Monday, September 13, 2010

Has Pacquiao's historic run been aided by weak opposition?

There are some who argue that boxing’s pound for pound best Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter, but has also benefited from very strategic matchmaking during his historic rise from featherweight to junior middleweight.

The main point to those which believe the previous statement is that Pacquiao has faced big names on the decline.

As with any debate, it is important to attempt and tackle the question with the aid of quantitative data. Below are the win and loss records for Manny Pacquiao’s last six opponents, including Antonio Margarito, in their previous six fights:

  • Antonio Margarito - four wins (2 KO) and two losses (1 KO)
  • Joshua Clottey - five wins (1 KO) and one loss
  • Miguel Cotto - five wins (2 KO) and one loss (1 KO)
  • Ricky Hatton - five wins (2 KO) and one loss (1 KO)
  • Oscar De La Hoya - three wins (1 KO) and three losses (1 KO)
  • David Diaz - five wins (1 KO), no losses, and one draw

Cumulative Record of Pacquiao’s last six opponents in their last six fights: 27 wins (9 KO) and 9 losses (5 KO).

Cumulative Knock-Out Win Percentage of Pacquiao’s last six opponents in their last six fights: 33%

Cumlative Knock-Out Loss Percentage of Pacquiao’s last six opponents in their last six fights: 55%

So what does this all mean?

Manny Pacquiao has faced some of the best boxers in his last six fights while moving up in weight, but none of them were on hot streak of undefeated fights and except Clottey and Diaz - his weakest foes - all had suffered a knock-out loss in their previous six fights.

One cannot deny the historical importance of Pacquiao’s rise from featherweight since 2008 and the devastating manner in which he has knocked-out or stopped four out of the five foes he has already faced, but the data indicates that these fighters were in a less than prime state of their careers.

Many will rebuttal that the key pieces of data surrounding Pacquiao’s run from lightweight to junior middleweight are the fact that he faced these difficult fighters and has a perfect record against them.

That is a difficult argument to counter.


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