Polar Opposites: the smart bet is a Pacquiao points win
Floyd Mayweather, 38, is boxing’s brash and unbeaten egomaniac; the self-proclaimed TBE (The Best Ever), he is the master of defensive boxing. But to beat Manny Pacquiao, 36, the aggressive Filipino who fights for his people – Mayweather will have to get rough, dogged, and throw more punches.
“Floyd gotta fight the first couple of rounds, he gotta fight.” Says Mike Tyson, boxing’s youngest heavyweight world champion and a superb connoisseur of the sport.
“The only people who gave Pacquiao a hard time in his whole career are the people who threw over 100 punches per round, [Tim] Bradley, [Juan Manuel] Marquez – Floyd doesn’t throw anywhere near 100 punches per round.”
On May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the world will witness the fight of a century, a spectacle that was five years in waiting and is set to break all conceivable records known to the sport of boxing – it is likely to generate well over $400 million.
This is despite both fighters losing a spring in their step since the frenzied talk started five years ago for boxing’s top two pound-for-pound craftsmen to meet in a ring, this frustrated fans until the deal this year finally came to fruition.
Despite the eventful build up, we are likely to see the mega fight go to the judges’ scorecards.
Pacquiao hasn't knocked out an opponent since 2009 when he stopped a brave but bloody Miguel Cotto in round 12, while Mayweather hasn’t won by genuine knockout since Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton in 2007. This is discounting his sly and crude stoppage against Victor Ortiz in 2010, who Mayweather tricked and hit while Ortiz appealed to touch gloves.
The boxers opposing styles should steal it for the Filipino, an awkward southpaw who has one of boxing’s highest workrates – that held witness to his stomp five years ago when he punched his way north in weight categories baffling renowned and larger men.
Mayweather must throw more punches if he is to win this fight, and to get anywhere near his self-stated label TBE – a moniker that currently the history books and serious pundits are grinning at wildly – he must win clearly and in style.
In Mayweather’s last two fights he was pushed by the crude and one-dimensional Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana who charged and hunted Mayweather, often landing clean jabs in the centre of the ring and causing him trouble on the ropes with clubbing overhand punches.
Pacquiao is no Marcos Maidana, and it could be argued that the Filipino is now marginally faster by hand and foot.
In the lead up casual fight fans and experts may cite and picture Pacquiao lying face-flat on the canvass when in 2012 he was knocked out cold by future Hall of Famer Juan Manual Marquez – in a fight Pacquiao had started dominating after being floored early.
It’s an obvious picking point but styles make fights – and Pacquiao has made a solid comeback since that loss against various style boxers all in world title fights.
We are now five weeks away and both camps are indulging in the expected online propaganda clips – Mayweather handling sparring partners with ease, while Pacquiao shows off his rapid shadow boxing to the sound of a jackhammer.
One of Mayweather’s sparring partners, slick southpaw Zab Juddah, has reportedly dropped Mayweather this week, a claim Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe has denied.
Mayweather is the rightful odds on favourite, he’s unbeaten and usually finds a way to win – but the old boxing proverb styles make fights could see him slip up against his longtime nemesis Pacquiao unless he commits to let his hands go, and do less of what Tyson calls posing.
The smart bet is a Pacquiao split decision points win by the man the world will undoubtedly be cheering to upset the odds.