Although it is not etched in stone yet, the probability of the most anticipated fight since Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad happening is very good, according to recent reports.
There have been a number of great fights throughout the years, but few come close to the drama and storylines that this fight provides.
I can’t remember a fight of this magnitude, involving two fighters who are so different from each other in so many aspects. You have arguably the most arrogant and talkative fighter facing the most humble fighter in the sport.
Also, has there ever been a bout between the best defensive fighter and most feared offensive fighter who are both also considered as the best pound for pound fighter? The only matchup that might come close is the first bout between Ali and Frazier.
But was Joe Frazier considered the most feared and best pound for pound fighter at the time? George Foreman was probably feared more than Frazier as he was knocking guys out left and right during that time.
What makes the fight more fascinating is that this is not your typical fight between a pure boxer and a slugger. Both possess extraordinary athleticism and are complete fighters in their own way. It’s not a light hitting Pernell Whitaker against a slow Julio Cesar Chavez.
There is also a sense of irony when you analyze their career. Pacquiao keeps on surpassing all the expectations bestowed upon him and has arguably reached the greatness many expected from Mayweather. Mayweather’s career and greatness, on the other hand, seems to have reached a plateau because of the decisions he has made.
Just imagine the story lines preceding the fight. The 24/7 episodes might attract more viewers than most pay per view fights in recent years.
This matchup reminds me of a Rocky movie. You have an arrogant, flashy, and talented fighter going against a fighter who came from nowhere to achieve greatness that many did not expect from him. There's no doubt that this fight will be talked about for years to come, even if it doesn't live up to the hype.
Now let us analyze the popular opinions from both fighters’ loyal and boisterous fans.
Mayweather can only win via a decision.
Mayweather may not be a puncher of the caliber of Cotto or Mosley, but he does have some pop to go along with unbelievable hand speed. The main reason he hasn’t knocked out more people is because of his safety first style. If Pacquiao discounts Floyd’s power and becomes too reckless, then he might be a victim of his own medicine via a punch he didn’t see coming courtesy of Floyd’s lightning fast hands.
Mayweather can easily outbox Pacquiao all 12 rounds en route to a convincing decision victory.
It’s often stated that Morales’ win and Marquez’s competitive fights against Pacquiao provided the blueprint to defeat Pacquiao. But why has nobody beaten Pacquiao since the first Morales fight? Marquez and Cotto found success when they boxed from a distance and used their counter punching ability to control Pacquiao. Why couldn’t they sustain it for the whole fight?
It’s because Pacquiao’s improved his boxing skills and ring generalship tremendously since the first Morales fight. Pacquiao also forces his will on his opponents with his constant motion and fluid combinations from all angles.
Furthermore, he’s an unorthodox fighter whose offense is probably his best defense. He can punch on his toes and throw combinations while moving side to side or in and out. His fast twitch muscles in his legs also allow him to close the gap between him and his opponents quickly.
You think you’re at a safe distance, but then he hits you with his naturally loaded gloves and follows it up with a flurry. Mayweather may have faced fast fighters before, such as Judah, but none of them posses the quickness of Pacquiao.
All of this, combined with his incredible stamina, forces his opponents to become hesitant to pull the trigger and throw counter punches consistently. Even with his defensive skills and patented shoulder roll, Mayweather will definitely be forced to fight at some point.
Mayweather can cruise to a victory by fighting the same way as he did against Marquez.
If Mayweather thinks he can continue to throw only a few punches a round and potshot his way to a victory against Pacquiao, then he’s bound to be disappointed at the end as Pacquiao will win via a decision by outworking him. For Mayweather to defeat Pacquiao, he needs a multifaceted game plan, which might include being more aggressive and attacking Pacquiao at times to change the pace.
If he doesn’t, then Pacquiao can adjust and find his rhythm, which could spell disaster for Mayweather. He can’t rely on his defense alone, especially if he’s on the ropes, as Pacquiao will keep throwing punches and punish him unless he wants his shoulder roll to be called the separated shoulder roll at the end.
Pacquiao’s straight left will be as successful against Mayweather as it was against his past opponents.
Mayweather’s 5” advantage in reach, along with his defensive skills, will make it difficult for Pacquiao to land his patented straight left. De La Hoya enjoyed a reach advantage too, but he didn’t fight tall by not using his jabs enough and often fought looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame.
Mayweather has a great jab, and what cannot be overlooked is his ability to throw a punch while keeping his head back at a safe distance, which makes it hard for his opponents to counter him upstairs. Manny Pacquiao will need to use angles and throw more combinations to the body and then maybe follow it up with another flurry upstairs ala Aaron Pryor.
Prediction: I will hold my prediction until the contract for the fight is finalized and the specific date is set. Unbeknownst to some, Manny didn’t leave unscathed in his last fight. He suffered a few injuries such as a swollen hand and broken eardrum.
The tentative date of Mar. 13, 2010 for the fight may be too soon for Pacquiao's injuries to fully heal. We also have to take into account that he is running for Congressman and will surely be busy campaigning.