After what seems like an eternity, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are finally ready to face each other in the ring.
The fight will be the most interesting in recent memory, and not just because it will be the richest fight in the history of the sport.
With an unbeaten 47-0 record, Mayweather will be remembered as one boxing's true greats. Likewise, his opponent is one of the most ferocious fighters to grace the ring.
Boasting a 57-5-2 record, Pac-Man is for once considered the underdog, reflected in the odds offered for the fight:
|Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Odds|
|Boxer||Opening Line||Current Line|
The lines have moved ever so slightly toward Pacquiao, but Money remains the favourite to come out on top. It's certainly a close one to call; a quintessential matchup of attack vs. defence.
According to Raimundo Ortiz of SportsWorldNews, Mayweather is confident of capitalising on Pacquiao's aggression.
He said: "I want to look very impressive. I'm pretty sure he's going to bring his A-game, and it's all about excitement. I got here somehow, some way. He's a solid competitor, but very reckless, and he makes a lot of mistakes."
Mayweather will be hoping to catch Pacquiao off guard, as Juan Manuel Marquez did in 2012 when he knocked the Filipino out:
Mayweather's reach is five inches longer than his opponent's and—coupled with his pinpoint accuracy—he'll look to dictate with the jab, slip-and-rip and make Pacquiao miss all evening.
The 38-year-old is also widely and rightly renowned as being a master in the art of defence. Officially knocked down just once in his entire career, Money's athleticism and astounding reflexes (see the video below) are the foundations on which he has built his unbeaten career.
Never has Mayweather faced a fighter of Pacquiao's speed and skill, though. The 36-year-old has unwavering confidence in his own ability:
Per Sky Sports, Pacquiao believes his speed will give him the edge over his rival:
I'm different to the 47 opponents he has fought before. I'm faster than them and I'm content for the fight. I believe this is the moment he will experience his first loss.
We're not working one strategy, but we have two or three. If he wants to fight me, that's good for me.
But if he's running and running and moving around the ring, we've prepared for that.
Pac-Man's speed is certainly something to behold, as this video on the fighter's Instagram shows.
As ESPN Stats & Info point out, Mayweather has spent far more time on the ropes and taken many more punches than Pacquiao in their last five bouts, which indicates that Money's defence is not as airtight as it once was.
With Mayweather infamously slow to start (see the video below, in which Shane Mosley almost knocked Mayweather down in the second round of their clash), Pacquiao can use his incredible speed and ferocity to dominate the early rounds.
Leaning on his impressive endurance, Pacquiao should be able to match Mayweather even in the later rounds, forcing the match to go to a decision, where he can cause an upset.
This stat from ESPN's Arash Markazi indicates a decision to be a likely outcome:
It will be an incredibly close match, but Pacquiao's speed can give him the edge over the ageing Mayweather.
Scorecard Prediction: Pacquiao wins via split decision, 115-113, 116-112, 112-116