• Manny Pacquaio names toughest fighters he faced in his career
  • Pacquiao mentioned Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez in his list
  • Pacquiao said he could have been a 10-division world champion

It goes without saying that Manny Pacquiao has brought a different dimension to boxing during his heyday. With the combination of unparalleled offensive skills and a killer instinct, the Filipino icon has provided the sport and its fans a vast number of thrilling bouts, including rivalries that each made their separate marks in history.

The fighting Senator spoke to Manila Bulletin and bared the names of the fighters who gave him the worthiest challenges. Among them – unsurprisingly – are his Mexican featherweight rivals Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. He also mentioned Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, whom he faced as he hunted more titles in other weight classes.

Pacquiao had his share of defeats against Morales and Marquez. He absorbed a unanimous decision loss to “El Terrible” in their first meeting in 2005, whilst Marquez shocked the world in 2012 when he sent Pacman to the canvas out cold in round six of their fourth and last showdown.

The General Santos City-raised slugger, though, still ended up having their numbers.

Pacquiao would seize the next two fights of his trilogy against Morales in 2006 – the second one by virtue of a 10th round stoppage and the last being a short-lived encounter after the latter raised the white flag in less than three rounds.

Meanwhile, his record against Marquez stood at 2-1-1 as he got the better of two close calls after the second (split) and third (majority) fights. Of course, no one will ever forget the first time these arch-rivals met in the ring in 2004. The bout was infamously known as the fight where Pacquiao floored Marquez thrice in the first round, only to allow the Mexican to pick up the pace and recover late that led to a controversial draw finish.

The 41-year-old then described his experience fighting a much-bigger Margarito in 2010 as a “near-death experience”, attributing the same to what Muhammad Ali had to fight through facing Joe Frazier in their historic card in Manila, of all places, in 1975.

“He was just too big, too strong for me,” said Pacquiao. “I never realized how big and strong he was until I felt his punches.”

In the same interview, Pacquiao also rued his missed chance of having 10 division titles, citing that he should have fought for a world belt during his super-flyweight and bantamweight years.

“Imagine, I could have been a ten-division world champion if I fought (for a world title) at 115 (super-fly) and 118 (bantam).”

Erik Morales Manny Pacquiao
Erik Morales of Mexico (L) and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines pose following their official weigh-in at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 17, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The boxers will meet for the third time for a super featherweight bout on November 18, 2006. Ethan Miller/Getty Images