It’s been said here since Manny Pacquiao devastated Ricky Hatton in two rounds back in May of 2009 that we’ll definitely see him and Floyd Mayweather fight before either retires. That happens tonight. It’s also been said in this space that the fight will only be made once Mayweather thinks it’s the right time for both business reasons and also when the in ring match-up best favors him, which apparently he thinks is tonight.
And the thing I’ve probably harped on most was this: when the fight is over Mayweather will still be undefeated.
If you’re picking Manny Pacquiao to beat Floyd Mayweather tonight, in my opinion you’ll be disappointed tomorrow. Then again as the great Roberto Duran recently said, “Remember in life anyone can be fooled, so they could fool me.” So maybe I’ve been fooled, and like everyone else it certainly won’t be the first or the last time when it comes to picking fights correctly. And as much as I would like to be proven wrong tomorrow as far as picking the winner goes, I don’t think that’ll be the case.
And here’s why:
Mayweather accepted the fight. And to me that only happens under two conditions and they both had to be met and in play……1) Floyd feels the time is right and he no longer just thinks he can beat Pacquiao, he now knows it. Remember, he could’ve made this fight anytime he wanted to after 2009. Granted, he may not be at his absolute best but Manny has declined more rapidly than Floyd has. And I believe Mayweather not only knew that would eventually be the case, he counted on it. Therefore it is he, not Les Moonves or anyone else who decided the time to go forth with a fight that should’ve been realized in 2010, is now……2) Mayweather has called the shots most of the way as to the terms of the bout regarding drug testing, purse split, and some even believe referee Kenny Bayless is more inclined to break the fighters up sooner and prevent in-fighting, which in one of Pacquiao’s strengths. Let’s be honest, Mayweather has never gone into a major fight in which there wasn’t something tilting the field of play in his favor. So if you forget about the actual ring combat for a moment, all signs point to Floyd. The fact alone that Mayweather OK’d the fight should scare the hell out of you if you’re betting on Pacquiao.
The in-ring combat and style clash:
I’ve read for the better part of the last two years that Mayweather’s legs are gone and how Pacquiao has the more judge friendly style of fighting. To that I say, yes, and it won’t matter regarding his legs being gone – and as far as the more judge friendly style, Pacquiao will not have that going for him when he touches gloves with Mayweather tonight. And probably the most overlooked thing regarding the two fighters is; Mayweather is clearly the bigger man. Don’t be surprised by how much bigger Mayweather is when they are standing face to face during the referees final instructions. Floyd’s size advantage will be a factor in the outcome because it truly takes a toll on the smaller fighter who has to attack the bigger fighter, especially when their skill sets are equal.
As for the case pertaining to Mayweather’s legs, he no longer moves and uses them like he used to. He’s now filled out and is very physically strong. Look how he handled strong powerful hitters like Miguel Cotto, Saul Alverez and Marcos Maidana. He held his ground and actually won many exchanges with them while his feet were planted and with his back against the ropes.
Pacquiaio will lose because Mayweather holds the style advantage. Manny is not a fighter who applies bell-to-bell sustained pressure like a vintage Roberto Duran used against Sugar Ray Leonard the first time they fought. Thus Mayweather will not be forced to do much of what he doesn’t want to do. Manny’s pressure comes in spurts and waves. Mayweather will be able to time him and counter Pacquiao’s aggression and attacks with his accurate and straight punching. Which leads to another problem for Pacquiao, which is Manny is easy to hit these days and has been prone to fighting more upright than when he used to come in low. If Pacquiao is getting hit cleanly as he’s attempting to bring it to Mayweather, his aggression will be blunted and stymied along with him being knocked out of punching range. This in turn will cause him to come up short with the meaningful shots he’ll be looking to send Mayweather’s way. Thus he’ll have to start all over again working his way in, and most like he’ll be blunted at the front door again. And while he’s looking for the side door Mayweather will score.
Pretty soon the round will be over and Mayweather will have landed the more telling and memorable punches during it to carry the round. And as the fight progresses the better Mayweather’s read on Pacquiao will become and the more upright Manny will start to get during his runs at Floyd. With that pattern unfolding Pacquiao will need to turn the fight with one punch. And therein lies another problem for Pacquiao. And that is he doesn’t have the single shot power to freeze Mayweather with one punch, which is mostly all that he’ll get, to the point to where Floyd is momentarily defenseless and vulnerable to Pacquiao going in and really pushing him to the edge of the cliff.
The same thing applied to Marvin Hagler when he fought Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987. Hagler was successful from time to time nailing Leonard with his Sunday best, but he never could hurt Ray enough to the point to where he lost his senses and wasn’t able to either move away, flurry back or tie Hagler up. And that was a big factor as to why Leonard was so effective boxing Hagler – because he never really was hurt or under duress. I see Pacquiao having the same problem with Mayweather tonight, never being able to hurt him enough to where Floyd is momentarily defenseless and vulnerable.
Manny cannot and will not beat Floyd by playing the wait and then react game. He’s got to jump on him and give Mayweather no choice but to have to fight him off. Manny has to answer every Floyd shot with two of his own…..My fear is he’ll get hit too cleanly trying to do it. Pacquiao is not a good defensive fighter, his offense is his defense, and I think in this case, his offense can lead him to getting hit too squarely by Mayweather from outside before he can get going. So if you take into account Mayweather’s size advantage, that he’ll be able to live with Pacquiao’s sporadic pressure and he’ll have no trouble hitting Manny before he gets off with anything big – in addition to not being hurt to the point during the bout to where he can’t recover, Mayweather wins the fight.
On Sunday morning May 3rd 2015 Floyd Mayweather will be 48-0 and will have become the sixth professional fighter to have done what five other fighters have done, defeat Manny Pacquiao.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com