Manny Pacquaio and Current Welterweights Fall Short Of 1980 Version

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIMarch 4, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 19:  Manny Pacquiao poses for photos at Cowboys Stadium on January 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao and the rest of the current welterweight talent could not hold a candle to welterweight classes of decades past. 

I just noticed that BoxRec has rated Pacquiao first, followed by Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto, Miguel Cotto, and Joshua Clottey.

After that the names fall off into a boxing abyss—undefeated guys with no-names on their resume, alphabet names that nobody can pronounce, and the rest of the group that nobody has heard of. You have to go all the way to No. 23 to find one of the few recognizable names, Zab Judah.

Could Pacquiao beat all these guys?

Probably, with the noted exception of Mayweather, which we will probably never be able to know as surety. Berto could possibly be too much for him to handle.

Now, let us look at some classes of the past.

In 1980 Ring Magazine rated the welterweights like this: Sugar Ray Leonard (champion), Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, Pepino Cuevas, and Roberto Duran.

How would Pacman have fared against this crop of fighters?

In my humble opinion, the best he could have hoped to be was 1-4. That is if, and only if, he could turn away Pepino Cuevas .

Cuevas was a fighter much like Pacquiao, short and persevering. Cuevas was a very good welterweight champion from 1976 to 1980 when he was knocked out in dramatic fashion by Tommy “Hitman” Hearns.

Cuevas, was never the same after that fight. As far as he and Pacquiao are concerned, I believe Pepino had more power, but Manny more stamina. I will go ahead and call it like I see it. Pacquiao by split decision.

Sugar Ray Leonard would have beaten Pacquiao any way he wanted to. If he wanted it to be a short night, i believe he could have peppered him for a couple of rounds, before going flat footed and knocking him cold.

Tommy Hearns would have thought Pacquiao was simply Pepino Cuevas III, Roberto Duran being Cuevas II. He knocked them both out cold with a vicious right hand in the second round. It would have taken Hearns no longer to size up Pacquiao. Hearns by KO in two (my head hurts just thinking about it.)

Wilfred Benitez lacked true power, but made up for it with hand speed second only to Leonard at the time. His boxing skills would be enough to keep Manny off him and allow him to win by unanimous decision.

Roberto Duran would have had his way with Manny. He just had trouble with taller fighters such as Hearns and Leonard. Duran would have worn him down in the middle rounds and won by TKO in round eight.

Mayweather would have done better that Manny. He was a better boxer than any of the 1980’s gang, but would only win three, losing to both Leonard and Hearns.

Berto is a rising star but would have been shutout by the old timers, 0-5

I have said it before and I will say it again. Cotto is one of the most over-exposed and over-rated fighters ever. Very good fighter, but not great. He would have been 0-5 as well against the five from 1980.

Joshua Clottey can take a good shot. He is strong and good, but I see another shutout pitched by the old guys. Clottey would be 0-5 against them too.

There are other years of welterweights that are far superior to this current crop, but I think this was probably the best five ever at one time.

What are your thoughts?

For more, go to A Sports Moment