Manny Pacquiao will go down in history as one of the best ever due to his ring achievements as a seven-weight world champion, but there was a point in his career when the 35 year-old looked simply unbeatable.
Moving up in weight and beating up much bigger fighters than him became the norm for Pacquiao as the Filipino reached the height of his powers around 2010 to 2011, although at the time had already suffered three defeats in his career.
Initially looking back at how such an invincible fighter could have suffered such damaging losses as he reached his peak, this latest article also documents Pacquiao’s ring reverses since, up to and including to his recent unanimous decision disappointment against nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Defeat 1: Rustico Torrecampo (Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines – February 9, 1996)
It was 1996 and an 18 year-old Manny (11-0, 4 KO’s) took on Torrecampo, 24, at flyweight after spending the previous thirteen months at light-flyweight.
The bout was arranged at a catch-weight of 111lbs, although Pacquiao came in a pound over and was subsequently penalised by being made to wear heavier gloves during the fight.
Strong favourite Pacquiao was stunned by Torrecampo with a devastating shot and knocked out, almost cold, thirty seconds into the third round by a man had only five previous knockouts on his 11-4-4 record.
Torrecampo would only win two more fights in his career, losing four, before retiring in 1997 at the age of 25 without any significant titles to his credit.
The flyweight did make an unexpected comeback after almost 14 years out of the ring at 38 in February 2011 when knocking out Jovanie Bualan in three rounds. It seemed Torrecampo would then be embarking on a new boxing run in his twilight years, although the first man to ever dent Pacquiao’s record is yet to feature since.
Defeat 2: Medgoen Singsurat (Pakpanag Metropolian Stadium, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand – September 17, 1999)
Pacquiao (26-1, 17 KO’s) seemed to learn a lot from his first defeat as he drove through a fifteen fight unbeaten run with thirteen of those coming inside the distance. He picked up the WBC flyweight title in the twelfth of those victories in 1998 by beating champion Chatchai Sasaku with an eighth round KO.
In September of the next year, Pacquiao took on Medgoen Singsurat in his second defence at the age of 21. Singsurat held an unblemished 18-0 record and was the same age as Manny when he fough for his first world title.
Unfortunately for Pacquiao, he was once again knocked out in the cursed third round, losing his world title within a year of claiming it despite enjoying domination in the opening rounds. Pacquiao had looked a class above the Thai fighter, but was maybe guilty of being too over-confident before being taken out.
Singsurat made two successful defences of the WBC title he ripped from Pacquiao that night before succumbing to Malcolm Tunacao in a seventh round loss. The now-retired fighter fought a total of 66 times following the Pacquaio victory, venturing into world class just once against Jorge Arce in 2007 and was duly halted in one round.
The soon-to-be 37 year-old has been out of action since June 2011, having hung of his gloves on a run of eleven victories.
Defeat 3: Erik Morales (MGM Grand, Las Vegas, USA – March 19, 2005)
In 2005, Pacquiao (39-2-2, 30 KO’s) took on Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales, and by this time was a two-weight world champion. The ‘Pacman’ narrowly missed out on a third after drawing with Juan Manuel Marquez a year earlier and was by now an established name in the USA.
Pacquiao was moving up a fourth weight class since turning pro, but ran into a confident Morales at the height of his powers and lost a close unanimous decision in Las Vegas. Pacquiao would avenge the defeat a year later by knocking out Morales in the tenth round of a pulsating contest at the Thomas and Mack Center, before scoring a stunning second seven rounds earlier in the rubber match ten months on.
It would be the first of his defeats that Pacquiao would go on to reverse.
Defeat 4: Timothy Bradley (MGM Grand, Las Vegas, USA – June 9, 2012)
Definitely the most controversial of the group, and a fight I have made my feelings quite clear on in the past is Pacquiao’s defeat to Timothy Bradley. The result irked me at the time, and still does to this day, as it is one of the worst cases of judging I have ever witnessed.
The split decision against Pacquia was a complete shambles from the final bell onwards and was freshly engraved in my mind until Pacquiao gained his revenge in April 2014.
Pacquiao, who was 54-3-2, 38 KO’s at the time, took the fight 118-110 on my card after a scintillating display and was robbed by a terrible decision that was acknowledged by the vast majority of the boxing world’s media in the wake of the fight.
The Filipino Congressman proved he was much the better fighter of the two in the rematch and found his redemption with a victory that in no way required a decider.
Defeat 5: Juan Manuel Marquez (MGM Grand, Las Vegas, USA – December 8, 2012)
Hot on the heels on his shameful loss to Bradley, Pacquiao was defeated back-to-back for the first time in his career just six months later.
Probably still hurting from the scorecards handed out in his last fight, Pacquiao was a man on a mission and went for the jugular against old rival Juan Manuel Marquez – a fighter he had beaten twice before and drawn with on three separate occasions.
Pacquaio’s eagerness to impress would ultimately be his downfall though as he was taken out by Marquez with one of the most precision-timed counter-punches seen inside a ring in recent times.
‘The punch heard around the world’ had Pacquiao down and out – flat on his face in the sixth round, and referee Kenny Bayless could have attempted multiple ten counts without any response from Pacquiao.
Prior to that one shot, Pacquiao had performed well and the fight was warming up nicely, but the Mexican took his revenge for debatable decisions handed to him in past meetings and has since shied away from a potential fifth meeting.
Defeat 6: Floyd Mayweather (MGM Grand, Las Vegas, USA – May 2, 2015)
As the fight is still fresh in our minds, we all remember the outcome and eventually the argument that followed. Pacquiao was convincingly defeated on points by the master ring technician and just didn’t have an answer to the Mayweather matrix.
Looking out of sorts and claiming a shoulder injury, Pacquiao went down with a whimper against the pound for pound king – pocketing over 150 million dollars for his trouble, and may now be ready to move on from boxing to a run for President of the his native Philippines.