Manny Pacquiao and Joe Calzaghe: Who Should Be No. 1?

EJ ClaudioCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2008

With Manny Pacquiao's recent demolition of Oscar de la Hoya, Pacquiao solidified his status as the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer. Or does Joe Calzaghe deserve that spot?

Looking at their records, Manny Pacquiao has 48-3-2 (36 KO's) while the Welshman has an amazing unbeaten record of 46-0 (32 KO's). By just looking at the numbers, you can easily say that Joe Calzaghe should be number one because of his win streak, but that is not the case.

We will look closer on the quality of fights and achievements they made in their divisions.

Manny Pacquiao started his career at Light Flyweight (106 lbs.) at the age of 16 and suffered his first defeat via knockout against Rustico Torrecampo. He won his first title when he moved to the Flyweight division and defeated Chatchai Sasakul in the eighth round.

As his body started to grow, he again moved up to the Super Bantamweight division and won the WBC International Super Bantamweight title. In 2001, he won the IBF Super Bantamweight title from Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in impressive fashion. He knocked out the champion in brutal fashion.

His biggest break came when he again, moved up in weight, 126 lbs., and fought the "The Baby Faced Assassin" Marco Antonio Barrera and annihilated him in 11 rounds. After that he fought Juan Manuel Marquez, another Mexican great. They fought to a highly controversial draw.

Manny kept on moving up in weight and faced Erik "El Terible" Morales at Super Featherwieght. Morales displayed excellent boxing skills and won by unanimous decision. They again faced each other and Pacquiao knocked out Morales in the 10th round.

In the rubber match, a weight-drained Morales was blown away in three rounds. Pacquiao faced an old Barrera again in 2007 and won by unanimous decision. The most anticipated rematch between Pacquiao and Marquez happened in March 2008, where Pacquiao won in controversial manner. It was a split decision for Pacquiao but it was a fight that could've gone either way.

This was Pacquiao's third title in in three weight divisions. Pacquiao then went after history and challenged then WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz for his fourth title in four divisions. He successfully won the title again in spectacular fashion. He busted up Diaz for nine rounds.

At this stage, you could easily say that Pacquiao faced very tough opposition however, he never got to dominate a division as he keeps on moving up. And move up he did it. This time to face the Golden Boy and we all know what happened. This time, Pacquiao is said to be moving down to 140 lbs. to face "The Hitman" Ricky Hatton in England.

Pacquiao is a very brave fighter who challenges the best and doesn't back down. His style of fighting has won many fans all over the world. The critics and haters often say that Pacquiao beat up old, shot, washed up fighters and he never cleaned out a division. That can be partially true, however, no one can ever question his heart.

Super Joe Calzaghe is the longest reigning world champion. He held the WBO Super Middleweight title for over 10 years and relinquished it to fight at Light Heavyweight. He never lost a match. Now, that is definitely impressive. Let's take a look at his significant fights.

Calzaghe first got his shot at the title against Chris Eubank in 1997. He knocked down Eubank in the opening rounds and won by unanimous decision. His next significant fight was against his rival, Robin Reid. Calzaghe won by split decision and it was highly controversial as most fans saw it going either way. A rematch never happened.

He also fought former champion, Charles Brewer and won by unanimous decision. Calzaghe also TKO'd Byron Mitchell in the second round. In 2005, he faced the American Jeff Lacy. Now, Lacy, in this fight was the favorite. However, Calzaghe proved his critics wrong as he demonstrated a boxing clinic and beat Lacy by decision. Jeff Lacy was never the same again.

Next he faced Sakio Bika and won by decision. In this match, Calzaghe didn't look good and critics were saying that Joe lost his edge. He was going to prove his critics wrong again. He next faced Peter Manfredo from The Contender and annihilated him in three rounds.

Mikkel Kessler was next. Calzaghe won again in 12 rounds and became the undisputed Super Middleweight champion. He moved up this time to face Bernard Hopkins for his "Ring" Light Heavyweight crown. It was a closely fought match with Hopkins scoring a knockdown in the first round. Calzaghe emerged victorious by split decision. And Hopkins was very frustrated as he felt that he won the fight.

Clazaghe's last match was against "Superman" Roy Jones Jr. Again, Joe was put down in the first round but that was all that Jones had to offer as he was easily outboxed during the remaining rounds. Calzaghe won by unanimous decision.

A pretty impressive resume as well for Joe which makes it harder to choose who should be No. 1 pound-for-pound. Calzaghe fought most of his fights in Europe and critics say that he was a protected fighter who never fought the best of his time. Like Pacquiao, he is also criticized for fighting "old" warriors like Hopkins and Jones.

In my opinion, Manny Pacquiao fought the bigger names and tougher opponents than Joe Calzaghe. Pacquiao deserves his number 1 ranking. He is after all, always the smaller man moving up and beating up the bigger guys. Pacquiao also showed us that he continues to improve with every fight. Calzaghe is a close second.

He did dominate his division for 10 years and defeated Hall of Famers Hopkins and Jones. They are both good boxers but I guess the edge went to Manny because of his heart.