Who’s More Like Muhammad Ali: Mayweather or Pacquiao?

By Ezra Salkin on October 16, 2013
Who’s More Like Muhammad Ali: Mayweather or Pacquiao?
What would it do for Manny Pacquiao’s legacy should he actually beat Floyd Mayweather?

If Pacquiao were to win, as in the case of the-larger-than-life Ali, public opinion would wreath him with a garland of unparalleled superlatives and veneration…

Recently HBO premiered its newest original movie, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” the behind-the-scenes story of the Supreme Court case, Clay versus the Unite States. The Court ultimately granted Ali conscientious objector status for his refusal to be drafted into the Vietnam War in 1967. Of course, the government had already taken three years of his prime, when they revoked his boxing license. Sadly, this particular moral aspect of Ali’s career might not be widely known by casual sports fans today, especially those under thirty years old. That’s why, with all the other stories continually re-circulating about Ali, there were sound grounds to make a movie.

Even if his triumph of conviction is overlooked in this case, Ali still enjoys the mainstream recognition as “The Greatest,” boxer, maybe sportsman, ever, (see: http://www.boxing.com/why_ali_has_never_gone_away.html) despite boxing’s tenuous place today. It’s interesting, while that’s the perception the world holds of him, naturally, he doesn’t fare quite as high on actual pound-for-pound boxing lists, those compiled by boxing historians; he’s never number one.

One reason Ali is still so highly regarded is unquestionably because of the ring opposition he faced, but it’s also because he told us he was, and we listened. Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the undisputed best, but not necessarily greatest, fighter in the world today, makes the same claim; some people are listening. Which has me thinking about Manny Pacquiao.

An Ongoing Human Saga of Hype…

It’s amazing. After being written off so quickly by so many following his knockout loss to in-the-ring nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez last December, Manny Pacquiao’s name is once again being thrown in the ring with that of Mayweather, his out-of-the-ring nemesis.

The public and media are so quick to heap hyperbole onto a fighter, yet inversely, just as quickly, they’ll throw that same fighter under the bus if he should lose. After a semi-questionable 2012, it seems the so recently revered Manny has been a recipient of this fickle treatment.

From A.J. Liebling’s 1951, New Yorker feature, “Sugar Ray and the Milling Cove”:

I told him, and added consolingly, “I never saw a gamer man than your fellow.”
“Oh, ‘im,” the seaman said. “ ‘E’s a good lad, sir, but no experience. No defense. No class, sir. Forget about ‘im.”
This, too, seemed hardly right.

—conversation between A.J. Liebling and a few sailors from Elizabeth, England, after the second 1951, “Sugar” Ray Robinson-Randy Turpin fight. Robinson, the consensus all-time, best ever pound-for-pound fighter, won via 10th round technical knockout, yet the British Turpin had upset Robinson in their previous fight, only two months earlier. The sailors were still wearing Turpin buttons in their lapels…

Sound familiar? It wasn’t all that long ago that a smiling, saintly Pacquiao, glided to the ring with a near nimbus hanging overhead. In the space of a few months, Pacquiao went from being spoken of as one of the greatest fighters ever, (“We thought Manny Pacquiao was great. He’s better than we thought…”—Larry Merchant, following Pacquiao’s TKO 2009 victory over Miguel Cotto) to just being more or less a “good fighter,” or “lad,” as the gentleman above avers, one who’s not only unfit for the super elite of past eras but also for the minor elite of now. The Henry Armstrong, Roberto Duran, and Aaron Pryor comparisons that had followed the Pac Man, until the moment he had his face planted into canvas, ceased abruptly. Suddenly, there were so many foibles in his game, readily apparent to fighters and non-fighters alike just because he lost to a sure-first-ballot-Hall-of-Famer, one who has only really lost to the super elite, himself—which include Pacquiao, and Mayweather!

If you’re only as good as your last fight, well, Pacquiao’s last fight was great, so what if he was devastatingly knocked out. The awe registering among boxing fans from the 2012 fight of the year—that knockout of the decade—lasted maybe a few days before the enterprise as a whole became an opportunity to deride the Pac Man and his fans, too. “Pactards” became the catchy malediction that rang across certain boxing message boards and YouTube channels. On the bright side, at least some people still care enough to comment about boxing.

It’s been a few weeks since Mayweather decisioned Canelo Alvarez and it’s a few days since the meeting of Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley, the two men to consecutively defeat Pacquiao last year. But somehow, amazingly, Manny’s name is being buzzed about again for a superfight.

Granted, this is partly because of a dearth of credible names available, now that Canelo’s been dispatched, but still. With as many times as I’ve read that the superfight is past its expiration date, you’d think the stench of that kitchen trashcan would be near-unbearable.

That said, now that the fight’s an apparent “mismatch,” my question is, what would it do for Pacquiao’s legacy should he actually beat Mayweather?

All-time pound-for-pound lists are more than subjective; they’re an exercise in demagoguery. While some names enjoy more de-facto status than others, everyone with interest has their own ideas where their favorites should fall. And everyone who cares also has an opinion on where Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather should fall, or if they should even register.

For traditionalists, or anti-modernists, whether the fight happens or not, if it does happen, who wins, none of that matters. All the different scenarios that could emerge from a fight or non-fight are simply a garden of forking paths leading to the same outcome—meaning their legacies, or non-legacies, were decided long before either man embarked on their professional careers.

However, for everyone else interested, modernists or sycophants, the legacy implications if the two men should fight are great; but only if Pacquiao wins.

Undoubtedly, Manny’s stock as a fighter dropped precipitously last year when it comes to who’s the best fighter of the era. Fighters are like politicians that way. This is despite the fact that Pacquiao already beat out Mayweather for the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Decade Award in 2010. Still, Pacquiao’s resume sheet is more robust.

While Floyd’s record remains blemish-free and Manny had two knockout losses and a draw before stateside fans were even cognizant of his existence, his record, under closer inspection, while more mottled on the exterior, is composed of firmer stuff.

This has nothing to do with the fact that Pacquiao has won more titles in more weight classes. What’s significant is that, at the time and weight he fought them, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Juan Manuel Marquez were better than anyone Floyd fought at the weight and time that he beat them. Furthermore, Pacquiao fought each of these Hall-of-Famers, who together made up a golden era in the featherweight division, multiple times. In the case of the first two, he stopped them. Stopping or knocking out great fighters—not just beating them—has to count for something.

