Muhammad Ali or Manny Pacquiao, Who is The Greatest Boxer of All Time?
Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao are perhaps two of the greatest boxers of all time. Who is the better boxer between them?
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Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are names that made boxing popular. However two names stand out from the rest of other boxing greats. They are Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao. For me they are two of the greatest boxers of all time. But who is better between them?
Muhammad Ali started his career as an amateur boxer winning the gold medal in Light Heavyweight Division in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. His first Heavyweight Championship fight was in 1964 against Sonny Liston. Ali who was formerly known as Cassius Clay won the fight by TKO when Liston failed to answer the bell for the opening of the 7th round. In their rematch Ali knocked out Liston in first round.
After the Liston fight he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Despite his outstanding career he put himself in an uneasy situation by associating himself with controversial figures and group such as Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam.
During the Viet Nam War Ali was drafted to serve in the army, but he refused to report for duty citing religious reason and his opposition to the war. Ali was indicted, found guilty and stripped of his title in 1967.
The almost four years layoff from boxing had taken its toll on Ali’s prowess as a boxer. Despite his previous victories against tough opponents Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena, Ali was beaten by Joe Frazier after the 15 rounds. A knock down in the final rounds enabled Frazier to gain the nod of the referees. It was Ali’s first professional loss in his career. Ali later had two more classic fights with Frazier winning both of them, the third and the last fight was via TKO when Frazier was not able to answer the bell at the 15th round.
Ali won one of the biggest upsets in boxing history in 1974 against the fearsome George Foreman. Before the fight almost nobody believed that Ali stood a chance of winning against him. Ali was previously defeated by Frazier and had a life-and-death like fight against Ken Norton who broke his jaw in the fight. Foreman defeated both Frazier and Norton in a devastating fashion. He knocked down Frazier 6 times inside two rounds in route to a resounding TKO victory. He also knocked out Norton in just two rounds.
The overconfident champion charged at Ali at the start of the fight. Ali just let him advance while covering his face with his gloves. Foreman delivered many of his best punches in the early rounds while Ali contented himself with swift and sharp counter punches to the head and body. At times Ali lured Foreman into the ropes, leaned against them and taunting and enraging Foreman who then threw barrage of punches that only landed on Ali’s gloves. Ali’s strategy paid off when Foreman went to the 8th round physically spent and frustrated. Ali then exploited the situation by attacking foreman with effective punch combinations to knock him out. To the surprise of the boxing fans, Ali won against all odds and was able to regain his World Heavyweight Boxing title.
Ali later lost his title to Leon Spinks but regained it in a rematch. He later retired after the victory.
He tried a comeback but he was soundly beaten by Larry Holmes. Angelo Dundee refused to have him continue in the 11th round. Ali fought once more after that loss to Holmes, but lost again to Trevor Berbick. It was his last fight.
Manny Pacquiao is the first boxer in history to ever win eight World Boxing Championship Titles in as many weight divisions. His record is a no mean feat considering that most boxers cannot even win a single championship title in their whole career. Pacquiao set a record that is difficult to equal or surpass by any other boxer.
Pacquiao started fighting at 105 lbs. He captured his first title in flyweight division at 112 lbs. As he went along he added more victories and Championship belts to his illustrious career. He won his latest title in Super Welterweight Division at 154 lbs against Antonio Margarito. In his victories he blemished the records of distinguished boxers such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Manuel Cotto and Oscar de La Hoya the then Golden Boy of boxing.
Pacquiao has already cemented his legacy in boxing. He has beaten all of the best opponents lined up against him and he is considered as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still undefeated in the welterweight division. He can prove that he is the best in his weight division by fighting Pacquiao who is the hottest boxer today. His fight draws huge crowd and generates big revenue. Worthy challengers are hoping for a chance to fight against him for the prospect of big money and for the prestige of beating a boxing legend. Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto after their recent fights expressed their interest to fight Pacquiao in the near future.
I consider Ali and Pacquiao as two of the greatest boxers who ever climbed the ring. Ali was an outspoken boxer who badmouthed his opponents before and during the fight. That was why he was known in his heyday as the Louisville lips. His loud mouth, his good looks, his controversy in dodging the Viet Nam War and his association with controversial personalities only made the public curious about him. Controversy or no controversy Ali was a very good boxer. During his time the heavy weight was the most popular and exciting division and he personified boxing. His embarrassing loss to Holmes happened when he was already past his prime.
Along with De la Hoya and the boxing icons that he defeated, Pacquiao has shifted the interest of the boxing fans from the heavyweight to the lighter divisions. In addition, the heavyweight division lacks figures that are in the mold of Ali and the other former heavyweight greats to rekindle the fans’ interest. Pacquiao and company fill the void left by Ali with their exciting fights, and it is Manny Pacquiao who leads the way.
It’s difficult to make comparison between the two boxers because they fought in different eras and in different weight divisions. Ali was already heavyweight when he first entered the ring, and there was no higher division for him to fight in.
Pacquiao has the qualities that make a champion. His industriousness, his self discipline, his courage, his positive attitude, his gift for boxing and his faith in God have brought him to where he is today.
Based on my own subjective rating, I would say that Manny Pacquiao is a better boxer than Muhammad Ali in terms of boxing skill and accomplishments.