest in boxing had been revived more than ever shortly before his fight with Arturo Gatti and his dominant destruction of Gatti made me a fan for life. But Pacquiao is Pacquiao, his accomplishments are incredible and his style is gripping. In all honesty, I think Pacman is the fighter of the decade, but I want to play devil’s advocate and make an argument for Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins came into the decade as a long-reigning middleweight titlist, but he evolved from a merely great fighter in the 1990s to an all-time fighter in this decade. Pretty much all of the great wins on his Hall of Fame resume occurred this decade. He beat Felix Trinidad in 2001 when Trinidad was considered an unstoppable fighting force; he dominated and knocked out the great Puerto Rican. Like Pacquiao and Mayweather, he also beat Oscar De La Hoya, and although it was at the Golden Boy’s weakest weight division, the crushing body shot he used to stop Oscar was one of the knockouts of the decade. After losing twice to Jermain Taylor by razor-thin decisions, he stepped up in weight to dominate Antonio Tarver for the lineal light heavyweight title at age 41 and beat Winky Wright, a perennial pound-for-pound entrant. After a controversial loss to Calzaghe (a fight I thought he won by a point), he stunned the world yet again by beating reigning, undefeated middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik by dominant decision at age 43. Even the second-tier names on his resume this decade are impressive, including Keith Holmes, Carl Daniels, William Joppy and Howard Eastman. He is the greatest over-40 fighter in history, a master defensive fighter, and one of the most unique personalities in the sport. Of course, he does not bring the excitement that Pacquiao does, so maybe he’s not No. 1, but I think he is neck-and-neck with Mayweather, and I think the historic age at which he had done all this puts him over the Pretty Boy for the runner-up to Pacquiao.
New York, N.Y.
I’m going to have to go with Mayweather here. I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment about skills and winning being the calculus for certain fans. I happen to be in that category. I think Mayweather’s the superior boxer, and although I’m not really one to put much weight into undefeated records, I think Floyd’s got to get some credit here as well. In my mind, Floyd’s the superior boxer, and despite his lack of fan-friendly fights, I have the utmost confidence in his ability to find a way to win a fight (even if it means stinking out the joint). Pacquiao’s certainly the guy who’s taken more risks (and a loss or two along the way), but that’s what makes people love him even more. Despite the fact that I’m picking Floyd as the better fighter, I’d rather see a Pacquiao fight any day of the week.
College Park, Md.
Great article, Michael! Even still, I'd add a couple other reasons for Pacquiao's case. With boxing, more than any other sport, the “greatest” has to incorporate those facets you've so eloquently described beyond record and technical skill. (And let's not short-change Manny on those points, either.) It's also about their courage, their story and their humanity. You already quoted Larry Merchant on the first, but I believe the latter two are also worth discussing.
Floyd's story is that he was raised in a dysfunctional boxing household in Michigan. Manny's story is a rise from extreme poverty to national icon.
Floyd consistently chooses smaller opponents (Hatton, Marquez), and then denigrates them: “They are both too small for me.” (OK, then why not fight Mosley or Cotto?) Manny has shown nothing but respect for his opponents: rejecting a nickname as awesome as “The Mexicutioner,” whispering to De La Hoya that “you're still my idol,” praying for his opponents' health and well-being as well as his own, offering glory to God both in victory and in defeat. The man gives back to all his “relatives” in his hometown despite the knowledge that they're taking advantage of him. He makes $12 million in one night and still shares a hotel room with a dozen of his closest friends, true to the Filipino way. He sings a song translated, “This Fight Is for You (My Homeland).” He finds a Church in L.A. before he finds a nightclub, and he unites that faith with everything else in his life: his family, his job, his public persona, his heritage. In this sense, Manny is so much more “human” than a guy nicknamed “Money.” Sometimes I feel like Floyd doesn't even live in reality.
I know a lot of people don't think this argument has anything to do with being the “greatest boxer of the decade,” but I would very much beg to differ. Boxing needs stories. Boxing needs a humble hero like Manny more than another chest-thumper like PBF. I love boxing, but when we speak of greatness, Manny's greatness transcends even boxing. And in so doing, he brings boxing along for the ride. Floyd could only dream of having that kind of impact on the sport.
Canyon Country, Calif.