(One can only guess how the legendary status Pacquiao would entail today in the alternative history that would’ve developed if referee Joe Cortez had stopped the first fight with Marquez, after Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round; preempting all future fights between them.)

Whom, of the top opposition that Floyd’s faced, has he stopped? Besides Diego Corrales—who, fun-to-watch though he was, was a one-dimensional puncher. And that was way back in 2001.

Also worth considering, when it comes to all common respective opponents, with the exception of Marquez—and granted, he’s a big exception—Manny won more impressively. And he did it as a naturally smaller man than Floyd.

Nevertheless, because Floyd is perceived now as being so much better than Manny, if he were to defeat Pacquiao, like most people expect, it’s not going to mean much. (It would’ve meant a lot if he beat him in 2009-2010, but Floyd choose not to go that route and that’s the way it is.) All that could be said—if the listener accepts the claim that certain fights simply can’t be made because of the political impasses—is that he beat virtually everyone available. However, that’s even a bit revisionist if we remember Kostya Tszyu and Antonio Margarito.

However, if the fight gets made and Manny can find a way to surprise everyone, especially if it’s Floyd’s plan to save the name of a diminished Pacquiao for a dramatic, swan song victory, the potential upside for Pacquiao’s legacy would be far greater than back when the fight was largely seen as 50-50 proposition, circa 2009-2010. Just as it didn’t matter for Sugar Ray Leonard when he defeated Marvelous Marvin Hagler, no one but Mayweather—who also in that case, like Hagler, might opt for ex-pat status—will care if the end-result is razor-thin or controversial.

For Floyd to even see the ceiling that Manny would by beating him, he’d probably have to move to 160 pounds and defeat boxing’s new boogey man, the “Kazakh KO King,” Gennady Golovkin. It doesn’t take a psychic to know that this very risky course is not even on the radar.

Sure, if Manny won, there’d be many who’d retort, “Well, Floyd was 37 (or however old he’d be if or when the two meet).” The only problem with that, especially in light of the Alvarez result, is Mayweather, as much as at any other point in his career, is seen as unbeatable—at least at the weight.

Public perception and, ironically, Floyd’s avaricious brain trust have backed him into a corner better than any actual opponent has been lucky enough to have done. The consistent current now is, “Floyd’s never looked better. There’s no one between 140 and 154 pounds that can even spook him, let alone defeat him.” Even a prominent boxing voice, such as Showtime analyst and boxer Paulie Malignaggi has said publicly that Mayweather beats anyone, ever.

On the other side of the equation, what’s being said about Manny? “It’s to the benefit of Pacquiao fans that this fight never happened.”

Looking back again, Joe Louis was a more dominant champion in his heavyweight rein overall than Muhammad Ali. He was the most dominant champion ever. But Louis never met and defeated a fighter the likes of George Foreman, an opponent who had destroyed Ali’s only previous conqueror, Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Many had believed Big George might actually kill Ali when they met in Zaire in 1974. Not only did Ali shock the world against Foreman, he did the same to the equally scary Sonny Liston not once, but twice, a full decade earlier. The upside for Ali winning fights that no one thought he could was immeasurable. His mythopoetic claim of being “The Greatest” certainly holds more weight than when Floyd says the same thing today.

While it’s debatable who’s greater, Ali or Louis, it seems to me Ali is generally given the nod on most all-time heavy lists. While Mayweather’s brash disposition in the fight lead-up might’ve been closer to “The Greatest,” the Pac Man’s career has been more reminiscent. (As far as fighting goes, all three of them at their peak were fast as hell. When it comes to aesthetic artistry, however, I think it’s easier to find Ali-Pacquiao corollaries than Ali-Mayweather ones.)

If we are to entertain career analogies, let’s allow Pacquiao to symbolize Ali for a minute. Barerra would be Sonny Liston; Morales, Joe Frazier; Marquez might’ve just been his nettling Ken Norton, possessing a style that would forever give Ali/Pacquiao fits. Tim Bradley could be Leon Spinks. That leaves the Foreman spot vacant… (I wonder who might pop up as Larry Holmes, here. Could it be Pacquiao’s former sparring partner, Amir Khan?)

This game of casting characters is near impossible to do when assessing Floyd’s career, largely because it’s been so devoid of drama.

Like Ali, Pacquiao’s boxing career can be broken into at least three chapters. Ali’s first chapter ended in 1967 when the government took his boxing license. When he returned for part two, his physical brilliance had appreciably dimmed, yet it was then he made his splash into sports immortality. The third act was when he got beat up, or at least beat up the most. Hopefully, that’s not the punitive zone Pacquiao’s entering, because that would be the other possibility here. 

From the middle of Pacquiao’s career onward, he largely carried the sport of boxing on his back while Floyd tangoed with off-and-on retirement between unscintillating performances from the time he fought Oscar De La Hoya until roughly now. (To be fair, there were some good moments in that five-year period.)

If he were to retire now, Manny would boast a glittering Hall of Fame career, but in spite of having, in reality, done more in the sport, Floyd would outshine him. That’s just where the public is.

Like Ali when he was clearly past his prime, however, Pacquiao’s greatest win could still await him.

If it’s indeed possible to make the “Money” fight, judging by the way Manny fared last year, if Pacquiao gets past a dangerous Brandon Rios in November, Floyd might finally be inclined to take the fight. And while a Pacquiao victory seems unlikely, that’s the point. As far as Floyd’s concerned, the fight may be more dangerous than ever. Boxing, after all, has always had the propensity to rear up into the ultimate of drama-queens. Just look at Pacquiao-Marquez IV. Boxing is tragic; but it is also glorious.

If the Pac Man were to win, as in the case of the-larger-than-life Ali, public opinion would wreath him with a garland of unparalleled superlatives and veneration. He’s already a global icon, so the recognition he’d receive for such a feat would last a long, long time. He’d be like a mini-Filipino Schwarzenegger.

