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Is Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather the Fighter of the Decade?

With Pacquiao vs. Mayweather on the horizon, which boxer should win the Fighter of the Decade award?

Of course by now we all know that Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather is in the works for March of 2010. However, the year 2010 brings about the start of a new decade, and as such another chapter in boxing history is closed. The decade was largely dominated by two men, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. While they won’t fight in the ring against one another until this decade has passed, we can still analyze which of these two great fighters deserves the Fighter of the Decade award.

Before we get into analyzing whether Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather deserves the Fighter of the Decade award for the years 2000-2009, let’s take a look at the third place finisher.

Third Place for Fighter of the Decade: Bernard Hopkins – By the time the year 2000 rolled around, Hopkins was already midway through his middleweight reign. His remaining middleweight highlights were the stoppages of Tito Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. He then lost to Jermain Taylor twice, seriously damaging his chances at winning the Fighter of the Decade award. Moving up to light heavyweight, he conquered Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright and Kelly Pavlik while also losing to Joe Calzaghe.

Now onto the debate: should it be Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao for Fighter of the Decade?

Floyd Mayweather’s Credentials for Fighter of the Decade 2000-2009

  • Five Best Wins: Diego Corrales TKO 10, Ricky Hatton TKO 10, Juan Manuel Marquez UD, Oscar De La Hoya SD, Jose Luis Castillo UD 12 (second match)
  • Weight Classes Covered: 5; Super Featherweight (130 lbs) – Junior Middleweight (154 lbs)
  • Question Marks: First Jose Lose Castillo match; Opponent selection at welterweight

Analysis: For the decade, Floyd Mayweather put up an undefeated record of 18 wins with 8 stoppages. Those 18 wins included 8 title defenses and another 5 title wins. He faced Hall of Famer boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Juan Manuel Marquez, and borderline candidates Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo and Ricky Hatton. Other notable victories were over Zab Judah, Jesus Chavez and Carlos Hernandez.

Floyd Mayweather was at his best as a super featherweight fighter, but by the year 2000 some of his best wins at that weight had already passed, including his title winning effort against Genaro Hernandez and his destruction of Angel Manfredy.

The first Joes Luis Castillo fight is seen as a fight that could have and perhaps should have gone to the other man, but he avenged that question mark with a clear decision victory. While at various times he offered fights to (and declined offers from) the likes of Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito, none of those fights materialized, putting his work at welterweight into serious question.

Manny Pacquiao’s Credentials for Fighter of the Decade 2000-2009

  • Five Best Wins: Miguel Cotto TKO 12, Marco Antonio Barrera TKO11, Ricky Hatton KO2, Erik Morales TKO10, Oscar De La Hoya RTD 8
  • Weight Classes Covered: 7; Super Bantamweight (122 lbs) – Welterweight (147 lbs)
  • Question Marks: Fights against Juan Manuel Marquez; Loss to Erik Morales;

Analysis: For the decade, Manny Pacquiao had a record of 23 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws, with 20 wins by way of kayo. He beat Hall of Famers like Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya and Juan Manuel Marquez, although his win over Marquez is disputed. Other wins include his recent conquests of Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton.

Starting the decade as a fierce, but raw fighter, Pacquiao quickly added tricks to his repertoire and became the complete fighter he is today. He fought more times than Mayweather did in the decade, although one was a loss and two were draws. He also won a far greater percentage of his fights by knockout, and traversed more weight classes.

And the Winner Is… Manny Pacquiao for Fighter of the Decade

Manny Pacquiao is the winner of the Fighter of the Decade award. The bottom line is that he did more in the decade than Mayweather did, despite the fact that Mayweather was undefeated. Pacquiao fought in more weight classes, beat more Hall of Fame caliber fighters and did it all in more spectacular fashion with knockouts and stoppages. For all of these reasons, Manny Pacquiao wins the ProBoxing-Fans.com Fighter of the Decade award for 2000-2009.

Now, does this mean that I believe Pacquiao will win the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather match-up? Not necessarily… but we can worry about that next decade.