Re: Who has been Pacquiao's most "Prime" opponent?
Only dealing with quality world-class opponents he's fought, it'd be Sasakul, Ledwaba, Bradley, Marquez in fights 1 and 2, Barrera in the first fight, and Clottey. Hard to distinguish who was the "most prime" among those, even if some of those guys are clearly better than another (Marquez clearly being a better boxer than Clottey for instance).
Morales, Cotto, Hatton, Margarito, Mosley, De La Hoya, Marquez in the third fight, and Larios were not in their best forms. Some of them were just about done.
What leaves me with a bad taste regarding Pacquiao is that he was never able to clearly or emphatically distinguish himself from the best opponent he fought. Now that's not a bad thing as it's happened to a huge chunk of great fighters, but in each Marquez fight chronologically, Pacquiao was supposed to be improving his skills, maintaining his tenacity and athletic gifts, and had a higher standing on the P4P lists. Marquez was thought to be getting older, slowing down, and moving up in weight (which supposedly didn't suit him as well as Pacquiao). But in each successive fight, I've had Pacquiao winning fewer and fewer rounds and thought he performed worse. This speaks to Marquez's greatness and doesn't take away from Pacquiao being one of the very greatest fighters ever, but it's just really odd to me - and makes me wonder about Pacquiao's H2H ability in a slew of divisions in a historical sense. I think he's going to get outclassed pretty handily next week, too.