We know we'll get some stick for having the legendary "Pacman" so low on this countdown, and we understand that their will be some backlash, but bear with us whilst we explain why Manny Pacquiao fails to break the top 3.
Let us start by saying that official results were a key part of the criteria we used, not the media and consensus results, but the actual, official results. With that in mind Pacquiao has gone 12-4 (1) for the decade. Their can be debate about his losses to Timothy Bradley and Jeff Horn, the official results show losses, just like they show a win for his third bout with Juan Manuel Marquez.
By it's self those numbers only tell half a story, but when we figure out who some of those wins have come against things begin to stack up against Pacquiao. Wins over Joshua Clottey, a 39 year old Shane Mosley, Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, Jessie Vargas, Lucas Matthyse and even Adrien Broner, don't really leave us with a fighter of the decade resume. Wins over Keith Thurman, Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Antonio Margarito are however excellent, it's just a shame there is such a drop off between his top few wins and the rest.
Also the fact Pacquiao's performance, for much of the decade, felt like he was dialling it in didn't help. There was certainly fights where he looked brilliant, but the wins over Mosley, Algieri and Rios seemed very much like a guy who was missing his top gear. As did his loss to Jeff Horn, where he only managed to put his foot on the gas for a few rounds.
The fact Pacquiao beat Keith Thurman in 2019 was amazing, but the fact he hadn't managed that level of performance through the decade did come back to bite him here in our rankings.
Had this list been compiled on what a fighter had done since the year 2000, or from 2000 to 2009, Pacquiao would have topped the list. That was the decade where he planted himself on the boxing world, won world titles from 122lbs to 147lbs, and took out hall of fame level competition regularly. That was the decade where he smashed Marco Antonio Barrera, broke down Erik Morales, battered Miguel Cotto, destroyed Ricky Hatton, and crushed Oscar Dela Hoya. During that same decade he went 23-1-2 (20). Comparing the two decades it's remarkable just how different Pacquaio and his performances where.
Although no where near as impressive as he was in the previous decade Pacquiao continued to entertain, score notable wins and, even at the age of 40, proved he was still one of the top fighters in the world. His 2019 win over Keith Thurman was incredible, and earlier in the decade, when he beat Antonio Margarito, it was impossible no to be impressed. Sadly though too much of the decade was spent fighting faded forces or less names to push Pacquiao further up this list. He is however, strengthening his legendary status with every win.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features