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Why Manny Pacquiao’s Claim to be an Eight Division Champion is Illegitimate

Why Manny Pacquiao is not an eight division champion
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 18: Manny Pacquiao takes a drink during a news conference at MGM Grand Garden Arena on August 18, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao will challenge WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas for his title at T-Mobile Arena on August 21 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

This article is not meant to denigrate Manny Pacquiao or his career; I just get tired of people comparing what he has accomplished title-wise to men like Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, etc. Today there are 68 “world” champions in 17 divisions, whereas there used to be eight true champions in eight weight classes. So let’s take a closer look at Pac-Man’s claim as an eighth-division world champion.

Flyweight (112lbs)

The claim here is not one of universal recognition, but there is an argument to be had, and the good folks support it over at The Cyber Boxing Zone, who have done a great job of leaving bias at home and worrying about “The Man Who Beat The Man.” The claim is that Sot Chitalada held the lineal championship, lost it to Yong-Kang Kim, regained it in a rematch, was beaten by Maungchai Kittikasem, who was stopped by Yuri Arbachakov, who was then dethroned by Chatchai Sasakul, who in turn was knocked out by a young Pacquiao in 1997.

Conclusion – Pacquiao was arguably the “True” Flyweight Champion of the World

Super Bantamweight(122lbs)

Pac owned the minor WBC international belt that he had won at 122 pounds. Clearly, this cannot be seen as legitimate. Pacquiao only held on to the IBF portion of the 122 titles, and he won this by defeating Lehlo Ledwaba. Although undefeated, Ledwaba had not defeated one elite fighter and, if I’m not mistaken, was not rated by The Ring. Pacquiao defended his super bantamweight belt a few times, but none were against the recognized champion (at least by The Ring), Paulie Ayala.

Conclusion – Pac was not the “True” Super Bantamweight Champion.


Featherweight (126lbs)

This is Pacquiao’s first undisputed claim as he beat the legendary Mexican fighter, Marco Antonio Barrera, via an eleventh-round stoppage/

Conclusion – Pac was the “True” Featherweight Champion of the World


Super Featherweight (130lbs)

Pacman staked his claim as the “true” champion here with a controversial decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez.

Conclusion- Pac was the “True” Super Featherweight Champion of the World


Lightweight (135lbs)

Pacquiao fought David Diaz, who was a partial titleholder and his best win was over a faded Erk Morales. However, this did not make Pacquiao the lightweight champion of the world.

Conclusion- Pac was not the “True” Lightweight Champion of the World.


Junior Welterweight (140lbs)

Pac’s two-round destruction of champion Ricky Hatton is more than enough to solidify his claim here.

Conclusion- Pac was the “True” Junior Welterweight Champion of the World


Welterweight (147lbs)

I think two wins over Timothy Bradley are enough to solidify his claim here. Transnational and The Cyber Boxing Zone would agree; The Ring, however, would not.

Conclusion- Pac was arguably the “True” Welterweight Champion of the World.


Junior Middleweight (154lbs)

The Filipino beat Antonio Margarito, who had beaten nobody good enough to be fighting for this title. Plus, the weight limit wasn’t even 154lbs.

Conclusion- Pac was not the “True” Jr. Middleweight Champion of the World.

At the end of the day, Manny Pacquiao inarguably held three True World Titles in three different divisions. But if you limit it to an era like Sugar Ray Robinson’s when only eight belts were available, Pacquiao held just one, possibly three, Original Eight title belts. Once again, this is not an article directed to make Pacquiao look bad; this article is to let you see the difference between a fighter like Sugar Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong as opposed to the crap we see today and how it is forced down our throats.

Pacquiao was a great fighter, and if he were competing in the Original Eight divisions when he was in his prime, he probably would have stayed at lightweight until he won the belt. Then he would have ended his career as a champion in two, maybe three different weight classes. But again, to claim he is the champion of eight different divisions is not true.

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