There is nothing trickier in the fight strategy business than an unorthodox fighter, also known affectionately as a southpaw. Throughout history there have been many but these elite few are truly the greatest in this category.
“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler
Ever heard of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin? Well if you have you know he’s a beast of a middleweight champion with the most title defenses and the highest KO percentage during his current WBA Middleweight Championship reign. However, he only holds this one title.
Newark, New Jersey’s own Marvin Hagler is widely considered the best southpaw in history as the Undisputed Middleweight World Champion from 1980-1987. After twelve undisputed title defenses over 6 years and twelve months (second longest after Tony Zale) with a 78% knockout percentage, Hagler was the real deal.
Hagler faced a tough time in his march towards the belt. It took him a lengthy 4 years and 37 opponents before he faced and beat Willie Monroe in 2 round at The Spectrum in Philadelphia before winning his first minor belt, the North American Middleweight title.
Finally after another 2 years he faced Vito Antuofermo for the WBC, WBA & The Ring Middleweight title. It resulted in a draw at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and when Antuofermo lost the title to Alan Minter, Hagler met him at Wembley Arena in London a year later winning by 3rd round and cementing the next seven years of the 80’s as boxing most prolific era.
Hagler retired in 1987 after a controversial split decision loss to “Sugar” Ray Leonard in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker
Today’s defensive man of the year will always go to the unblemished Floyd “Money” Mayweather, but yesterday’s defensive titan was always southpaw Pernell Whitaker.
The Norfolk, Virginia native and 1984 Lightweight Olympic gold medalist had a professional career that saw him become champion in 4 different weight classes. He is one of the most decorated lightweights in history winning the WBA, WBC, IBF and NABF Lightweight Championships.
Like “Money” Mayweather, whose uncle Roger Mayweather was bested by Whitaker for the NABF Lightweight title in 1987, Whitaker was not an over powering puncher or offensive technician but his counter-punch and ability to slip past his opponents punching power was supreme.
Whitaker ended his professional career in 2001 after three back-to-back losses and a No Contest WBA Welterweight eliminator, where a No Decision was placed after Whitaker tested positive for cocaine. He has trained Zab Judah and other since his exodus from the squared circle.
Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao
Not much has been heard from Pacquiao since losing to Floyd Mayweather this past May, but that doesn't remove him from this list of the greatest southpaws in boxing history.
Manny Pacquiao, at 36 years of age, has amassed a record of 57-6-2 while winning multiple titles (8) including the WBO Welterweight Championship and the WBC World Lightweight Championship. He as also secured victories over a list of highly respected and well known names including Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
He has been able to make the climb through multiple weight classes, beating his opponents with his explosive speed and devastating punching power. And with the help of Freddie Roach, Pacquiao, who made his professional debut at the age of 16 against Edmund Enting Ignacio on January 25th, 1995, is a sure lock for the boxing Hall Of Fame when the time comes.
Mexican boxer, Vicente Saldivar was an animal in the ring, known for his usage of a one-two combination with extremely bad intentions. He was the prototype relentless Mexican fighter, using a body attack to weaken his foes before finishing them off later in the fight.
Saldivar scored his signature victory in 1964 when he defeated future Hall of Fame inductee and fellow Mexican Sugar Ramos. He lost twice late in his career after coming back from a brief retirement.
He finished his career with a record of 37-3 with 26 KO's. He was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Hector “Macho” Camacho
He was the first boxer to win titles in seven divisions, a feat that is impressive and damn near impossible, all while bedazzling his fans with the regalia of showmanship.
Boasting wins over “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran, two of boxing’s greatest nemesis, Camacho also fought Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya. Camacho won his last titles as late as 2008 when he beat Perry Ballard via TKO in the seventh round for the WBF International and WBE Junior Middleweight Championship.
Unfortunately, the end was not a smooth one as he was arrested numerous times before being murdered in 2012. He ended his career with a record of 78-6-3 and he'll always be a hero to the Boriqua community.