Of course, there’ll be those harried voices that, at least for a time, drown out the rest. They might say, “What’s the big deal, it was only Mayweather that Pacquiao beat. We always knew he was never all that.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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Pacquiao vs Cotto (GP highlights)

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  1. Pete The Sneak 11:52am, 10/18/2013

    So Ezra, Now I’m a ‘Snake’, am I? If you didn’t like my ‘Sacriligeous’ comment, that’s fine. But no need to get personal. Geez, you guys are so touchy…(Just kidding there Mr. Ezra…lol)...Peace.

  2. The Fight Film Collector 11:48am, 10/18/2013

    A great article, and interesting discussions by everyone.  I think much of the long term perception of both Pacquiao and Mayweater has already been established.  All that’s left is for the two boxers to play out the last chapters of their careers.  Pacquiao has had a remarkable career full of exciting fights, and if he loses in November, I think it will be just seen as a career finisher.  Everyone loses in boxing eventually, if they fight long enough.  Mayweather is a brilliant athlete with a stellar record.  For those who love boxing at its most technical, he a god.  But how many of his fights (except maybe Hatton and De La Hoya) were Fights of The Year in genuine excitement, let alone any of them “classics”?  The cherry picker label is harsh, but his blatant control and choice of opponents and contract prerequisites appear too many people as more manipulation than smart business.  The pattern suggests caution, which also suggests vulnerability, true or not.  He’s missed several obvious challenging fights during despite the public calls, and it’s going to follow him whatever happens from here on out.  And finally, Mayweather has set the “0” standard for himself.  It’s an unprecedented gamble, with no room for error.

  3. Ezra 11:35am, 10/18/2013

    No worries, Clarence. I wasn’t in any way offended. I think it was Pete the Snake who used the word sacrilegious and I was trying to respond to everyone, I guess, in one post. I knew before I wrote this that word would ring out. What you say about Ali is true, but pound for pound, era for era, I think Pac and May have become known to the world as much as they can. From my own experience, people who know I’m a boxing fan, who aren’t fans themselves, will bring up both guys to me in conversation.

    As far as my name goes, I hated it as a child. So if it’s appreciated here, that’s cool.

  4. Clarence George 08:57am, 10/18/2013

    Ezra:  I don’t at all consider the premise of your article sacrilegious, especially as I’ve never worshipped at the Ali shrine.  I hope you weren’t offended by my initial comment, which wasn’t intended to be critical.  No, I just wanted to take a stab at answering your question.  In my opinion, to reiterate, neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao has accomplished what Ali did—i.e., neither has truly transcended the sport (partly because boxing is no longer the jumping-off point it once was).  Everyone and his grandmother knew (and know) who Ali was; outside of boxing fandom, few could identify either Mayweather or Pacquiao.

    Who comes closest to Ali?  Despite Mayweather being the current superstar, I give the nod to Pacquiao—I think his appeal will prove more enduring.

    As for your article request…I’m happy to take it under advisement.

    Ted:  “Ezra Salkin” is indeed a good name for a writer, but I think it has even more of a medical or scientific flavor.

  5. Ezra 08:25am, 10/18/2013

    @Clarence, on a side note, I’m greatly intrigued by “Ali’s jackassery did enormous and long-term damage to boxing in general and the heavyweight division in particular.” That’s something I’d love to see you elaborate on in an article.

  6. Ted 08:25am, 10/18/2013

    Does anyone have a better writing name than Ezra Salkin?

  7. Ezra 08:00am, 10/18/2013

    @ Clarence, I think it’s clear that Mayweather is in the driver’s seat now. But if we compare FMJ-Alvarez fight vs Pac-Rios fight, there are obvious reasons why the surer more boring option was more eagerly anticipated. In the case of Pac-Rios, Pacquiao is largely perceived as finished, was coming off back-to-back losses and Rios is also coming off a loss. In the case of Mayweather-Alvarez, both were undefeated, Alvarez is a superstar in Mexico and was supposed to be the man to carry the sport forward, even if that was a fantasy.
    As far as Ali goes, the question is who is MORE like him, not who’s the Ali of now. I don’t see that as sacrilegious. Even if this is a poor man’s era, this is what it is. For the era that it is, both guys have transcended the sport to the best they can. And both are superstars around the globe. I agree that’s amazing they were able to achieve that.

  8. Ezra 07:44am, 10/18/2013

    @Darrell, I don’t see any disparagement towards Floyd here; I’m a fan of his, though I think he’s made some regrettable decisions regarding his career.

    Concerning Pacquiao’s place in the global boxing scene, Rasek’s got you, man. You can’t justify your claim that Pacquiao is NOT one of the faces of boxing worldwide, while you won’t acknowledge everything he’s done and accomplished outside of the ring which, in conjunction with his in-ring accomplishments, makes him just that. I only brought up the Alvarez catch-weight because that’s a common point of detraction towards Pac, especially by FMJ, when he and Pac were still battling for premiership. Now that FMJ has won that battle, he goes and does the same thing. I won’t argue against Floyd’s skills but skills don’t nearly close the argument about who is greater. Greatness is about what you achieve in the ring, and Pac’s simply done more, even if the public has forgotten that. But being that that’s where they are, the core of this article is to what type of mythic status would it propel Pac if he actually beat FMJ now, not 3 years ago, at a time when he’s such an underdog. Concerning Marquez, again, stylistically, as a smaller, slower, older counter puncher, he never had a chance against FMJ.

  9. Clarence George 04:00am, 10/18/2013

    If the question is, “Who is Boxing’s Megastar?” the answer is clearly and I think inarguably Mayweather.  There are any number of reasons to reach this conclusion.  For example, relatively little attention is being paid to Pacquiao’s upcoming fight with Rios, which is likely to be exciting and the outcome of which is very important, particularly for the Filipino.  Compare this lackluster interest to the singularly unwarranted hysteria generated over Mayweather-Alvarez, which anyone who knows boxing realized was going to be an absolute snoozer.

    Does Mayweather deserve superstar status?  An ancillary, if interesting, question.  My opinion:  He does not, though his ring genius and seemingly insoluble defensive technique are deserving of the utmost respect.

    But Ezra has specifically asked, “Who’s More Like Muhammad Ali:  Mayweather or Pacquiao?”  As Ted succinctly put it:  Neither.  Ali transcended the sport, and that isn’t even remotely true of either Mayweather or Pacquiao.  And perhaps that’s just as well.  Despite his greatness in the ring, Ali’s jackassery did enormous and long-term damage to boxing in general and the heavyweight division in particular.

