Add another accolade for Manny Pacquiao.
The venerable bible of boxing the Ring Magazine recently released the list of the best 100 boxers in its almost a century of monthly ranking the finest fighters in each of the original and later expanded weight classes and now retired legend Pacquiao finished in top ten while the still active Nonito Donaire nearly made it to the top 60.
Pacquiao, the only fighter to win eight division world championships in his nearly three decades of professional boxing career was rated #9 in an exclusive list compiled by Ring Magazine columnist and respected boxing historian Cliff Rold.
Though the Ring clarified that this is not a list of best fighters ever, many or most recognized as such are included in the milestone list marking the highly authoritative boxing Magazine’s centenary.
How exclusive is this list? Sandy Saddler did not make it because he failed to figure in as many fights and wins versus fellow Ring rated foes while Jack Dempsey hardly made it as he was at the tail-end of his career during the reckoning period.
The fighting Senator is in the lofty group headed by #1 Sugar Ray Robinson, #2 Joe Louis, #3 Muhammad Ali, #4 Tony Canzoneri and #5 Emille Griffith, most of whom started and established their careers as elite fighters earlier and had longer fight resume.
Also in top ten are #6 Floyd Mayweather Jr, Pacquiao’s main contemporary rival, #7 Willie Pep, #8 Ezzard Charles and #10 Archie Moore, Only Ali, Pacquiao and Mayweather who retired undefeated after 50 bouts, fought less than 100 fights among the group.
The Filipino icon cracked Ring Magazine top 10s in four different decades from the 1990s to the 2020s with wins over reigning champions or opponents ranked in the top two of every weight class he competed in from flyweight to welterweight.
Already with more than twenty fights since turning pro in 1995, Pacquiao first entered the Ring Rating in Jabuary 1999 rated #1 at flyweight and retired in December 2021 as #5 at welterweight. Pacquiao who retired with an overall ledger of 62 wins, 8 losses and 2 draws had a record of 23 wins, 11 by KO, 7 losses, 2 by KO and 2 draws against Ring-rated opponents.
The Ring citation read:
“Pacquiao entered the rankings winning his first major title at age 19 with a come-from-behind knockout of Chatchai Sasakul. While Pacquiao was widely unknown when he received his second title shot against Lehlo Ledwaba at junior featherweight, it’s easy to overlook that he was a fixture in The Ring’s junior featherweight top 10 for almost two years prior to the fight. He would never be unknown by anyone again.
“Along with Ring Magazine titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and junior welterweight, Pacquiao also achieved No. 1-contender rankings at junior featherweight and welterweight along with a No. 1 ranking at flyweight in the era when The Ring did not recognize singular champions.
“Pacquiao couldn’t solve the riddle of Mayweather in the richest fight of all time, but several multi-fight rivalries magnified the greatness of Pacquiao. He topped Tim Bradley in two of their three fights. In nine fights against the Mexican trio of Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao was an impressive 6-2-1 and rebounded from a devastating knockout loss to Marquez in the last of those fights to add seven more wins over ranked opponents before what appears to be his farewell loss to Yordenis Ugas.
Pacquiao is one of the most decorated fighters in history and the highest-finishing southpaw in this study. Combining sanctioning body and lineal and/or Ring championships, Pacquiao is the only fighter with title claims in eight weight classes. Antonio Margarito was not ranked by The Ring in the top 10 at junior middleweight when Pacquiao defeated him at a catchweight for a belt in that class but had been a fixture in the welterweight top 10 for nearly a decade. Had The Ring maintained its title policy through the 1990s, Pacquiao would likely have a fourth Ring title at flyweight for his win over Sasakul. Sasakul was “the man who beat the man” dating back to Miguel Canto ( in the 70s).”
Meanwhile, Donaire who is still active and may yet to improve on his future ranking in this regard, leads a distinguished group at #61-70 that included in their respective order of ranking Felix Trinidad, also still active Gennedy Golovkin, Jack Sharkey, Ruben Olivares, Manuel Ortiz, Max Roseunbloom, Tommy Loughran, Kid Gavilan and Kostya Tzsyu.
A four division world champion gunning for a fifth before he retires, Donaire (41-6) is thus far 13 wins, 9 by KO against 5 defeats including 1 by KO against fellow Ring rated opponents. He first entered the Ring Rating in 2007 as flyweight following his win over Vic Darchinyan.