Manny Pacquiao is the fighter if the decade to me simply by looking at his record. Pacquiao's notable wins this decade:
Barrera KO 11
Marquez D 12
Morales KO 10
Morales KO 3
Diaz KO 8
De La Hoya KO 8
Hatton KO 2
Floyd Jr. is a very smart fighter, but as you have said in your article, he does not take a lot of risks, and to me, he only takes fights that he knows he can win. That is why Pacquiao will be remembered as this generation's greatest fighter, not Mayweather. I still can't believe that the same dude whipped Barrera at 126, almost killed Hatton at 140, while making De la Hoya quit at 147. Who does that kind of stuff anymore?
I really liked your article about Manny. You brought a lot of good points and made a lot sense. I've always been a long time boxing fan and I really like what I am seeing now. I don’t know about you, but for me boxing is more fun and exciting right now for the simple fact that Manny brought a different persona to the sport. Manny winning in such dominant and exciting ways is something we haven't seen on the biggest stage and it's something we have been longing to see for a while now since the fall of the heavy weights. Floyd is a good fighter but I won’t really call him great for the simple fact that he is hit-and-run type of guy and pretty much boring much of the time (my opinion only, of course). We are now in a different era of sports and fighting. With MMA and UFC around, Floyd is just NOT the guy and Manny is the perfect guy to be on top.
San Diego, Calif.
I must say that I cannot have said it better myself. As a boxing fan, no; rather as a fight fan, the dedication and spirit Manny brings to every single fight overshadows the business-first approach of Mayweather Jr. Myself, being Mexican, like many of my peers, I take a liking to Pacquiao
because he symbolizes the toughness and sacrifice that makes the sport beautiful. Not only does he take on the bigger obstacles and tougher challenges, he does so with such class and such ferocity. Yes,
Mayweather is the greater technician, but who am I more likely to put my $49.99 to see? Yes, I will always put it on the fighter who I always know does it for the fans. Mayweather has fought so many good fighters, yet as you pointed out, his selectiveness and eagerness to take fights in which
he has a significant advantage, belittles his legacy. I have been a fight fan of 20-plus years and who are my favorite fighters? Duran, Hagler, Chavez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ike Quartey, Pernell Whitaker, Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Winky Wright, Izzy Vasquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao. What makes these fighters great is that they always took on the best, no matter how much of the underdog they were.
For example, look what happened when Roy Jones Jr. decided to fight a real challenger in Antonio Tarver. He won the first, but ultimately got knocked out. The same result with Glen Johnson. But since he took those risks, which we all knew would put his record in jeopardy, he solidified his legacy as one of the greatest light heavyweights of all time. Although Tarver beat Jones, we all would say that Jones is the greater fighter. Mayweather has yet to face his “Antonio Tarver,” and this Antonio Tarver is in the shape of a 5-6 southpaw from the Philippines.
Manny Pacquiao is the most exciting fighter since Mike Tyson. Though everyone thought he was unbeatable, Tyson ultimately was exposed as one dimensional.Pac-Man has faced elite opposition and excelled. Even in the fights he has lost, he has learned something new. Now, he's utterly dominant. We know exactly how good of a fighter he is, because he's been battle tested. We know he won't fold under pressure. What do we know about Mayweather? Only that he's a safety-first boxer who’s never really had to reach deep inside himself to pull off a victory. He's good; you just don't know how good.
Warner Robins, Ga.
I believe Manny is clearly the better fighter, and the best fighter of the 2000's. Heres why:
The answer to the question can be found in the question it's self, “Who's the better fighter,”
the word fighter being the key word. Manny is clearly the better fighter of the two men. No
disrespect to Floyd. If the question was “who is the better boxer,” he wins. But Manny has
been fighting his whole life. You mentioned the great fighters Pacquiao has faced (many multiple times) and there is more Fighting in anyone of his Morales or Marquez bouts, and
Barrera to a lesser extent. I am a fan of Mayweather's but he has not been in a career defining fight that really tested his heart and guts (with the possible exception of the first Castillo fight). Fans remember fighters for their fights, not the 0 at the end of their records. Manny Pacquiao does not have a 0 at the end of his record but he has given fans fights that they will always remember, and for that I believe he is an all-time great and clearly the best fighter of his generation,
I completely agree with your article, not because I'm a Pac-fan but a boxing fan. A good example would be the four Kings (Leonard, Hagler, Duran and Hearns). They fought each other to prove their skills as well as to thrill their fans; they do care about winning but at the same time they want their fans to go home happy either with a win, loss or draw. To be honest with you, I haven't seen a fight with Mayweather Jr involved where it took you to the edge of your seats. All he cares about is winning and to keep his 0. Meanwhile, with Pacquiao, since he burst from international boxing scene, every fight comes with drama and excitement, as he usually declares during pre-fight conferences. He wants the boxing fans to be entertained without promising a victory yet always surpasses our expectations. I mean when was the last time we saw Pacquiao in a boring fight?