  10. Rasek Jr. 02:53am, 10/18/2013

    @darrell. Lol. You really need to follow a different sport. You’re blowin’ it, son. 2 of the topics that we’ve been back and forth at were: first, the Cotto that Pac beat is faster and better than the Cotto that Floyd beat. You refuted this from the onset and said “FMJ fought a junior middleweight Cotto, advantage Cotto, not a welterweight version which is who Pacquiao met.” Now, after I’ve explained the reasoning behind this, you’re saying “Cotto is obviously slower at Jr Middleweight, that’s a given.” Yet you still could not admit that you know nothing. 2nd, your argument that fmj and the k’s are more famous worldwide - “They have recognition outside of their sport, to varying degrees, worldwide.  Pacquiao’s presence is not as large or widespread.” After I mentioned a list of pac’s global fame, all I asked you was give me facts for your position coz you can’t seem to back things up. And still, no supporting material. Now you say ” I don’t give a brass bean what he’s done outside of the ring. ” so how in the world can you judge who is more famous when you lack knowledge? And you still can’t admit you know nothing. You just painted yourself into a corner, silly boy.

    I don’t actually comment that much on articles but it just amused me to school someone who talks like he knows a lot and even has the nerve to call others ignoramus when in fact he’s the one with poor analytical skills, knows very little about the sport, lacks basis for his opinions and just inconsistent with his arguments. Kinda like his idol fmj. Now go cry in your room, boy. School’s out.

  11. tuxtucis 02:03am, 10/18/2013

    I said Barrera, Morales are at the same level of Frazier and Liston (or not distant), while Marquez is for sure at higher level than Norton, and someone thinks I can have a bias against Pacquiao…my God…

  12. tuxtucis 11:23pm, 10/17/2013

    @mateng: probably you think Henry Armstrong was a jazz trumpeter and Jack Dempsey is the Grey’s anatomy actor and it’s me who is ignorant about boxing. Ok…I don’t want to waste more time with you…

  13. mateng 07:08pm, 10/17/2013

    hey darrell, what’s wrong with southeast asia? maybe you forgot, you’re the one who started going global, and how many people you know who like the k bros? you’re making a fool of yourself. you don’t make sense,

  14. dvl 06:50pm, 10/17/2013


  15. Darrell 06:48pm, 10/17/2013

    A lot of activity I see….some productive (tux), others still humping the Philipino’s leg.

    Rasek jr, mate, who was talking prime?  It may be ok to change the goalposts where you come from but…..not all of us are that dull.  You really need to stop fooling others that you know anything about the game.  Cotto is obviously slower at Jr Middleweight, that’s a given.  A fighter moves up in weight they will tend to sacrifice a little in speed…are you trying to tell me something new?

    BTW, who the fucks Dan Hill?  And keys to a city in South East Asia….you’re shitting me right?  LOL.  What sort of a person keeps up with the exploits of their demi-god to THAT degree?  I like FMJ as a boxer, without doubt the best boxer of the last 10-15 years (BHop could claim otherwise but no one else), but I don’t give a brass bean what he’s done outside of the ring.  Nevertheless, he & the Klits are the faces of boxing worldwide…..hurts but there it is…..go & sit with the children.

    Ezra, I disagree with both you & Adam Berlin about the weight being an issue in FMJ’s fight with Marquez, FMJ didn’t fight a fight that would bring his weight into the equation, strictly off-body & from a distance.  FMJ could’ve leaned all over him if he wanted, constantly pushed him around the ring, didn’t happen.  Marquez would have no chance regardless.

    As for Rodriguez, many thought he could’ve beaten Cotto (based more on Cotto than anything Delvin brought to the fight), I didn’t & my posts in the articles about that fight are there to testify to it.  He’s 2nd tier, no doubts, but it’s acknowledged he is a durable guy.

    Two pounds catchweight for Alvarez, big deal, he should be at middleweight.  He deserved the extra torture trying to get them off.  Remember Pacquiao has turned the screw on quite a few with catchweights as well, prime example being to get Oscar down to welter after about 8 years as a jnr middleweight or not fighting at all!  FMJ fought him at jnr middleweight.  Several of his opponents, notably ODLH, Mosley, Ortiz, Cotto & Canelo have been quite a bit larger come the night of the fight.

    Both FMJ & Pacquiao have excellent bodies of work….FMJ is the greater fighter though.

    Sure the articles is fantasy but why the backhanded disparagement?

  16. mateng 03:46pm, 10/17/2013

    hahaha! lol ! see!? tux,tux,tux, u really know nothing!  your a clown and ur not even aware.  hey guys! tux asking who floydie avoided?  he didnt realize that he answered that question even before he asked it. read your own comment and youll get the answer to your own question. u better exclude yourself, you got nothinup there.

  17. tuxtucis 02:31pm, 10/17/2013

    And ok, maybe I expressed bad way…simply Mayweather and Pacquiao simply avoided each other…But Pacquiao preferred to fight tha same kind of fighter…Now tell me whoever the “cherrypicker” Mayweather avoided

  18. tuxtucis 01:49pm, 10/17/2013

    @mateng: for sure in my skull I’ve more than you have..stop to hurt me or I will ask your exclusion.

  19. mateng 01:41pm, 10/17/2013

    hey tux! did u say pacquiao avoided somebody ? counter puncher who? can u name who u talkin about? lets see if u really have knowledge of what ur saying? prove to us that there is something inside your skull!

