Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2015

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    Mayweather will finally fight Pacquiao.
    Mayweather will finally fight Pacquiao.Al Bello/Getty Images

    At long last, the most anticipated boxing event in history is finally going to happen. Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    As announced by Mayweather on his Shots social media account Friday, the two most popular fighters on the planet—and most historically accomplished of this generation—have agreed to terms for the bout that will air live on HBO/Showtime pay-per-view.

    Mayweather-Pacquaio isn't just another fight. It's a worldwide event akin more to the Super Bowl or the Olympics than it is your typical boxing card. It's a long-awaited promotion that will have both hardcore boxing fans and mainstream sports enthusiasts amped like never before.

    Fans have pined for this fight since 2009, but it is no longer just a dream match. Mayweather and Pacquiao will finally fight.

    Here is your head-to-toe breakdown.

Fight Info

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    MGM Grand will host Mayweather-Pacquiao as it did Mayweather's last 10 bouts.
    MGM Grand will host Mayweather-Pacquiao as it did Mayweather's last 10 bouts.USA TODAY Sports

    Main Event: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao; 12-round welterweight unification bout for Mayweather's WBC, WBA and The Ring magazine belts and Pacquiao's WBO title. The bout will also crown the lineal welterweight champion per the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

    Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas

    When: May 2, 2015

    TV: HBO Pay-Per-View

Tale of the Tape

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    How does Pac-Man measure up to Floyd?
    How does Pac-Man measure up to Floyd?USA TODAY Sports

    Info via

     Floyd MayweatherManny Pacquiao
    Record 47-0, 26 KOs57-5-2, 38 KOs 
    Weight146.5 (last fight)143.75 (last fight)
    ResidenceLas Vegas, NevadaGeneral Santos City, Philippines
    Last fightUD 12 Marcos Maidana (Sept. 13, 2014)UD 12 Chris Algieri (Nov. 23, 2014

    * Mayweather will be 38 on fight night.

What You Need to Know

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    Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    The bout between the two best fighters of their generation is finally here, but it will happen long after it should have.

    Mayweather-Pacquiao has been the most sought-after fight since late 2009. Mayweather came out of a two-year retirement to dominate Juan Manuel Marquez over 12 rounds in September 2009. Later that very same year, Pacquiao destroyed Miguel Cotto via Round 12 knockout to make his case as the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound, a mantle Mayweather had long worn.

    The superfight seemed to be on its way until it fell apart due to disagreement over how drug testing would be handled. There were various subsequent attempts to make the fight over the five years that followed, but nothing materialized until now.

    According to Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole, there were two other times the bout seemed most likely to materialize. The two camps discussed the megafight in 2011 through mediator Ross Greenburg, who was then president of HBO Sports, and again in 2012, but could not reach an agreement in either instance.

    In contrast to the time period from 2009 to 2012, neither fighter is in his prime anymore. Mayweather has retained his undefeated record due to unparalleled defensive skills and smart matchmaking. Pacquiao has lost two fights over the same time frame, a heavily disputed decision to Timothy Bradley in June 2012 and a Round 6 knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez later the same year.

    Still, the drawing power of two of boxing's biggest icons—and Pacquiao's resurgence over the past two years as one of the top fighters in the sport—will likely make the fight the most lucrative and watched boxing event in history.

Boxing Ability

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    Is there a better pure boxer than Mayweather?
    Is there a better pure boxer than Mayweather?Al Bello/Getty Images

    Floyd Mayweather

    Mayweather is the best boxer of his era. He's adept at all facets of the sport, and he's especially skilled at timing opponents and keeping them out of rhythm with sharp and precise footwork. Even at age 37, he's shown he can move around the ring like a younger man when necessary. Moreover, his greatest attribute is his ability to adjust to whatever is thrown at him once the bell rings.

    Manny Pacquiao

    Pacquiao is underrated as a boxer. His footwork and speed move him in and out of harm's way better than most, and his ability to land his power hand from a long distance is something other fighters have trouble preparing for. Pacquiao is a southpaw, and he has developed into an excellent boxer over the years. His greatest skill is creating angles with his feet and attacking from those angles.


    No fighter in the world has more boxing ability than Mayweather, and while the gap between the two isn't quite what Mayweather fans might suppose, there's no question he's a better boxer than Pacquiao overall.


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    Pacquiao hits with real power.
    Pacquiao hits with real power.Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Floyd Mayweather

    Mayweather has good power, but he doesn't box in a way that lets it shine through. His approach once the bell rings is to mitigate risk. That means he doesn't punch aggressively enough to knock his opponents out with regularity. Instead, he depends on countering them to submission or peppering them into a decision loss. Mayweather hasn't knocked out an opponent since defeating Victor Ortiz by Round 4 KO in 2011.