New Castle, Del.
Pacquiao is without a question the fighter of the decade. Just like Doug Fischer stated in his May 12th mailbag, Pacquiao moves up to fight talented/quality opponents. If Mayweather believes he is so good, he could have called out bigger and talented opponents like Hopkins or Joe Calzaghe, but instead he keeps fighting little guys. What a shame!
Why is it the Mayweather Jr. has to constantly prove that he is superior to all the boxers from lightweight to welterweight time and time again? Manny P. is exciting, I get that. But he won’t be exciting to watch against Mayweather, that's the bottom line. Mayweather Jr. will break him down from round 1 to round 8 and then finish him off in the late rounds, just as he did to R. Hatton. Boxing is not about taking chances, it's about winning the fight. When you take chances in boxing you get knock out. I've never seen Mayweather shy away from finishing off an opponent. Mayweather does not have one-punch knockout power, but he can break you down mentally and physically. Why is that not enough for you? I'll finish off this post like this: Mayweather will destroy Manny P. in 10 rounds or less, and it wont be close? Give Mayweather his due. Mayweather is the best boxer of his weight class.
I'm glad you've brought this subject up for discussion as I have felt for a while now that a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather would decide the fighter of the decade. How this fight pans out would ultimately decide the winner for me. If Floyd won easily on points or by KO, I would say he deserved the title. But if Pacquiao won or even lost but pushed Floyd in a close one, I would say he would deserve the accolade for a) being the smaller man, b) having the better resume and c), (as you said) being the more entertaining fighter. I think it is between these two only for FOTD, unless J.M. Marquez can upset “Money” and win the rubber match with Manny.
You shouldn't have to defend your pick of Pacaquiao as the best of the 2000s. I think it's pretty clear cut. NOBODY has fought and beaten more Hall of Famers in the 2000s. You call the x-factor the “thrill factor.” I simply call it the “fighting spirit.” Manny Pacaquiao has the “fighting spirit.” It's his willingness to attack and go for the KO, not simply looking to eke out rounds. He's a special talent. To be the best you have to fight the best, plain and simple. If Mayweather fought and beat the best at 140 and 147, he could have an argument.
The two guys who have the talent and potential to awe even casual fans like Manny: Edwin Valero & Yuriorkis Gamboa.
I prefer fighters who are willing to go toe to toe. They're the most fearless. Pacquiao is a true warrior who doesn't just come to win a match, he comes to win the fight. You can box all you want for points and rounds, but in the end, it's about who gets knocked out. Stand toe to toe with Manny and you get dropped. Stand toe to toe with Money and he runs. Fighter of the decade should be fearless not safe.
Pacman. Without a doubt. I agree with everything you said, couldn't have said it better. The reason that you heard from so many detractors is because people write in when they are angry, so I'll bet there are a lot of Manny's fans just nodding their heads in agreement with you, but not writing in. My reasons:
No. 1: The two common opponents. Just like you said, Manny destroyed both, while Floyd struggled.
No. 2: Manny started out at 106 pounds and he just crushed De La Hoya, a natural welter. A faded version, true, but one that was not much more faded than he was when he fought Floyd.
No. 3: Floyd is overrated. The only reason he's looked so good is because he never had elite competition. Jose Luis Castillo was good, but not that good (and he should have won the first fight). Coralles was just a good fighter, too. De La Hoya is not a great, but the faded version of him gave Floyd all he could handle. How would Floyd do against true greats like Tommy Hearns or Ray Leonard? He'd be KO'd.
Who is the best fighter of the 2000s? I think it is far too early to make that the determination. The careers of the two best fighters of the era (Pacquiao and Mayweather) are not even close to reaching a conclusion; the first decade of the 2000s isn't over yet. Both fighters are in their primes and may have years of competing at the highest level in the sport ahead of them. We must evaluate a fighters' career from beginning to end in order to do justice to their accomplishments in the ring. Having said all that, Mayweather at least at this point is the more accomplished fighter. Pacquiao victories over Morales and Barrera were epic, but it’s worth noting that both fighters were on the downside of their careers when they met Pacquiao and Morales managed to outpoint Pacquiao once. Juan Manuel Marquez gave Pacquiao fits and arguably won their second fight. Is Pacquiao a more exciting fighter than Mayweather? Hell yes! But so was Aturo Gatti. Mayweather remains the most consistent of the two, destroying a primed and undefeated Diego Corrales, clearly outpointing a strong De La Hoya at 154 and knocking out Ricky Hatton, who had not previously tasted defeat and had none of the psychological baggage that can accompany a knockout loss.
