The moment that boxing fans have been waiting for has arrived. In the next couple of hours, the Sports world will pay its attention to Las Vegas, Nevada and witness the most anticipated fight of this century.
Yesterday at the weigh-in, thousands of fans packed the arena to witness Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao tip the scales. First was Manny Pacquiao who weighed at a comfortable 145 pounds, followed by Mayweather who tip the scales at a solid 146 pounds.
The traditional stare down didn’t offer any pre-fight fireworks but this is the moment where the fighter can gain the psychological advantage over his opponent. Mayweather was serious who kept staring into Pacquiao, while Manny appeared at ease and peaceful. Pacquaio later that day was quoted as saying that he saw in Mayweather’s eyes a lot of worry.
Before the main event starts, there will be 2 fights on the undercard, which is strange in the PPV business since in the past there have been 3 undercard fights then the main event. The first fight will be Lomachenko vs Rodriguez and the co-main event will be Leo Santa Cruz vs Sepa La Bola (aka WHO). Santa Cruz is fighting a guy who got the fight on a week notice while Abner Mares was willing to fight on a 3 week notice and Al Haymon, Santa Cruz manager decided to not make that fight.
As a boxing fan, I am disappointed that the promoters of this event failed to provide a great undercard where they could have taken advantage of the millions of viewers who will be tuning into the fight and possibly turn some of those viewers into fans. This was supposed to be The Super Bowl of Boxing and for that the promoters should have treated it as such and gone out of their way to please the true boxing fans and the sports world in putting together one of the best cards in Boxing history. I would have loved to have seen Victor Ortiz vs Brandon Rios, Danny Garcia vs Adrian Broner and Marcos Maidana vs Amir Khan 2 on the May Pac undercard. A card stacked like this would have been no problem for fans to pay $100 for the PPV because any one of those fights could potential be a fight of the year candidate. Instead we will see two fights that no one cares about before the main event.
The fight that was supposed to be made in 2009 has finally come! Tonight we will find out who is the best fighter in our generation. Tonight’s winner will be crown the undisputed Pound for Pound Champion. Below are my analysis of each fighter and what they would need to do to come up victorious.
First with the underdog, Manny Pacquiao. This is the first time in awhile that Pacquiao is stepping into the ring as an underdog but he has embraced this role well throughout his camp. For Manny to win this fight, he has to put pressure on Mayweather from the start. Pacquiao has the speed and footwork to give Floyd problems. He has to use his jab early and throw a lot of punches from different angels. Manny has to make Floyd fight at his pace. He cannot let Floyd dictate the tempo of the fight. If Pacquiao is throwing punches in bunches from different angles and putting pressure on Floyd, the chances of Floyd suffering his first loss will increased. If he allows Floyd to control the ring and the tempo of the fight then I see Pacquaio getting frustrated and not being able to find a rhythm to press his attack.
For Floyd Mayweather to win, he has to do what he always does and that is to keep his patience and stick to his style, which is not very fan friendly. A lot of people don’t understand that Floyd is a BOXER, not a FIGHTER and Manny is a FIGHTER, not a BOXER. To give a baseball analogy, seeing Floyd fight is like watching a pitchers duel and Pacquiao is like watching a homerun derby. There are those that appreciate the beautiful craft of boxing in Floyd and others the aggressiveness in Pacquiao. Also, a lot of fans fail to understand that Mayweather approaches every fight like a chess match. His objective is to checkmate his opponent. Mayweather has a tremendous boxing IQ and is able to adapt as the fight goes on. Mayweather will try to use the distance between him and Pacquiao and out jab Manny. Floyd’s counter punches will take Manny out of his rhythm. Mayweather has to stay away from the ropes and find an answer to Pacquaio’s left hand. If Floyd maintains the fight in the center of the ring and takes advantage of Pacquiao’s frustration from the lack of toe to toe action, then psychologically speaking, Mayweather will have already defeated Pacquiao.
It will be very interesting to see how Pacquiao starts the first round. If he starts the round by putting pressure and taking the fight to Floyd and doing that for the whole fight then one can expect a very entertaining fight. But, if Pacquiao starts the first round trying to study Floyd, then one can expect the first round to go to Floyd. The best way to beat a thinking boxer like Floyd is to not make him think. And in order to do that Manny has to throw punches in bunches from different angles and apply that same rhythm for the whole fight.
I see Pacquiao starting strong the first couple of rounds, but by round 4, Floyd will have made the adjustments necessary to take away Pacquaos’ ammo. Floyd will also capitalize on Pacquiao’s “jumpy” and impatient ability by countering him and taking him out of his game plan. Pacquiao will have couple clean shots but his lack of body punches will benefit Floyd in the later rounds. I will not be surprise if Floyd knocks down Pacquaio just the same way if Pacquaio knocks down Floyd. Ultimately, Floyd’s superb defense and ability to make adjustments throughout the fight will prove the difference as he will go on to win via a unanimous (I want to say controversial) decision. Mayweather in 12.