  20. tuxtucis 11:08am, 10/17/2013

    Many things to say…about Mayweather’s cherrypicking, well, it’s the same for Pacquiao…he deals well only with a type of fighter and he avoids constantly counterpunchers..the only good counterpuncher he ever met (Marquez), constantly created problems to him…About Pacquiao being the boxer of the decade, that was a choice of journalists, not a fact…and anyway, probably Pacquiao has a better resume in ‘00, but Mayweather has for sure a better resume in ‘90 and ‘10…About the poll who ranked Pacquaio first and Mayweather second, that’s simply shit…It’s a poll made by people who even don’t knows who are Fitzsimmons, Tunney or Armstrong…Pure shit…About common opponents I would say the results are similar: both dominated an overweight over the hill Mosley, both dominated their way Cotto and Hatton (Pacquiao koed him in the 2 and Mayweather in the 10? That means nothing, cause Pacquiao is a quick starter, while Mayweather is not)...probably Hatton was a little better in the Mayweather fight and Cotto was better in the Pacquiao’s fight…The difference can be found only in De La Hoya and Marquez. Pacquiao dominated clearly Golden Boy, while Mayweather won with him a fight difficult to score…maybe the De La Hoya was a little better fighter in the fight with Mayweather…About Marquez no way…Mayweather won every minute of the fight, while Pacquiao had constantly fits…please don’t tell me about the weight…Marquez in the match where he kayoed Pacquiao was even heavier than in the fight with Mayweather…and if Marquez is not a natural welterweight (he started at feather), Mayweather is not either (he started at jr.lightweight)...Simply I think Mayweather is far more various and has a better technique than straight left-thrower Pacquiao…and I think as counterpuncher would have great advantage in a matchup…that said, pound for pound, Marquez, Barrera and Morales are better than Liston, Frazier and Norton…but please Margarito is light years distant from Foreman!

  21. tuxtucis 10:11am, 10/17/2013

    What hell it means for boxing greatness the fact Pacquiao is a congressman or an hp testimonial? He is a symbol of his country , while Mayweather is not? Obvious! USA have thousand of peoples world known in many fields (not only sport), while Pacquiao is the only famous person who comes from Philippines…

  22. Rasek Jr. 08:36am, 10/17/2013

    @darrell. Obviously you don’t understand the word ‘prime.’  Cotto’s prime was the welterweight, not the jr. Middle. Yes, his jabs had better snap in the delvin fight as compared to his matches with Floyd, marg and the rest of the jr. Middles but it was still visibly slower than when he was at welter. Just coz he’s at jr middle now doesn’t mean he’s better at the weight. It’s like saying Duran was comfortable at 160 in 1989 so that version was better than the Duran who beat Leonard at welter in 1980. Poor analysis. Btw, miguel wasn’t having a hard time at 145 then. His previous fight against Clottey, he weighed 146. Prime, boy. Look it up. Bottom line, and most respectable analysts say this - the Cotto that Pac demolished was better than the Cotto that Floyd barely outpointed. And cotto looking good in the 2nd marg fight? Credit that to Pac who busted Tony’s orbital bone.
    It’s funny how you claim Floyd and the k’s are more famous worldwide yet you fail to back it up with facts. Pac, in the boxing world, is the fighter of the decade, only 8 division champ, ex p4p king, in several fighter of the year winner or candidate, 4 division lineal champ, several fighter of the year and many more. Outside boxing, he’s a congressman, endorser of Nike, hp, Hennessy and dozens of other products, had a US top 40 hit song with dan hill. Presented the key to the country (not just city) of Thailand, was invited to White House by Obama, credited for the win of US senator Reid, had a few movies, several game show hosting, signed autographs for drose, durant, harden and other nba stars, mobbed in China, US, Britain, Middle east, Mexico, frequent guest of jimmy kimmel and only fighter whose country is identified thru him. I could go on and on but no need to school you some more, boy. It’s obvious you’re the newbie. I’ve been watching since Ali beat foreman in Zaire and I’ve boxed a few rounds myself. So don’t talk to me about solid analyses. You’ll lose every time.

  23. J.P. 07:06am, 10/17/2013

    for all those who commented on this blog, there is a boxing site BOXING ESNews by Elie Sechbach where a poll in boxing is being conducted.  according to ESNews the current result of the poll as follows:

    A)  Who is the greatest boxer p4p in the history of sport?
    1.  Manny Pacquiao - 1,407 votes (45%)
    2.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. - 406 votes (13%)
    3.  Sugar Ray Robinson -  398 votes (12%)
    4.  Muhammad Ali -  308 votes (10%)

    B)  Is Floyd Mayweather, Jr. afraid to fight Manny Pacquiao?
    YES:  1,929 votes (51%)
    NO:  1,884 votes (49%)

    C)  Who currently has the fastest hand-speed in boxing?
    1.  Manny Pacquiao:  164 votes (27%)
    2.  Amir Khan:  151 votes (25%)
    3.  Floyd Mayweather Jr.:  122 votes (20%)

    this is the result of the poll gathered from around the world.  so who says that manny pacquiao is not famous or well-known around the world!?

  24. pikkon 06:36am, 10/17/2013

    @darrell…Have you heard about Yahoo Sports?..Go and read Kevin Iole and Paul Magno’s articles. They are both Floyd fans who write and praise Floyd Mayweather.

  25. Romeo Lim 06:26am, 10/17/2013

    For me Pacquiao is the B E S T.

  26. pikkon 06:23am, 10/17/2013

    @darrell…Floyd Mayweather fought Hatton who is a natural Jr Welterweight (40-0). He was a novice Welterweight with only one fight as Welterweight..This pattern of fighting novices at Floyd’s comfortable weight class has been going on since then..JMM was a lightweight (2 weight class below welter).Ortiz was a Jr Welter with one fight as Welter. Guerrero was lightweight and a novice welter.. The only legit welter he fought were the aging Mosley and a declining Cotto who is a Pacquaio left over.. I have to lecture this Floyd fan boy again!.

  27. Ezra 06:19am, 10/17/2013

    And yes, there is only one Ali. He was the man for his times. That was that era and this is this one, and this article is just conjecture.

  28. Ezra 06:14am, 10/17/2013

    All the Marquez fights with Pac were very close. When FMJ fought Marquez that was as much about size as it was skills as Adam Berlin said in another article. It was also a terrible style match-up for Marquez. How is a great but smaller and slower counter puncher supposed to reach a great, bigger and faster one with much longer arms, especially after the big man refused to meet the terms of the contract? What about the catch weight vs Alvarez? Also, as mentioned in the article, Pac beat those big guys up as the smaller natural man, but like I also said, it’s really about Barerra, Morales, and Marquez, not the others. As far as Cotto goes, Rodriguez, as even the HBO people admitted, is a second tier fighter. But look, FMJ is a great fighter and a premiere boxer, deserving of being called #1 pound for pound, based on how dominant he’s been. I just don’t think he has as deep a body of work. This is about the making of a myth.

