Former heavyweight Mike Tyson believes Manny Pacquiao has the upper hand going into his May 2 bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr., giving the advantage to Pacman due to the stylistic differences between both fighters.
Anticipation continues to build for the long-awaited fight, and Tyson is but the latest to give his two cents on how the welterweight clash will play out. As reported by the Daily Mail's Jeff Powell, he's been convinced Pacquiao would win from the moment the fight was announced:
I thought from the start that Pacquiao is going to win. This guy is perpetual motion. He comes from every angle. He’s all energy. Always throwing punches. Never stops.
Floyd tucks in and picks his shots and he is more accurate. But he doesn’t throw anything like Manny’s hundred punches a round.
It’s unlikely he can knock Manny out so if he wants to win he’s got to change. Unless he throws more punches he can’t win the rounds.
He provided more details in a video he made for his personal YouTube channel, detailing some of the key differences between both fighters:
Opinions seem split on the May 2 fight, with Mayweather installed as a slight favourite by the oddsmakers, per Powell. The 38-year-old is undefeated, entering the contest with a record of 47 wins with 26 knockouts.
Mayweather's shoulder-roll defence has served him well throughout the years, but it's exactly this aspect of his style Tyson fears will hurt him against Pacquiao. The Filipino slugger has too much hand speed to lose to a static target, and indeed, Mayweather's lack of movement was particularly evident in his fight against Marcos Maidana.
CompuBox owner Bob Canobbio noted Mayweather took far more punches in that fight than he usually does, as he told Bleacher Report:
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Not everyone seems to agree with Tyson, however. Former lightweight boxer Robert Garcia told ThaBoxingVoice.com (h/t Boxing News 24) he agrees Pacquiao needs to overwhelm his opponent with punches, but still sees Mayweather as the favourite:
I don’t think Pacquiao’s going to try and do what Maidana did; Pacquiao doesn’t do that. Pacquiao fights more in an out and counter-punches, and to do that you have to be really good to beat Mayweather. To beat Mayweather is the way Maidana did; just smother him and make it a dirty fight, make it an ugly fight, and I don’t think Pacquiao’s going to do that. ...
... Mayweather’s just too smart and can adapt to anything.
Mayweather's ability to adapt to his opponent may just be the top reason he's still undefeated after all these years. Money is renowned for taking over fights in the middle rounds and almost making a mockery of his opponents by the end of the bout, darting in and out of reach and putting his jab to excellent use.
He's also an incredibly smart fighter who is always prepared for anything. Mayweather has struggled with southpaws in the past, and as he told Showtime Sports, he's not taking any chances, inviting Zab Judah to his sparring sessions, among others:
Judah famously had Mayweather in a spot of trouble early when they fought in 2006, and like Judah, Pacquiao is expected to attempt to overwhelm Money early on May 2, looking for either a stoppage or a significant lead on the cards.
The main differences between the two are hand speed and stamina. Pacquiao can continue his relentless attack for 12 rounds—it's how he's always fought, and despite throwing a ridiculous amount of punches, he connects with a high percentage.
Tyson believes that will lead him to a win—Garcia doesn't. The debate will surely rage on until May 2, when we will finally see these two titans in the ring together after more than half a decade of waiting.