Manny Pacquiao now sits atop the boxing world.
The pound for pound king is a fast, strong precision puncher with dazzling footwork. One would have to think hard to come up with a name in the current ranks of lightweight and light-welterweights who could give the Pacman a serious beat-down.
Ricky Hatton is one such name. And we will soon find out if he is enough of a fighter to stand toe to toe with the Pacman.
In all, Pacquiao has suffered a total of three career losses. Two of them in the late 90's when he was still a scrawny light-flyweight/flyweight. The third and latest was dealt by Eric Morales as a superfeatherweight. Here is a closer look at those losses.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Rustico Torrecampo (1996)
After a string of 11 straight wins, Pacquiao was knocked out in the third round by journeyman Torrecampo. Pacquiao failed to make the 106lb limit and was thus, forced to use heavier gloves. That, plus his failed effort to make weight placed a drain on the young Pacquiao's strength.
These factors, plus what was said to be a lucky punch by his opponent, led to the Pacman's first career loss. Torrecampo, now long retired, did not go on to achieve much in the boxing world inspite of his win over an opponent who would go on to become part of boxing folklore. Moving up in weight after the loss, Pacquiao was not able to avenge his first loss.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Medgoen Singsurat (1999)
This fight was Pacquiao's second defense of the WBA flyweight title. He lost the crown even before stepping into the ring as he failed to make weight and was stripped of the title, making the bout with Singsurat a non-title tiff. Despite again being physically drained from his failed effortto make weight, Pacquiao opted to fight. Stepping into the ring, the Pacman was visibly drained and weak-kneed.
He was in no condition to win the fight. From the opening bell, Pacquiao just stood there, being an easy target for his Thai opponent. Barely throwing punches, it was apparent he did not fight to win. In the third round, Singsurat connected with body blows that sent Pacquiao to the canvass. He was writhing in pain, a heap of skin and bone as he was counted out.
Like his first loss, he failed to avenge the defeat to Singsurat as he opted to move up in weight. Singsurat, now campaigning in the super-bantamweight ranks, remains a journeyman, with no notable achievements apart from his win over Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales (2005)
Moving up in weight after a successful stint as a featherweight, Pacquiao's first stab at super-featherweight was an attemptto win a world title versus future hall of famer Erik Morales. Losing a close and bloody 12 round decision, Pacquiao was clearly out-boxed by Morales. The savvy Mexican stuck to his game-plan, catching Pacquiao as he went in and counter-punching effectively.
Morales had an answer for everything Pacquiao dished out. Morales led by two points in the judges' score-cards. Analysts later said Pacquiao failed to bring his power from the lower weight classes to super-featherweight. This was to be proven wrong in the coming years as the Pacman avenged the loss twice over.
In the succeeding rematches, Pacquiao stopped Morales in the 10th round in their second fight, and scored a relatively easy third TKO in the third fight. Morales, a legend in his own right, is semi-retired. He will go down as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Manny Pacquiao has grown by leaps and bounds since his past losses. Literally and figuratively. He is a wholly different fighter. Bigger, stronger, more disciplined and supremely confident.
Are there lessons to be learned by the camp of Hatton from Pacquiao’s losses? Maybe. Maybe not. We will find out soon enough.