  29. pikkon 06:10am, 10/17/2013

    @darrell…When Manny fought Cotto he was a Jr Welterweight champion (140) after he KOed Hatton while Cotto was the Welterweight champion (147)..It’s just fair for both sides to have a catch weight to make the fight happened. Manny would not fight Cotto at 147!..Cotto’s greatest fights were at Welterweight and not at Jr Middleweight.. For saying Cotto’s comfortable weight is at Jr Middleweight when he fought Manny is NONSENSE. I have to lecture a one minute fan here. Maybe this guy is a Floyd fanboy.

  30. Pete The Sneak 06:10am, 10/17/2013

    @Rasek Jr….It’s funny you bring up Margarito as Pac’s George Foreman…Despite his losing that fight to Pac, I always felt that Marg did indeed inflict some serious damage to Pac in that fight, much more than people gave him credit for. Talk about softening up, Marg did so for Pac’s future opponents back then. You watch that fight again closely and see some of the brutal body shots Marg was hitting Pac with. Yeah, that sucker (Marg) was a beast…As for whose legacy is more like Ali’s? Well, asking a question like that is almost sacriligeous to say the least…Peace.

  31. pikkon 05:54am, 10/17/2013

    @darrell..Pacquiao registers to global boxing public and the sporting public i agree but saying the only real global boxing icons for the past decade are FMJ and the K brothers is not true.. In South America, North america,  Europe, Africa, and Asia sporting public knows the name Manny Pacquaio. Have they heard about the K brothers in South America? He is not a soccer player!!.It’s a myth!..A fantasy!

  32. pikkon 05:32am, 10/17/2013

    Manny Pacquiao’s greatest fight in welterweight is the fight with De la Hoya and Cotto.. He was fast and punch harder.. He absorbed hard shots from a bigger fighter Cotto who is also faster compared to the present Cotto.. But liking him or Floyd Mayweather to Ali is nonsense. Ali fights like a legend. He did not chose his opponents. There were no boring fights when Ali was fighting. Every fans was expecting a knockout and not a running fight to avoid getting hit..That’s Ali the true legend.

  33. Dep 03:54am, 10/17/2013

    Who’s More Like Muhammad Ali: Mayweather or Pacquiao?

    Of course It’s very obvious that it’s Pacquiao! It’s just that simple. WORLD CHAMPION IN 8 WEIGHT DIVISIONS.. c’mon guys.. anybody can do that? even FMJ cannot. Tsk

  34. mateng 02:43am, 10/17/2013

    darrell the genius said pac is unknown outside the boxing world. maybe thats the reason why he is a nike endorser, i dont think fmj was ever invited by a u.s. president to see him in the white house, pac was by obama. clinton met with him in a hotel. boston celtics superstars, even hollywood actors see him after a fight, in his dugout.  a nevada senator invited him during a campaign.  these are no ordinary people known worldwide. and u compare him to k brothers not even known in u.s. except in boxing arena, and fmj who doesnt have endorsement. maybe justin bieber can help him get one.

  35. Darrell 01:42am, 10/17/2013

    Hi Procopy, I wouldn’t call myself or FMJ for that matter a “cherrypicker”, just an admirer of technical boxers.  But for this article, so be it.

    I was going to leave the pactards to the glorying of their demi god but I know it leads to bashing of the premier fighter of the last 10 years or so…..cannot help but take it to them.  BTW, although I believe it’s a bit generous to have him near the top of the P4P list after such a long layoff, I rate Andre Ward the best boxer in the world.  One ahead of FMJ….Pacquiao is in danger of falling off if he doesn’t beat Rios…..somewhat of a possibility.

    You are right, there is only one Ali.

  36. Darrell 01:29am, 10/17/2013

    @Rasek jr

    Ignoramus.  It’s as plain as day that 154 is a far more comfortable weight for Cotto than FMJ who struggles to actually get above 150.  Cotto was struggling to stay at welter by the time he fought Cotto….that wasn’t the better Cotto but Pacquiao likes ‘em weight drained.  Also, watch his fight against Rodriguez, he’s not lacking for zing on his punches.  He beat Margarito convincingly at…..junior middleweight.  FMJ was also 3 years older….duh.

    Hatton was NOT the same fighter after fighting FMJ, several insiders were aware that he struggled to come to terms with his loss….easy 2nd’s pickings for Pacquiao.

    BTW, Pacquiao didn’t soften up Cotto, that wasn’t my line of reasoning at all.  Cotto had come in against FMJ as well prepared, certainly vastly better prepared than in his fight against Pacquiao, as he ever has.  Hatton was mentally fucked up after his FMJ loss.

    Pacquiao is unknown outside boxing circles….once again I have to school another 5 minute fan.  FMJ & the K bro’s are the biggest global names in boxing.  They have recognition outside of their sport, to varying degrees, worldwide.  Pacquiao’s presence is not as large or widespread.  I know that hurts….but there it is.

    You obviously don’t have an ear to the ground….must be new to the game, boy.

  37. procopy 01:10am, 10/17/2013

    I’ve waited like 5 years already for this so called megafight to happen, and those 2 guys are like close to being old farts now and still its not happening. what i like to look forward to and very interesting to see is a slugfest between bradley and malignaggi. that sure is very fun to watch 2 guys trading thousands of punches but then no once is going to go down because both a featherfisted boogeyman.

    now, who’s like muhamad ali? no one but ali himself.

  38. procopy 01:05am, 10/17/2013

    on the right corner, manny pacquiao and the pactards. on the left corner, floyd mayweather and his cherrypickers. on the neutral corner, are some guys who doesnt give a damn on who’s gonna win until they actually fight each other. maybe to get things started, why not pick one of manny and floyds disciple and then let them punch each other inside the ring.

  39. Rasek Jr. 12:45am, 10/17/2013

    @darrel. Obviously you know little about boxing. The Cotto that Pac faced was much better than the one Floyd faced. Why? Because cotto’s size is more built for 147. Besides he was 3 yrs older by then. If you noticed, and most analysts attest to this: Miguel lacked snap in his punches at 154. He was a lot slower and gassed easily. And still, Floyd struggled with him while Pac demolished the guy. And you’re logic is that of a fanboy, Floyd softening up hatton. If you go with that reasoning, Pac softened Cotto up and still Floyd struggled. And Floyd a global icon? Pleeze! He’s only famous in the US and part of England. And half of those who know him want him knocked out. Pac is the true worldwide icon. Famous in the US, part of Europe and the ENTIRE Asia. Plus he gets plenty of endorsements while Floyd barely even gets one.