I have to agree with you on Pac-Man, but i can't deny Marquez of that title too. Arguably, he beat Pacquiao twice, and the way he also rose in weight to knockout Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor speaks a lot of his quality. He may not have the physical tools that Pacquiao has, but he has the more natural talent and skills.
1) Manny Pacquiao — Due to the fact he won titles from flyweight to light-welter and beat the best. He did most of his big fights on away soil and did it with excitement.
2) Floyd Mayweather — Gifted, amazing boxing skills. Had it all but dared not to fight Cotto, Margarito, Williams and Mosely. If he did, he would have jumped in front of Pac-man.
3) Bernard Hopkins — If he would have just taken a few more risks in his big fights maybe he would be top. Longevity, tough and great boxing ability but not enough thrills.
Art Del Pilar
In terms of achievements, Pacquiao is ahead and he gives boxing a new lease on life. That is why he is the fighter of the decade. Do you think we would be talking about the fighter of the decade if boxing were still a boring (dead, as they say) clinical sport without people like Pacquiao. Boxing becomes stale when fighters choose to face opponents who give them lesser risk. I am not a boxing fan because I always fall asleep during fights and since you know who will win. But since ‘s Pacquiao’s emergence, you always have to keep awake because you will see action and it is why I paid for it. All I can say is boxing is alive if you have all-time great fighters like Pacquiao, Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Tyson, Ali, et al.
First, let me say thank you for having the guts to not suckle at the Mayweather teat we all tend to grab at when we consider “the best” in boxing. There is no denying Mayweather's skills inside the boxing ring. When we talk text-book, tactician, or technical, Mayweather is at the top of the heap amongst the current generation of boxers. But what draws the world to boxing, or any other sport, isn't the technical factors teams or athletes fulfill, it's the ability to get people out of their seats, to get just a fraction of the adrenaline the athletes are feeling. The argument could be made that the Spurs were the best team in the NBA for approximately a decade, but who ever felt really excited over a Spurs championship? The fact of the matter is that Manny Pacquiao embodies everything that the casual and die-hard boxing fan watches for. His speed will keep a fight at a pace that is necessary to keep the general public's interest. Can any of us really remember a Klitschko fight? Pacquiao's power, and how he has been able to maintain that power throughout his multiple weight-class journey, appeals to the brutality we all appreciate inside the boxing ring. His will to move forward no matter the opponent . . . well that's just world-class isn't it? Mayweather's place in boxing history is secure, there's no denying that. But outside of boxing, who is he? He was on Wrestlemania, Dancing with the Stars and what else? Pacquiao fights for a nation, for a people that don't have much besides our idols. To admire Manny Pacquiao and his skills in the boxing ring is to give praise to what we love about boxing and humanity. Through devotion to your craft, your people (in your corner and out of), and belief in your skills, the potential to overcome adversity can be just over horizon. To know that being defeated once does not mean it's the end or that you can't defeat that obstacle in thrilling fashion (twice). Then, as we saw with the Hatton fight, sometimes all it takes is one giant punch to end it all. That as much preparation you or your opponent might have done, there's always the possibility that one punch can end it all in a second. Also, as much as a killer Pacquiao is, I have to believe there's a strong sense of compassion there. We all saw the De La Hoya fight. Pacquiao embarassed him, but didn't it seem like he could have put Oscar down onto the canvas in those last two rounds? Why didn't he? Who wants to see their idol knocked unconscious or writhing in pain? There isn't anything about Pacquiao that isn't inspiring on a human and athletic level. Does he move people? No, he hits them out of the park.
New York, N.Y.
My choice as fighter of the decade clearly goes to Manny Pacquiao. Reasons being are basically what everyone else is saying, quality of opponents, how each fighter fared against common opponents, etc etc. But two things really stand out for me. One is the “thrill factor.” I mean c’mon, I would pay to watch Manny’s workout routines, let alone his matches. The second is because he is great for the sport. I believe Manny single-handedly brought back interest to the sport of boxing. He is a great ambassador to the sport, and he is an all around good-guy. Ever humble, God fearing. Basically the Derek Jeter of Boxing. In other words, Manny is the anti-Mayweather.