Mayweather v Pacquiao
Finally it’s arrived…..Mayweather v Pacquiao, the biggest fight of this generation between the two best fighters of their time is near.
Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao are certainties for the Hall of Fame regardless of what happens on Saturday night but just as Sugar Ray Leonard is almost always elevated above Marvin Hagler because he won that belated showdown, so winning this is the thing.
There is much of Leonard in Mayweather of course as an extraordinary, natural athlete as well as a PR and marketing marvel.
Mayweather is probably as good a boxer as Leonard but he’s not half the fighter Leonard was and much less of that than Hagler too.
Mayweather’s latest incarnation as ‘TBE’ (The Best Ever) is a neat piece of sellable branding and fits somewhat better on a baseball cap than ‘The Best Entrepreneur’ or indeed ‘The Biggest Ego.’
Still, Mayweather is very, very good and can rightly claim “This Boxing, Easy!”.
It’s far from that of course because the “Hard work, dedication” mantra which has become sound bite for Mayweather and cheerleaders is actually a truth as real as his talent.
He doesn’t get luckier the harder he practices because there is a complimentary relationship between the two. Above all though Mayweather (1.55) is talent and quite simply, he’s better than Manny Pacquiao (3.25).
Freddie Roach though feels he has the game plan to unsettle Mayweather with his near miss alongside Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 the blueprint.
Roach believes Pacquiao can outwork Mayweather, particularly when he’s backed up against the ropes. There’s no doubt that Pacquiao will be the fastest fighter Mayweather has faced since Zab Judah, the angles of attack more varied and dangerous perhaps than any previous rival. Pacquiao has the style to trouble Mayweather.
Roach concedes that Pacquiao isn’t quite so ferocious since he found God and he’s gone the distance (5.80 DEC/TD) in seven of eight bouts stretching back to the final minute of his stoppage victory against Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Pacquiao has faced some reluctant dance partners in Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri since then while he battered Antonio Margarito, so he hasn’t had the opportunity to express himself in that way. But it’s unlikely he’ll get the openings (7.80 KO/TKO/DQ) against Mayweather either.
If Pacquiao is to win this, he may have to accept that he’s unlikely to hurt Mayweather. The fight has to revolve around accumulating points, minute-by-minute, each round as it comes.
If he fights like that and in a similar manner to the way he did against Rios, blitzing in, to the side and out of range, then the dream could become reality. “I want him to fight the perfect fight, I think he has to to win”, Freddie Roach said recently.
Certainly Manny won’t be able to force the action in quite the same way as De La Hoya given that fight was at 154lbs and Mayweather is notably bigger than Pacquiao.
Still, Mayweather is a counter-puncher and will relish Pacquiao coming to him even though we expect Floyd to spend less time on the ropes than usual and more in the centre of the ring. Ceding too much ground to a pressure fighter like Pacquiao is a dangerous strategy where scorecards are concerned.
Don’t rule out a close, controversial decision either way. Mayweather doesn’t stop opponents any more (7.80 KO/TKO/DQ), just his controversial sucker-punch stoppage of Victor Ortiz slumps on the record in more than seven years, so this fight looks nailed on to go the distance (1.39) (1.89 DEC/TD Mayweather).
Manny Pacquiao’s legendary trainer Freddie Roach has assessed his man’s tactics for the Fight of the Century against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Mayweather’s legs are shot, he can’t move like he used to,
“You saw it twice last year where he wasn’t the crowd pleaser.
“He has to exchange punches more – as long as we can hit him and then move, he can’t touch us.”
The Pacman lost his own aura of invincibility when he was knocked down twice by Juan Manuel Marquez six months after losing his WBO World title to Timothy Bradley, and most believe that with Mayweather calling the shots in the promotion of the fight he will be too strong in this one.
But those defeats were back in 2012, and have been put right since as the Filipino star took on board the lessons that he couldn’t afford to be in less than peak condition when he got in the ring. The dazzling hand speed and stylish movement was all there again when he beat Chris Algieri last November.
Pacquiao’s preparation for this fight has been impeccable, and his tactics are clearly laid out. “I’m not really looking for a knock-out,” he said before boarding the luxury coach that moved his training camp from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
“I’m looking for throwing a lot of punches, and also making sure that every round we’re ahead on points.” If that’s his plan, then Pacquiao by a decision at 6.00 simply has to be the best value bet when Saturday night turns into Sunday morning and the fight we’ve spent five years waiting for finally happens.
The idea that Mayweather should be such a short price ignores a crucial two-year difference in the ages of the fighters.
At 38 there has to come a point when time and living an extravagant life of fast cars and excessive spending catches up with Mayweather.
There are some things even his money can’t buy, and staving off the advancing years is one of them.
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After years of calling each other out, Mayweather and Pacquiao will finally go toe-to-toe in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning.
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