MEET THE FIGHTERS
Height / reach: 5-6½ (169cm) / 67 (170cm)
Hometown: General Santos City, Philippines
Turned pro: 1995
Record: 52-3-2 (38 knockouts)
Trainer: Freddie Roach
Fight-by-fight: Click here
The Ring rating: No. 1 pound for pound; No. 1 welterweight
Titles: WBC flyweight (1998-99; stripped for failing to make weight); IBF junior featherweight (2001-03; vacated); THE RING featherweight (2003; vacated); WBA junior lightweight (2008; vacated); WBC lightweight (2008-09; vacated); THE RING junior welterweight (2009-present); WBO welterweight (2009-present); WBC junior middleweight (2010; vacated).
Biggest victories: Chatchai Sasakul, Dec. 4, 1998, KO 8 (won first title); Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, June 23, 2001, TKO 6; Marco Antonio Barrera, Nov. 15, 2003, TKO 11; Erik Morales, Jan. 21, 2006, TKO 10; Morales, Nov. 18, 2006, KO 3; Barrera, Oct. 6, 2007, UD 12; Juan Manuel Marquez, March 15, 2008, SD 12; Oscar De La Hoya, Dec. 6, 2008, TKO 8; Ricky Hatton, May 2, 2009, KO 2; Miguel Cotto, Nov. 14, 2009, TKO 12; Joshua Clottey, March 13, 2010, UD 12; Antonio Margarito, Nov. 13, 2010, UD 12.
Losses: Rustico Torrecampo, Feb. 9, 1996, KO 3; Medgoen Singsurat, Sept. 17, 1999, KO 3; Morales, March 19, 2005, UD 12.
Draws: Agapito Sanchez, Nov. 10, 2001, TD 6 (Pacquiao cut); Marquez, May 8, 2004, D 12.
Biography: Manny Pacquiao is one of the few fighters who has been able to transcend boxing because of his success in the ring and persona outside it. And the fact he started life in abject poverty in his native Philippines, makes his story all the more remarkable.
No one could’ve predicted Pacquiao’s rise to icon status when he turned pro at 16 in 1995. He always had the physical tools — speed, power, athleticism – but greatness was a long way off.
Pacquiao was successful from the start, going 23-1 to earn a shot at his first major title in 1998 in Thailand, where he stopped Chatchai Sasakul in eight rounds to win the WBC flyweight belt. It was the first of a record 10 titles in eight weight classes he has won to date.
Pacquiao lost the title the following year and would have to wait almost two more years to get another shot at a title. When he finally got it, it changed his career and life.
The young Filipino left his native land and went to the United States in 2001, hoping to find solid promotional backing and a world-class trainer. He has been through several promoters but found his rock in trainer Freddie Roach.
The two teamed up for the first time when Pacquiao challenged Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF junior featherweight belt in June 2001. Pacquiao, unknown at the time, stunned the boxing world by dominating and then stopping the favored South African in six rounds.
Pacquiao had arrived … but he was just getting started. Between 2003 and 2008, he went 5-1-1 against the Hall of Famer-caliber Mexico trio of Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales, losing only a close decision to Morales in 2005.
That success and a sterling overall record probably would’ve been enough to land Pacquiao in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Again, though, the most-spectacular was yet to come.
Pacquiao made a dramatic decision to move up two weight classes to face the biggest star in the sport, Oscar De La Hoya, a move most believed was suicidal. However, in December 2008, the little marvel dominated his bigger opponent and won by an eighth round technical knockout.
A superstar was born that night. He went on to stop Ricky Hatton with one thunderous left in his next fight, which enhanced his legend, and then beat Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito to solidify his position as the No. 1 fighter in the world.
Pacquiao is more than just a boxer, though. He acts, he sings, he’s a businessman. And, most famously, he was elected to congress in the Philippines, which gives him an opportunity to help his challenged people on a large scale.
Pacman is quite a package: The best boxer on the planet but also a charming and humble man who cares deeply about other people. We might never see another like him.