Manny Pacquiao Is the Perfect Fighter to Avoid Floyd Mayweather's Head Games

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2015

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2009, file photo, boxer Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, celebrates with trainer Freddie Roach, left, at the technical knockout of Miguel Cotto in a WBO welterweight title fight in Las Vegas. Roach has guided Pacquiao to the pinnacle of boxing, yet the most celebrated trainer of his era still rises before dawn and wins his daily fight with Parkinson's disease because he always finds new reasons to live.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Manny Pacquiao is under attack already from Floyd Mayweather. While the physical assault won't begin until the two men step into the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2, Mayweather started playing his head games with Pacquiao as soon as news of the fight hit the public.  

Let's start off with the 60-40 split in Mayweather's favor. Yes, Pacquiao and his team agreed to that percentage, but that's only because it was clear Mayweather was not going to get into the ring unless he got that huge a pay differential. 

While Pacquiao will earn more money from this fight than he has in any other fight he has had in his career, he will look across the ring and see that Mayweather is earning significantly more. "Money" is sending a message with the differences in the pay arrangements. That message is that he is the bigger name and the bigger draw—and is the more important individual.

Both men will earn more than $100 million, according to John Branch of The New York Times. But when all is said and done, Mayweather will earn far more than his opponent.

Pacquiao is by nature respectful of his opponent and quite humble for a champion boxer. Mayweather is anything but, having recently said to The Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports) that he is the best boxer of all time, declaring himself better than Muhammad Ali.

In a recent interview with The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell, Mayweather pointed out that Pacquiao leaves himself vulnerable in the ring.

"Our styles are totally different," Mayweather said. "He is very, very reckless. Every move I make is calculated. I’m always 5-10 steps ahead of my opponent. We’ll see what happens when the fight starts. But when all is said and done I’m going to be the winner. Pacquiao is strong and solid but I don’t know if he can make adjustments like I can. I feel tremendous."

Notice the use of the word reckless. It is designed to get inside Pacquiao's head and make him question himself before the big fight. 

Mayweather has an eye-catching 47-0 record, while Pacquiao has tasted defeat and has even been knocked out during his career. His 57-5-2 record is not pristine, but Pacquiao knows the fight is not about comparing resumes.

He is not going to get into a war of words with Mayweather. If anyone is going to engage the unbeaten fighter in a debate, it is Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach. 

Roach lashed out at Mayweather when he was late for his media sessions last week, and he made reference to Money's status as he criticized him. 

"Mayweather is a different 'A side' now, and you can guess what the 'A' stands for," Roach told ESPN's Dan Rafael. "He was late for his media workout, leaving major media outlets scheduled to go live with dead air. How selfish is that? It doesn't take a lot to figure out why everyone is rooting for Manny."

Pacquiao himself stays above the verbal fray. He doesn't care what Mayweather says, and he does not take the baton from Roach and say anything about his opponent.

Instead, he stays focused on his training and his sparring as he gets ready for the fight. Pacquiao is a different kind of fighter than any of the opponents Mayweather has seen in the ring. Pacquiao's quickness, aggressiveness and hard-punching ability represent a major challenge for Mayweather.

Even though he has fought top fighters in Shane Mosley, Robert Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez, none of those fighters has the lightning-quick reflexes of Pacquiao. Mayweather is a defensive master, and Pacquiao will put his defensive skills to the test.

That's why Pacquiao may be the perfect opponent to take on Mayweather. He is not going to fall victim to the head games and the war of words. He may get beaten, but only because Mayweather proves to be the better fighter. His confidence will prevent him from going into the ring as a beaten man, the way so many Mayweather opponents have done in the past.

Pacquiao is smart enough to avoid the pitfalls of getting into a pre-fight debate with his unbeaten opponent. Instead, he will concentrate all of his energy on being at his best on May 2. That could be enough to put a "1" on the right side of Mayweather's record.

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