Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Can Yin Take Yang?

mike 'shotgun' towleCorrespondent IMay 8, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MAY 02:  Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. answers questions during a news conference announcing his return to the ring and his upcoming fight against Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico on July 18 during the news conference at the Hollywood Theatre in the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino May 2, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather has not boxed since his bout against Ricky Hatton of England in December 2007.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Get in while the gettin's good. I better write my Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. prediction before the whole subject is in overkill.

Funny thing is, overkill won't apply to this subject until about one or two years after the fight!

Here's what I'm basing my prediction on: style, speed, and, to a lesser extent, power.

I don't believe that Mayweather has such a huge advantage on Pacquiao, if any, in the power department. Yes, he can knock opponents out. But it just hasn't been his thing in the higher weight classes.

He prefers to feel out his opponent, waiting, watching, and baiting them into ambushes, where he hits in a flurry and jumps out. He prefers to win on the scorecards.

If Mayweather were a basketball player, he'd be the type to get his defender in foul trouble, score a ton of points at the free throw line, and, when they're in foul trouble, he'd pounce, taking over the game. 

Mayweather's low punch output—combined with Pacquiao's quick feet, south-paw stance, solid chin, constant movement, and three-time coach of the year—tell me "Pacman" wouldn't be in for a knock out.

Besides all that, Mayweather's got a history of hand-break problems, which make him sometimes hesitant to throw the bombs.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, loves to unleash the heavy artillery. His hands have a history of head-break problems.

Could his hands break Floyd Jr.'s head? I don't think so. But I might be wrong.

There are a lot of Pacman fans and converts out there who, after his latest win, would expect a knockout against an elephant. He might get it, too! But Mayweather's got better head movement than ol' Dumbo. Even if he can't fly quite the same, he floats pretty nice.

What I would expect from Pacman is to be on the attack, yes, but ever so cautiously.

I can't say for sure, since Freddie Roach is a better joke-coach than I'll ever be, always with some clever gimmick strategy in his hat. But Pacquiao will fight to his strengths.

I do believe Pacman is faster than Mayweather. If he's not faster, he's at least as fast, which is faster than Mayweather's ever faced, and that includes the foot speed.

Manny is never in the same place, constantly bouncing around, making for a very tough target.

In his first fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, he only moved forward. By the second fight, he showed great improvement, moving in and out of range quite well, holding his own as a boxer, rather than just a slugger.

I expect against Mayweather he will again show continued improvement in this area.

Physically, he's shown he can bang body to body with a world-class banger in Hatton, and not be bothered. His frame these days seems more chiseled out of boulder than carved from bamboo.

Mayweather never attempted to wear down Hatton with wrestling and holding, and I don't suppose he'd try it with Pacquiao, either. He's slick, and proud of it.

One thing I'm interested to see is how Mayweather's shoulder-roll-type defense will work against Pacman's southpaw stance.

Unless he makes adjustments to it, I assume it'll put him at a disadvantage. His face and right hand will be right in the path of a Pacquiao straight-left. Even after slipping the left, he won't be able to counter as freely, since the same targets won't be there.

"Pretty Boy" Floyd is smarter than me, so I'll leave that question up to him to solve. I'm just saying I'm curious.

Giving Mayweather the respect he deserves, I don't see Pacquiao knocking him out, unless he has serious ring rust. But with his slow, conservative, analytical approach to fights, Mayweather ain't knocking Pacquiao out, either.

He's too busy thinking.

This fight would go to the cards, and Pacman would win because he stayed busier the whole fight, gave Pretty Boy a bit of trouble with his blazing speed, southpaw stance, and harder-than-expected hits.

And, most importantly, Pacquiao gets the decision because Mayweather waited too long to get off, and ran out of time. The Pacman ain't that generous. If you ain't punching, he is.