If Manny Pacquiao beats Jeff Horn this Saturday in Australia, it will add nothing to his legacy. Unless Horn shocks the world and upsets Pacquiao, the bout will be no more than a historical footnote.
Pacquiao became a legend by beating other legends–at times in sensational fashion. These are the five most important lines on his CV:
5. TKO 10 Over Erik Morales, January 21, 2006
Eight months earlier, Morales had defeated Pacquiao in a very close unanimous decision. In this rematch, Pacquiao wore the Mexican great down and put him away in the 10th. Pacquiao would knock out Morales in Round 2 of a rubbermatch in November 2006.
4. SD Over Juan Manuel Marquez, March 15, 2008
In their first fight in 2004, Pacqiao jumped all over Marquez in Round 1, dropping his greatest rival three times. But Marquez dug himself out of the hole and cleanly outboxed Pacquiao down the stretch. The rematch was another back-and-forth war, with Pacquiao earning a split decision on the strength of a Round 3 knockdown. The victory made Pacquiao the true world champion at 130 pounds.
3. KO 2 Over Ricky Hatton, May 2, 2009
Pacquiao recorded the most iconic one-punch stoppage of his career in this fight. It made him the real world champion at super lightweight and showed he could carry his explosive power all the way up to 140 pounds.
2. TKO 11 Over Marco Antonio Barrera, November 15, 2003
This is arguably the greatest performance of Pacquiao’s career and it placed him in the category of elite fighters. Prior to the bout, he known only to the hardcore fans, and only then as a former world champion at flyweight who had a dangerous left hand. Barrera, meanwhile, was among the biggest names in the sport. Pacquiao handled him with shocking ease and stopped him in Round 11.
1. TKO 8 Over Oscar De La Hoya, December 6, 2008
This win made Pacquiao a true superstar. After losing a fairly close split-decision to Floyd Mayweather in May 2007, the Golden Boy was thoroughly battered by Pacquiao, forced to quit on his stool in the corner after the eighth round.