    Manny Pacquiao

    Pacquiao is a power puncher with unworldly speed. He devastates his opponents by hitting them both hard and often. In essence, he's a volume puncher who hits with force and rapidity, something that has made him one of the better offensive fighters in boxing history.

    Still, Pacquiao hasn't knocked out an opponent since destroying Cotto back in 2009. Unlike Mayweather, though, Pacquiao has scored numerous knockdowns on opponents over the past few years, including six in his last fight versus Chris Algieri.


    Pacquiao is the puncher in the fight. It's his greatest advantage over Mayweather and could help him score an upset win.


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    Mayweather is a stalwart defender.
    Mayweather is a stalwart defender.John Locher/Associated Press

    Floyd Mayweather

    Mayweather is one of the best defenders in boxing history. He's great with his feet and is able to block and parry punches like few fighters ever have. Moreover, Mayweather has a solid chin, capable of taking shots that slip through his exceptional guard. And he's weathered storms in the past on the few occasions fighters have landed clean.

    Manny Pacquiao

    Pacquiao is underrated defensively. He is excellent at blocking punches with his hands, and he has learned over the years to punch and retreat at angles that protect him from counter fire. More importantly, he's shown more discipline as a defender since his knockout loss to Marquez in 2012. He no longer overly commits himself to offense and instead relies on his hand speed from a workable distance.


    No fighter in the sport would have an advantage over Mayweather as a defender. He's the best in the business today and one of the best ever.

Game Plan

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    Pacquiao controlled the distance in the Bradley rematch.
    Pacquiao controlled the distance in the Bradley rematch.Associated Press

    Floyd Mayweather

    In order to defeat Pacquiao, Mayweather will first need to adjust to Pacquiao's speed and power. This takes every Pacquiao opponent by surprise during the opening rounds, and Mayweather will be no different.

    Mayweather will want to box and move. He cannot afford to trade punches with Pacquiao in the center of the ring. He'll need to lure Pacquiao into throwing first and counter him before pivoting to step away.

    Judges have a tendency to award fighters moving forward, something that has kept Mayweather from winning unanimous decisions recently over fighters he's clearly defeated. To avoid losing too many rounds by virtue of moving backward, Mayweather must pay special attention to throwing his body jab more often in the fight as Pacquiao stalks forward.

    Manny Pacquiao

    Pacquiao will want to jump on Mayweather early. His southpaw stance, speed and power will give him chances to score early on Mayweather and force the undefeated fighter to retreat as he adjusts to the unique task in front of him.

    In the middle rounds, Pacquiao will want to revert to the style he used against Timothy Bradley in the rematch last year. He'll need to keep his distance and let his hand speed carry the day, taking opportunities to step back from time to time to make Mayweather lead.

    In the championship rounds, Pacquiao must go for broke. With both fighters tired and less sharp defensively, he'll have good chances to score big with power shots. Moreover, his heavier hands could seal the deal for him late in the fight.


    Mayweather's game plan has remained consistent throughout his career, and it has carried him to victory every time. While Pacquiao has the style and physical tools to upset Mayweather, it would appear Mayweather has the style to give Pacquiao fits too. Add to it that he's the naturally larger man with longer reach, and Mayweather has the advantage heading into the fight.

Early Prediction

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    Will Pacquiao hand Mayweather his first loss as a professional?
    Will Pacquiao hand Mayweather his first loss as a professional?Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    Per Odds Shark, Mayweather is the early betting favorite and rightly so. He's never lost a fight and has most of the advantages heading into fight night.

    If you're a betting man, you would be wise in never doing so against Mayweather.

    But here’s the thing about boxing: Sometimes a wise pick can make a fool out of the picker. And while Mayweather will and perhaps should be picked by the majority of fight fans and media heading into May 2, I like Pacquiao via the upset.

    I expect Pacquiao to win the early rounds the way Zab Judah did against Mayweather back in 2006. Pacquiao's southpaw stance and exceptional speed will give him the edge before Mayweather adjusts to what is in front of him.

    In the middle rounds, Mayweather will counter Pacquiao clean enough to get the attention and respect of judges at ringside.

    The fight will be close and hotly contested going into the championship rounds, but I expect the younger, arguably faster and more aggressive Pacquiao to do just enough over the final three rounds of the fight to earn a very close and likely highly disputed decision over Mayweather.

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