  40. mateng 12:14am, 10/17/2013

    why not. softened pacquiao himself? im sure after 2 losses ur thinking pac is as soft as cotton.  do you think floyd will take pac after rios fight? its still a better one rather than amir khan. fmj is ppv king, people will watch no matter who he fight, easy money for him.biggest purse ever. fmj loves money. why is he not trying to cherry pick this one?

  41. dvl 11:48pm, 10/16/2013

    pacquiao is greater boxer, floyd still finds excuses not to fight with manny. is that you called floyd! crap

  42. Darrell 11:44pm, 10/16/2013

    Please mateng…..remember FMJ softened up Hatton for Pacquiao.  By the time Hatton faced Pac he was already doubting himself mentally after getting made to look foolish against FMJ.  Never the same fighter.

    FMJ fought a junior middleweight Cotto, advantage Cotto, not a welterweight version which is who Pacquiao met.  Also it was off the back of a WIN against Margarito, not a loss….

    @Ezra, well you’re sure pumping the hype, perception & myth for Pacquiao then.  He’s less than Ali….& less than FMJ.  Your writing is not that good that one can’t see it as another backhanded slap against Mayweather, which is what it is.

  43. mateng 11:04pm, 10/16/2013

    tux! youre a genius!  and floyd paid marquez 300k extra for coming in with extra weight, and marquez tried going up from 135lbs. thats a perfect match!  try comparing the cotto and hatton fight!  try talking to darrel, u 2 will get along. both genius.

  44. tuxtucis 10:33pm, 10/16/2013

    Pacquaio never really won against Marquez, Mayweather lost not a single minute in his fight vs. Marquez. He is more various and has better technique. Mayweather is greater.

  45. mateng 10:24pm, 10/16/2013

    just wondering.. if floyd was ali? will he fight big george foreman?  same thing with pac. who do you think will take the fight? mind you, foreman at his peak.

  46. Ezra Salkin 09:17pm, 10/16/2013

    Thanks everyone for reading. @ Darrell: I don’t follow your second comment but this article is as much about hype, perception, and myth as it is reality.

  47. reyocs 09:17pm, 10/16/2013

    manny dapidran pacman pacquiao..is the best in our era…and a future legend we remember and also written in the boxing book history…
    he is the only one who can achieve 8 dev. 8 belts…..
    he is unique talented good charisma.of all athlete in the whole world

  48. Darrell 08:45pm, 10/16/2013

    Enough boxing.com, enough!!  The blatheringly inane articles after the FMJ/Canelo fight were nauseatingly bad enough but this article is just vomit inducing.  The only thing it needs is a photo of the author prostrating himself before the golden statue of Baal-Pacquiao in the temple of Dagon-Ali.

    Ezra Salkin’s has just announced his installation as a vestal virgin to the cult of the aforementioned tinpot deities.  Ugh, where’s the bag?

  49. Darrell 08:35pm, 10/16/2013

    What a fantasy Ezra, the only real global boxing icons for the past decade or so are FMJ & the K bro’s…..Pacquiao only registers for the global boxing public not the sporting public & certainly not the general public.  It’s a myth your perpetuating without the compelling persona of an Ali.  Dream on…..

  50. Darrell 08:27pm, 10/16/2013

    Not only are pactards commenting on this site now, they’re also writing feature articles…...boxing.com, brought low, brought low.

  51. Gregory 07:29pm, 10/16/2013

    I agree completely.. Manny Pacquiao’s career is way greater than Floyd’s..The quality of opponents he’s fought, the way he beat them up, the way he carries himself after the fight, win or lose, makes him THAT much greater than Floyd. I am a big fan of Floyd Mayweather and I agree, he’s the man to beat now.. But if you compare the careers of both men, Manny has achieved more..

  52. Rasek Jr. 06:59pm, 10/16/2013

    @ r.a.w. Barrera was a top 5 p4p when manny crushed him. He also went on to claim the super featherweight title after he lost to Pac. Morales was not even 30 when Pac ko’d his supposedly granite chin. And he rocked the current lineal jr WW, Danny Garcia when he really was at the tailend of his career. So no, Pac didn’t beat them when their careers were downhill. They were still at the top of their games. And you mentioned it would be a joke if Floyd fought them? That’s what makes Pac great. He’s a small guy demolishing (not just outpointing) champions 2 divisions higher than his natural weight.

    And will you just get off that ‘he refused ostd’ kick? Pac agreed to it a long time ago. Floyd just changed his demands later on. Ducking? Maybe. We’ ll never know. Besides, Pac is doing vada on his next fight. Which is a lot more than what I can say for Floyd who uses usada which is dubious.

    Pac hasn’t been in an exciting fight since Cotto? Pac’s most boring fight is still a lot better than Floyd’s most exciting match. Lol

  53. shower punches 06:47pm, 10/16/2013

    maybe, it’s better to take out the number 1 spot of pound for pound list and make it vacant until Mayweather will faced Pacquiao….no doubt this two have the right to claim the title and no one else….The Ring’s p4p list have a shallow choices…............nowadays!

  54. bikermike 06:42pm, 10/16/2013

    no disrespect to ‘Manny’....he’s a man who climbed the mountain….and now has other interests….and absolutely no idea about what money is.

    He is no longer able to commit himself to battle preparation….but continues to live like he will always get those big paydays…..sorta like Joe Frazier….

  55. Rasek Jr. 06:34pm, 10/16/2013

    Pacquiao’s Foreman? How about margarito? When the Pac-marg was first announced, I did liken George to tony in my mind. Not in skill and punching power, but on the sheer size, strength and weight differential. Marg was a beast at welterweight (and they fought at 150) and compared to a natural lightweight like manny, theoretically, he could’ve caused real damage. Remember that marg was the most avoided fighter just a couple of fights removed. Even Floyd avoided him. So yeah, to a small degree, he could be pac’s foreman.

    Pac’s Holmes could be provodnikov :)

    Your comparison of Ali and Manny’s opponents are great. But what’s even greater is that you didn’t even mention Cotto and hatton who was the lineal jr WW champ at that time. That’s how solid pac’s record is. You actually got it right when you said he had a more robust resume than Floyd.

