Mayweather vs Pacquiao Fighting History Part 6: Return of the King

On May 2, live on PPV, Floyd Mayweather faces Manny Pacquiao in what is being billed as boxing's Fight of the Century. It's a…

By: Fraser Coffeen | 8 years ago
Mayweather vs Pacquiao Fighting History Part 6: Return of the King
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On May 2, live on PPV, Floyd Mayweather faces Manny Pacquiao in what is being billed as boxing’s Fight of the Century. It’s a fight that has been in discussion for roughly seven years, and now it is finally upon us. In this Bloody Elbow series, we look at the history leading up to Mayweather vs Pacquiao by examining the key fights that have brought us to May 2.

Last time out, we saw Pacquiao conclude a double header of destroying previous Mayweather opponents as he KO’d Ricky Hatton in brutal fashion. Today, the roles are reversed, as Mayweather tries to one up Pacman.


The fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, September 19, 2009

The background: When Floyd Mayweather stepped in to the ring in September of 2009, it was a big moment for boxing – the return of the self-exiled king after nearly two years away from the sport. Mayweather had retired in 2007 at the very top of his skills and popularity, but in spring of 2009, the very day Pacquiao took on Hatton, Mayweather announced his return and his return opponent – a man chosen to send a message to the Pacquiao camp.

The importance: Though only 2 fights in to what would ultimately become a 4 fight (for now) series, by this point, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez were clearly established as big rivals, with many viewing Marquez as undefeated against the now pound for pound king (though the official record books had it 1-0-1 for Pacquiao). And so Floyd Mayweather did what Floyd Mayweather does best – he hand picked an opponent designed to make himself look great. Marquez was 2-0 since the last Pacquiao fight and was clearly a top level fighter. Mayweather set out to show that where Pacquiao failed, he would succeed – he would dominate and definitively topple Marquez. And that’s exactly what he did.

The fallout: With this fight, Mayweather asserted his position as the pound for pound king once again, showing off that dominant side in an impeccable performance (Compubox had Marquez landing just 19% of his punches – a ridiculously low percentage that speaks to Mayweather’s defensive brilliance).

So Pacquiao had smashed De La Hoya and Hatton, Mayweather had dominated Marquez, there were two pound for pound kings… surely the time for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was upon us, right? Wrong. As we moved into 2010, talk of the superfight was red hot, with a possible spring date being discussed. But of course it was not to be. Negotiations faltered, and instead of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, 2010 saw Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey – two fights that did not grab fans (though, to be fair, Mayweather vs. Mosley was indeed a big PPV draw). The time for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao passed, and it looked like the dream was dead. And for a few years it was.

Then, in 2012, that all changed thanks to one man: Juan Manuel Marquez.

Next time: Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV


For Mayweather, most fights since this one have been pretty formulaic. His defensive skills are the best in the game, and have effectively shut down basically every opponent he has come against. Some, like Miguel Cotto, have had moments of success, but they are minor. The end result has been a series of technically superb but ultimately kind of boring fights. One fight though breaks that mold – this highly controversial 2011 fight with the severely overmatched Victor Ortiz. It’s the only stoppage victory of Mayweather’s post-retirement career, and to say it comes with some qualifiers is a massive understatement. If you’ve never seen this fight, check it out now – it’s an odd one.

Join us at Bloody Elbow for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao coverage as we get ready for fight night, May 2, live on PPV.

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Fraser Coffeen
Fraser Coffeen

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