I’ve heard it said that he’s never looked better or been more confident. I’ve read that he has the ideal style to beat Floyd Mayweather 47-0 (26). Some have implied and inferred that Mayweather hasn’t agreed to fight him because he fears being knocked out by him. Despite the inconvenient fact that he couldn’t put away a beginner like Chris Algieri in his last bout after having him down six times and he hasn’t won by stoppage in five years. Yes, I’m talking about WBO welterweight title holder Manny Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38).
It’s over three weeks since Pacquiao fought Chris Algieri in a 144 pound catch-weight bout. The fight was no contest; Manny won every round and did whatever he wanted to during the fight. His speed and accuracy were there, so was some of the old explosiveness and obviously his power. He did put Algieri down six times and Chris certainly wasn’t hitting himself. What’s shocking is how after dominating Algieri, who would probably lose to half a dozen other fighters between 140/147, Pacquiao is once again seen in many eyes as the supernova he was back in 2009, when he stopped Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.
Floyd Mayweather has been excoriated for fighting hand-picked opponents and being too risk averse in the last five years, especially in this space. And Mayweather has been dominant in most of those bouts where you/me/we belabored him for fighting opponents who would make him look sensational. Yet, Manny Pacquiao can fight Chris Algieri, who I questioned before the fight as being PPV worthy, something the terrible buy numbers supported, and he gets major props for winning every round against him?
At first I thought Pacquiao beating Algieri didn’t fool anybody, but I think I was wrong. You’d think that the lousy PPV numbers would suggest that the public knew it wasn’t much of a fight. And that winning a decision, when he really needed a knockout, and didn’t get it over a novice wouldn’t restore the public’s sense that Pacquiao is now a killer again. But apparently it has?
I tried to explain before the bout how Pacquiao-Algieri was specifically made to create the illusion that Manny is back now and is as good as and smarter than ever. And you know what? Based on what’s scoured in the sports section of many newspapers and on the Internet, they were more successful than I thought they’d be. Because it seems Manny went from being the prohibitive underdog when matched up with Mayweather after being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez two years ago, to now being almost even money based on him taking Chris Algieri to boxing school last month.
Based on the consensus, Pacquiao gets some breaks that Mayweather would never get in the eyes of the boxing public. And since 2009 I’ve maintained and have been consistent that Mayweather-Pacquiao hasn’t happened because of Mayweather’s reluctance more so than Pacquiao’s. Ever since the talk of them fighting each other became a hot topic, it’s been mostly because of Floyd why it didn’t happen. And I still stand by that.
But what’s fair is fair… I wonder how well Mayweather would’ve been received if he signed to fight Algieri and beat him as handily as Pacquiao did?
For starters, Floyd would’ve been excoriated by both boxing fans and the media for fighting a no hope opponent like Chris Algieri. Leading up to the fight we would’ve read about how Algieri barely beat Ruslan Provodnikov and the fight is just another hoax by Mayweather to pocket $30 million and avoid fighting Pacquiao.
Let us suppose that it was Mayweather who peppered Algieri for 36 uninterrupted minutes on November 23rd instead of Pacquiao, which of course isn’t much of reach. What would the post-fight chatter be? I can only speculate, but I’d be willing to bet that the loudest voices wouldn’t be declaring that Floyd is back and is as sharp as ever. Nor would the talk be centered on how quick and accurate he is and how impossible it is to lay a glove on, and you know I’m right. I think it would be more on the lines of, “Mayweather fought Algieri because he knew he couldn’t lose and how it says nothing as to how great he still is because he handled a beginner like Algieri.” And then every name fighter campaigning between 140-147 who was more deserving and dangerous than Algieri would be named and suggested as that’s who Floyd should’ve fought instead. And if that were the case, they’d be correct.
So why does Pacquiao get a pass?
For more than a decade critics and fans have ripped Mayweather up and down, and rightfully so, for being too judicious and fighting no hope opponents who resembled Algieri. Or to put it another way, for fighting and defending his titles against opponents who didn’t have tool-one to beat him with. The opponents he fought were either too old or too green (like Algieri), or they just didn’t have the skill or power (like Algieri) to concern Mayweather in the least.
I can’t envision a case being made on Mayweather’s behalf suggesting or reinforcing that he could beat Pacquiao based on how Floyd performed against Algieri had they fought. All that would be repeated over and over to rebuke that is, Algieri is inexperienced and Mayweather only did what he should’ve done against a limited opponent at the most elite level in professional boxing. And that’s all that Pacquiao did! And actually, Manny underperformed because he didn’t get the stoppage or come close to the first round kayo that his trainer Freddie Roach predicted he would score.
The overreaction to Pacquiao’s showing against Algieri is ridiculous. Maybe you are one who believes that Pacquiao will beat Mayweather when they eventually fight… fine. I happen to think Floyd will beat Manny and control the fight most of the way for reasons I’ll go into at a later time when the bout is closer to becoming a reality. That said, I fully get that there is a strong case to be made supporting why Pacquiao will come out on top. Again, I get it.
However, if you believe Pacquiao is the superior fighter to Mayweather and will be victorious when they fight, great. Just don’t base it on how Manny looked for 12 rounds against Chris Algieri. Because that was an illusion with the purpose of making you believe that Manny is as good as ever in case you were starting to wane in that belief. Algieri is nothing close to Mayweather and is a completely different animal. What afforded Pacquiao to look great against Algieri won’t apply to Mayweather. And the same holds true regarding Mayweather and how he looked against Marcos Maidana. Pacquiao is nothing like Maidana.
And to those who are basing everything off of how Mayweather looked against Maidana as to why Pacquiao will beat him, especially during their first meeting, remember, Maidana came in for that fight weighing over 160 pounds. That was Floyd’s biggest mistake. Pacquiao has to bulk up to weigh 145. And Maidana is much more aggressive than Pacquiao, and his aggression disrupted Floyd stylistically. Pacquiao attacks more in spurts so Mayweather’s legs, if they’re starting to go, won’t be nearly as important against Pacquiao because Manny isn’t as aggressive and he’ll be easier to time and counter than Maidana was.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com