After years of relishing the prospect of stepping into the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao will finally get his wish on Saturday night when the two face each other at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
As we build up to the showdown in Nevada, Sports Mole takes a look back at the last five matches involving Pacquiao, who will be looking to defend his WBO welterweight title as well as attempting to inflict the first defeat of Mayweather's professional career.
1. Timothy Bradley
After failing to secure the Mayweather fight, Pacquiao soon secured a new opponent in unbeaten American Timothy Bradley. After a three-year reign as world champion at 140lbs, 'Desert Storm' was making the step up for his first bout in the higher weight class, and while he was expected to pose a significant threat to Pacquiao, the defending champion was backed to emerge with the win.
However, despite Pacquiao seemingly dominating the fight, Bradley was awarded a shock points triumph. Pacquiao appeared to have won at least eight of the 12 rounds, but it was Bradley who won by split decision, with two judges scoring the contest 115-113 in his favour with the other giving Pacquiao a 115-113 verdict.
Pacquiao took the defeat graciously, but the result was widely criticised by the boxing fraternity. After a review, a panel of WBO Championship Committee judges all scored the match in favour of Pacquiao. The result couldn't be changed though, and Pacquiao was left without a world title and further away from his dream fight.
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2. Juan Manuel Marquez IV
After a trilogy of fights had thrown up a mixture of excitement and controversy, a deal was agreed for Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to meet for a fourth time in Las Vegas. Pacquiao had two victories and a draw to his name, but none of the results was clear-cut, with the Mexican arguably having done enough to win their first meeting and had a case for gaining the decision in their following two encounters.
The fourth helping of Pacquiao and Marquez is regarded as the most enthralling, though. The opening two rounds were relatively quiet but in the third, Pacquiao was dropped by an overhand right. In the fifth, the Filipino recovered and knocked Marquez down with a straight left, but after rising to his feet, Marquez traded blows with his opponent before completing a round that would be go down as the best of the year.
Pacquiao was marginally ahead on the scorecards, but at the end of the sixth, a stanza he was about to win, Pacquiao was caught by a thunderous right hand by Marquez as he ploughed forward. It was a punch that brought an immediate halt to the fight and saw Pacquiao knocked out for the first time in 13 years. It was a stunning conclusion to an edge-of-your-seat encounter, and his second successive setback left Pacquiao contemplating his next step.
3. Brandon Rios
After almost a year away from the ring, Pacquiao returned to go up against former lightweight world champion Brandon Rios, who was competing in his first fight at 147lbs. Pacquiao dedicated the Macau bout to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which had caused widespread devastation in the Philippines earlier in the month.
Despite back-to-back defeats, Pacquiao was expected to come through with flying colours and he did just that in an almost punch-perfect boxing display that saw Rios outclassed from the opening round. To his credit, the American battled on valiantly under fierce punishment from Pacquiao, but while he earned respect for his performance, there was no doubting the final outcome.
The three judges awarded the fight to Pacquiao by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 respectively, and soon after the match, Pacquiao stated his desire to secure a rematch with Bradley, who had successfully defended his world title against Ruslan Provodnikov and Marquez since his infamous win over Pacquiao in the summer of 2012.
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4. Timothy Bradley II
It wasn't long before a deal was struck between the two camps and Bradley against Pacquiao was set for April 12, 2014 at the MGM Grand, the venue of their first contest. Bradley was the unbeaten champion, but many critics had Pacquiao as the clear favourite to avenge his previous loss to the American.
In the pre-fight build-up, Bradley had questioned the hunger of Pacquiao but he soon found himself drawn into a fast-paced battle and after the opening half of the bout, it was evident that Pacquiao had frustrated Bradley and was ahead on the scorecards. A stoppage didn't look likely but the challenger was the stronger man throughout and just like in their first match, it appeared as though he would win comfortably via the judges.
This time around, there was no mistake as Pacquiao was given the verdict by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 respectively. The performance not only saw him regain the WBO title, but also put the Mayweather fight back on the table if their dispute could be resolved.
5. Chris Algieri
Instead of Mayweather, a fight with Chris Algieri materialised for Macau at the end of 2014. The American had won the WBO light-welterweight belt off Provodnikov and after deciding to step up in weight, he was due an opportunity to fight for the belt. Some had felt that Algieri had been fortunate to survive two knockdowns to beat Provodnikov, and he wasn't given much of a chance of upsetting Pacquiao on his return to Macau.
What transpired was a one-sided beatdown as Pacquiao powered to a lopsided victory. Like in his win over Rios, there was a huge gulf in class and although Algieri would make the final bell, he hit the canvas on six occasions. A slip contributed to two of the knockdowns but there was no doubting that the challenger was out of his depth against an opponent who looked motivated to make a statement ahead of 2015.
The scorecards read 120-102, 119-103 and 119-103 in favour of the 36-year-old, and after the fight, he soon set his sights on Mayweather, who was still looking for an opponent for May. After prolonged negotiations, an agreement was finally reached and Pacquiao has his opportunity to dethrone his long-time rival from his position as pound-for-pound king.