    Terrific article.

  56. bikermike 06:32pm, 10/16/2013

    pbf has been choosing his own opponents for some time…
    less so…Pacquiao…...ne’re the less…

    When Ali was there…he got forced into some fights ...due to the rules about Champions having to defend their Titles…something about every ninety days..against the number one available contender…  BTW..those rules still are in the book today….but not enforced.

    ...At least once a year…the old and ageing Muhammid Ali would have to get back into the ring and ‘tuff it out with the latest old ...or young lion…..

    at the end…his brain trust decided to name LEON SPINKS…recent Gold Medal Winner of the Olympics…with seven ...count ‘em ...seven pro fights…...

    and Ali fights Spinks…....and Spinks beat that old man damned near to death….round after round after round….

    Nobody could give the fight to Ali…and he lost his Title

    cupla months later…with some honest effort by Ali to get in shape and live clean…...coupled with Leoon living every four hours like it was SATURDAY NIGHT…

    By the time the RE MATCH(no easy thing to have established…except…HEY LEON…you give Ali his rematch….we give you cupla….maybe fifteen million ....win or lose)
    ,,Bradley beat Pacquiao…and now Marquez…..

    No ‘Mouth needed’...nor need to try to compete with the ‘Louieville Lip’....who could…???!
    Bradley is just one of the guys who can ...and does ..hit and not get hit.
    Whoever told him to do the ‘Rocky’[ thing against his last opponent…should take up his natural profession .....of testing motorcycle helmets

    When Bradley dances his own dance…...he’s damned near unstoppable…..
    That will be a short ..but hopefully brilliant career.

    Bradley has now become a name fighter…....maybe pacman wants a rematch

  57. bikermike 06:15pm, 10/16/2013

    as of ‘THE MOUTH….gotta go with pbf….lotsa mouth…

    as for fighting….

    I’d say the most recent Champion of the day….who has the hit and not be hit strategy…...is none other than Timothy Bradley…

    who now has Pacquiao and Marquez ...on his War Lance…among others…Bradley beat Liston….and Liston ....twice…with Pacquiao and Marquez…..

    Bradley wasn’t a butterfly…he stood ..but feinted…countered…shoulder rolled and avoided the punches of Pacquiao AND Marquez…...

    gotta give Bradley his due….best Boxer of his time…so far

  58. J.P. 06:14pm, 10/16/2013

    i like your article ezra salkin.  keep it up!!!  at least there is truth and honesty about boxing and not the hype about floyd jr.

  59. Your Name 06:08pm, 10/16/2013

    Also, Ali fought a lot of bad fights in his day, Neither Floyd or Pac did. Most of their fights were very good ones. Even Pac’s losses were very good.

    No Spinks, Wepner, Dunn, Young, Norton, etc..

  60. RomanDante 05:56pm, 10/16/2013

    For me its PacMan. The whole package is there in him. Win or lose he never complain. Sportmanship is what I believe him MOST

  61. J.P. 05:53pm, 10/16/2013

    comparing manny pacquiao or floyd mayweather jr. with regards to who among these two great boxers of our era can be likened to muhammad ali in terms of achievements and greatness.  its a no contest manny pacquiao is the clear winner.  why?  because both muhammad ali and manny pacquiao were/are not afraid to fight the best in their respective divisions!  does a clean record matter?  no!  it is the best who fights the best is what matters most and not the clean record!!!

  62. Ted 05:51pm, 10/16/2013

    Ali was unique. Maybe SRL comes close because like Ali, he was the right man for his times. Also, Jack Johnson.

    But Pac or FMJ? No way in hell.

  63. Ted 05:33pm, 10/16/2013


  64. r.a.w. 05:25pm, 10/16/2013

    Pacquiao’s record is smoke and mirrors.  He beat Morales, Barrera and De La Hoya at the tail end of their careers.  If Floyd fought Morales or Barrera, it would have been seen as a big joke.  Because Pacquiao was an unknown quantity, it made his feat seem that much bigger.  Who cares if you fight a shot fighter multiple times?  The truth is, once steroids became an issue, Pacquaio has look very ordinary.  People say how exciting he is, but before he got knocked out by Marquez, his last exciting fight was with Miguel Cotto.  I couldn’t read this whole article, but the truth is, some say Pacquiao is greater than Mayweather.  The reason for this is because everything he’s done is unexpected.  No one expected him to be great.  Whereas everyone expected greatness from De La Hoya and Mayweather.  Why?  Because they were good all along, whereas Pacquiao because super good out of nowhere.  Was he assisted in that greatness?  We never know because he REFUSED to take the test.  This writer says Mayweather refused to go that route, but he knows he’s lying.

  65. Dranreb Datsboygym 04:49pm, 10/16/2013

    PACQUIAO is the greatest fighter of all time…he is the greatest and most entertainer fighter to watch that makes your PEE halted for a moment until the excitement doesn’t finished yet..contradicting to FLOYDIOT who is the greatest cure for SLEEPLESS DISORDER the only cure of that is to watch the tapes of FLOYDIOTS every fights then you will gain back your sleeping mode….as for ALI and ROBINSON both guys are terrific P4P LEGENDS…but to reach the mount EVEREST im sure..its was PACQUAIO who owned that distinction…you can argue big time..but those 7TH DIVISIONs title was hardly fought by PAC outside of his own backyard..with the same league class of opponent ALI and ROBINSON faced…but i dont think both ALI and ROBINSON has the terrific skills of attacking mode that every human beings bringing ups their assess alive every time we saw the great PAC fighting…thus..PACQUIAO is the best of the best.

  66. mateng 04:26pm, 10/16/2013

    ali fought the best boxers there is, can anybody say he ducked anyone? he loved big and dangerous fights,not even scared of losing or getting hurt, or maybe he was but he did not make excuses.made use of the media to pick a fight and not to avoid anybody.never did he hide under the skirt of his popularity and influence just to avoid fighting what everybody thinks is the best fight available.we watched his fights coz we know what kind of fight he brings to the table. do you still still get excited watching his fights? hell yeah! can u pick ten of his fights as best fights ever? u bet. can u tell your son hey you gotta watch his fights its the best!? of course u can! now im gonna ask you. whos more like muhammad ali?

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