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Mayweather v Pacquaio: Power ranking their top 10 performances

Ahead of this Saturday’s fight, we look back at some of Mayweather and Pacquaio most memorable fights.

FIGHT WEEK HAS finally arrived. This Saturday, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao will compete in arguably the most anticipated fight in boxing history.

Even if some would argue it comes too late in both their respective careers, this is still the match-up everyone wants to see. The greatest defensive fighter and greatest offensive fighter of this era going head-to-head to be crowned the undisputed king of boxing.

But what are their best performances up until this defining moment?

10. Pacquaio v Ledwaba

Source: thousandlefts/YouTube

This was the fight that Pacquiao announced his presence to the American boxing audience. Coming in on two weeks notice, a Freddie Roach-trained Filipino super bantamweight named Manny Pacquiao fought in the US for the first time.

His opponent was Lehlohonolo Ledwaba (33-1-1) was such a big favourite that Vegas didn’t even have odds on the fight. Pacquiao punished Ledwaba with hard punches and knocked him down three times before the fight was stopped in the sixth round.

9. Mayweather v Hatton

Source: Bill Gates/YouTube

Englishman Ricky Hatton was undefeated at 43-0 before he moved up to welterweight to fight Floyd Mayweather. Many people felt that Hatton’s intense pressure would cause Mayweather a lot of problems and it did in the opening rounds.

But Hatton couldn’t land anything meaningful and Mayweather’s right hand began to land more and more as the fight progressed. The end came in the 10th when Hatton had Mayweather pressed against the ropes. The Manchester native went in with his hands down and Mayweather caught him. After that, the writing was on the wall for ‘The Hitman’.

8. Pacquaio v Barrera

Source: rakdan555/YouTube

If the fight against Ledwaba announced Pacquaio’s arrival, it was this fight that showed there was something special about him. In Barrera, he was facing a tried and tested champion who hadn’t been defeated in three years.

This fight was utter domination by Pacquiao. After being battered relentlessly for 11 rounds, Barrera’s corner were eventually forced to throw in the towel to save their man from any more punishment.

7. Pacquaio v De La Hoya

Source: BVideos/YouTube

Manny Pacquiao’s first-ever million-sold pay-per-view event came in 2008 when he moved up in weight to take on Oscar De La Hoya. Even though De La Hoya was close to retirement, he was favoured to beat the smaller man.

Pacquiao destroyed an exhausted, physically-drained Oscar, forcing him to quit on his stool after eight rounds. It was a performance that shocked the boxing world.

6. Mayweather v Marquez

Source: SeeCaBoxing/YouTube

This was Mayweather’s first fight back after his “retirement”, following his victory over Ricky Hatton. For his first opponent on his comeback, he chose Pacquiao’s nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.

The fight was supposed to be at a catchweight, but Mayweather didn’t make it. Chances are he didn’t even try. Floyd dominated every second of the fight. He dropped Marquez with a left hook in the second round, and he remained unscathed for the rest of the fight. He defeated one of the best boxers of this era with absolute ease after nearly two years out of the ring.

5. Pacquaio v Hatton

Source: Buhay Saudi/YouTube

This may have been one of Pacquaio’s quickest fights but it was impossible to leave off the list. The fight was in Hatton’s division. He had ruled over 140 pounds for years. Pacquaio not only outclassed him, he destroyed the Manchester man.

It is one of the most memorable finishes in recent boxing history.

4. Mayweather v De La Hoya

Source: HYNESY/YouTube

Mayweather’s fight with Oscar De La Hoya in May 2007 still stands as the best-selling pay-per-view fight in history with a record 2.48 million buys. There was a lot of bad blood going into the fight, with legitimate animosity developing between the two great fighters.

It was a tough, close fight but Floyd eventually won by split decision. Punch statistics for the fight showed Mayweather landed 207 to De La Hoya’s 122, and 138 power punches to De La Hoya’s 82.”Look at the punch-stat numbers, and you can see why I’m the new champion tonight,” Mayweather said. “I just fought the best fighter in our era, and I beat him.”

3. Pacquiao v Cotto

Source: Glovesgymabc Gloves/YouTube

This was one of the most anticipated fights of Pacquiao’s career. Miguel Cotto was a hard puncher, and this fight was expected to be a battle of attrition since both men seemingly had the power to knock out the other.

However, Pacquiao proved to be the sharper fighter. Cotto won the first round, but Pacquiao took it to him from that point forward. The Filipino Flash registered knockdowns in the third and fourth rounds, and whenever Cotto tried to mount an assault of his own, Pacquiao came back with his own power shots.

Pacquiao put the fight away with a one-sided showing in the ninth round, but Cotto would not quit. He continued to take heavy punishment until the fight was stopped in the 12th round.

2. Pacquiao v Marquez 1

Source: Fujimans1/YouTube

One of the greatest fights of the last decade, Pacquiao overcame his tendencies as a slow starter by knocking Marquez down three times in the first round.

But Juan Manuel Marquez displayed the heart and determination that has made him a such a fan favourite by bouncing back over the rest of the fight. Using some crisp right hands to get back into the fight, he dragged himself more into contention with every passing round.

In the end, brilliant performances by both men resulted in a 12-round draw. It was the first in a series of exciting bouts with Marquez that became one of the best boxing rivalries of the last 40 years.

1. Mayweather v Cotto

Source: Fighting World Entertainment/YouTube

This may be a controversial pick for number one but this fight could be a good indication of what we can expect Saturday night. It was Mayweather’s toughest and closest fight to date.

Miguel Cotto has a very similar style to Manny Pacquaio. He was quick, aggressive and looked to use body punches to hurt the undefeated American. He asked some serious questions of Mayweather but only succeeded in bringing out his best.

Cotto kept attacking until the final bell, something we can expect from Pacquaio this weekend. But Mayweather’s superior size, speed and accuracy gave him the advantage. He avoided most of Cotto’s attacks and was able to counter effectively.

But Mayweather was visibly beaten up after the bout, like we’ve never seen before or again. It seemed to effect him so much that he replaced his uncle/trainer Roger Mayweather with his more defense-minded father.

In the ring after the fight, Mayweather Jr embraced Cotto and told him, “You are a hell of a champion — the toughest guy I fought.”

He was right. But he might change his mind after Saturday night’s fight with Pacquaio. The Filipino fighter is likely to come with a similarly bruising style but he is a superior fighter to Cotto and should push Mayweather like nobody we’ve seen before.

What do you think has been the finest display from either Mayweather or Pacquiao? 

Read: Tyson Fury tells Klitschko ‘he is the man to end his reign on the throne’

Read: Pacquiao snubs $350m megafight ‘grand arrival’ – and hosts his own event down the road instead

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About the author:

Donal Lucey

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