WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is hailed as the best active boxer in the sport, but what many fans fail to realize is that he has taken his lumps in the past. Pac Man is mortal, and his three losses prove that.
Pacquiao was dubbed “Fighter of the Decade” (for the 2000s) by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), after he became the first boxer in history to win nine world titles in seven different weight classes.
He has also been touted as the best boxer pound-for-pound by The Ring, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NBC Sports and Yahoo! Sports.
However, his record still reads 51 wins, three losses and two draws, which poses the following questions:
- Who are the boxers that beat Pacquiao?
- How did they do so?
- What can Antonio Margarito, who Pacquiao will fight Nov. 13, learn from those losses?
Pacquiao’s first loss came to the hands of fellow Filipino fighter Rustico Torrecampo in 1996. Pacquiao was overweight for the bout and was consequently penalized by wearing heavier gloves than his opponent.
Hard-hitting Torrecampo was aggressive early and coaxed Pacquiao into an old-fashioned slug-fest. The fight was evenly matched for the majority of the first two rounds, but was abruptly ended early in the third by a gut-wrenched body blow by Torrecampo.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, fight fans; you want to know what Magarito can possibly learn from a fight that took place 14 years ago. Well, there are two lessons to be learned from Paquiao’s loss to Torrecampo:
1.) Never count a brawler out of a boxing match.
2.) An underdog has a great advantage, if his opponent underestimates him.
Margarito draws a strong similarity to Torrecampo in his style of fighting. They are both power punchers who can withstand tons of punishment. That being said, Margarito should never forget that it could only take one punch to win a fight.
Conversely, Pacquiao should remember it could only take one blow to lose a fight. For that reason, Pacquiao must not take Margarito lightly.
As for Torrecampo, he was 12-4-4 after his victory over Pacquiao, but flopped later on in his career, losing four of his next eight fights before retiring in 1997.
Pac Man’s second defeat came in 1999 against the undefeated (at that time) Medgoen Singsurat, 18-0. Singsurat, a power-punching Thai flyweight, had Pacquiao on the run early in the bout.
Similar to Pac Man’s fight against Torrecampo, it ended with Pacquiao being knocked out by a dilapidating body shot. Coincidence? I think not.
If I’m Magarito, I would make sure that on Nov. 13 that my haymakers aren’t just head-hunters, but they’re body-snatchers as well; not just because two of Pacquiao’s three defeats are results of body blows, but because I know that I’m the bigger man heading into this fight as well.
The Pacquiao-Singsurat fight also highlights the importance of setting the tempo early. If Margarito wants to win, he must be aggressive and keep Pacquiao dancing on the outside, where he’s not as dangerous.
Singsurat has recently racked up another win as a bantamweight fighter, improved his record to 69-6. On paper, it may seem that Singsurat has had a relatively successful career, but a closer look at his record shows that the majority of his wins have been over novice boxers--including 17 fighter who fought him on their professional debut.
Pacquiao’s last downfall was to three-division champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales. Morales won a hard-fought 12-round match, in which Pacquiao sustained a significant cut above his right eye due to an accidental headbutt.
All three judges scored the bout 115-113 in favor of Morales. That fight turned out to be the first of a great boxing trilogy, which Pacquiao got the better of by winning the next two contests.
Margarito should review this fight and understand that stamina wins fights. As long as Margarito goes the distance, he has a chance to win the fight.
Pacquiao is a huge favorite to win the fight against Margarito, but he is not invincible by any means. Championships and awards aside, Pacquiao has lost before and has the potential to lose again.