Manny Pacquiao is no longer the best fighter in the world, according to ESPN boxing analyst Kieran Mulvaney.
Mulvaney said Pacquiao was far from his best when he fought and defeated Mexican challenger Juan Manuel Marquez in a controversial majority decision win that stirred debate in boxing circles.
The analyst said Pacquiao’s lackluster performance showed that he is no longer at the top of his game and that his rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr., is the true best fighter in the world.
“In some ways, the biggest winner on Saturday night wasn’t even in the building,” Mulvaney said, referring to the undefeated Mayweather.
“Seeing Pacquiao struggle and at times, look lost against a 38-year-old adversary whom many believed he would walk through, how many people still truly believe that Pacquiao would beat Mayweather?” he added.
In ESPN’s and The RING’s pound-for-pound ratings, Pacquiao and Mayweather are current number 1 and 2, respectively. But Mulvaney expects this to change soon.
“Right now, there’s no real debate. Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” Mulvaney said.
Filipino boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz, however, says that assessment is unfair to Pacquiao.
“He’s number one, he’s pound-for-pound king. He didn’t lose,” Nathanielsz told abs-cbnNEWS.com. “That’s not the way the pound-for-pound (ratings) operate. You got to beat the guy on top. He didn’t lose, he remains there.”
Mayweather had fought Marquez in 2009, dominating him through 12 rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Nathanielsz says, however, that the Mayweather-Marquez fight and the Pacquiao-Marquez fight were very different.
“You never compare boxing, like A beat B, and B beat C, therefore A beats C,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
“The only way to settle it is to fight,” Nathanielsz added.
In a separate interview with ANC’s Headstart, Nathanielsz said Pacquiao has the ability beat Mayweather, but only if he trains the way he did for his bouts against Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton.
Pacquiao sent de la Hoya to retirement after beating him up for 8 rounds, and then demolished Hatton in 2 rounds.
“If Pacquiao gets the right training, no distractions, no hangers-on, no endorsements, none of the stupid things that go on around him, he can beat Mayweather,” Nathanielsz said.