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The Fight All Boxing Fans Have Been Waiting For

on May 2, 2015

The Sport of Boxing

As you grow to watch sports, I believe it doesn’t just become about Team A and Team B. You start to understand and appreciate the game. The exertions, tactics, mind-games and execution that goes into it. The concentration and grind that athletes and their teams put into the big fights, the Tour Opens, Grand Slams, Super-Bowls, the World Cup finals and NBA playoffs. You don’t have to be an ex-professional athlete to have this opinion; it just comes naturally the more you watch a sport and understand it. In simple terms, you become a true fan of the game.

This is my love for boxing. Being Filipino, Manny Pacqiuao was one of the main reasons I started following the sport. I remember when I was a young teen  watching the Pacman go to wars with Barrera, Diaz, Morales and Marquez. I recall being amazed. Thinking this was one of my fellow countrymen, who literally had nothing back in the provinces of The Philippines, making it on the big stage. Little did I know then, that he would become the boxing and global sensation that he is today.

But I also grew up watching a boxing genius in his own right, Floyd Mayweather. No one likes the arrogant and cocky guy but when you are the undefeated pound-for-pound champ, I feel you have some sorts of bragging rights.

Watching a Mayweather fight is like being in a classroom. Unless you are interested, you will find it boring. But if you really concentrate and focus, you will truly learn something. Even professional boxers have expressed this themselves.

Watching a Mayweather fight is like being in a classroom. Unless you are interested, you will find it boring.

The Biggest Boxing Fight in Decades

Now I’m Charlie and I’ve got my Golden Ticket to the Chocolate Factory. Two of the biggest name fighters who I grew up worshiping are going to face off in the ring in less than 24 hours. I can’t wait.

So what is the true meaning of this fight? Is it to answer the question everyone has been asking for nearly a decade? Who will win out of a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao? Who will fortify themselves into boxing’s Halls of Fame? Who is the better fighter? Who is the real pound-for-pound king?

In my eyes, no matter the outcome they have both built their legacy in their own way and rights. The history is more or less complete for both fighters. A win will just be the icing on the cake.

Legacy

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Floyd “Money” Mayweather is an undefeated champion in 5 different weight classes. He hasn’t been knocked down to the canvas in his professional career. Money Mayweather also doesn’t get credit for what he has done for himself as a promoter, becoming the richest paid athlete in the world.

Statistically via Compubox, he is the greatest efficient boxer to ever step into the ring. Efficient in terms of punches thrown, landed, percentage of landed punches and how often he gets hit. A true boxing genius that has mastered the art of ‘defense is the best offense’. He’s a champion, he knows how to win. In the end that’s what seals your legacy.

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On the contrary, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao holds the world record of championships in 8 different weight classes. He has been named Fighter of the Year (Three times, 1 more than Mayweather) and Fighter of the Decade, an accolade Floyd hasn’t won (and for him is too late in his career to win). Pacman is famous for his spectacular knockouts and gruesome battles that you can only relive by watching, words just aren’t good enough to describe.

Boxing has never seen a warrior like Manny Pacquiao. A fighter who started at 105lbs and over the years worked his way up the weight divisions, maintaining speed and power with technique. He is a gifted boxer, one of a kind to be exact.

Manny Pacquiao and Coach Freddie Roach have formed a rare 1-2 loyal tandem that has grown stronger and stronger with every fight. Roach’s input in this fight is key. Having coached Oscar De La Hoya against Mayweather in a close battle, Freddie can build on a game plan which pundits say previously worked against Floyd.

The Build-Up

I can understand Floyd’s reasoning to not take this fight, and why Manny’s Coach Freddie Roach believes his back was against the wall. Imagine every interview Floyd takes, a reporter will mention the name “Pacquiao”. That must be frustrating.

But Mayweather has finally stepped up.  All the remarks about “dodging and ducking” is now in the past. He made the fight happen and is now out to prove to the critics once and for all that he is the greatest ever. It maybe 5 years to late, but who is defeating Manny Pacquiao or Mayweather in this time? Not many boxers, let’s be honest.

Take a look at their recent opponents; Argentine hard-hitter Marcos Maidana who struggled to connect with Floyd despite throwing 100 punches in one round. Promising Canelo Alvarez was built up like he was the man to stop Floyd, but  proved he was too slow to catch him. Cannel is  a guy 10 years younger than him I may add.

The next big thing Chris Algieri showed he could go 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao, and that was it. Timothy Bradley, who being Manny’s toughest recent opponent, although a good solid boxer showed he wasn’t on the same level as Pacquiao.

If you think about it the build up between this fight has been all hyped by the anticipation, not by the fighters. The amount of respect shown between the Manny and Floyd is evident in the small amount of trash-talk and pre-fight shenanigans in the the build up. Silence has meaning. With the money aside now, it’s about boxing. It’s ‘let the boxing do the talking’. Even for Floyd.

Hero and Villains

In an infamous interview Floyd had with Brian Kenny, he stated along the lines of “no matter what I do, there will always be excuses. If I beat Pacquiao, people will say I was too big for him”.

I can understand Floyd’s point of view; the media attacks Floyd without any hesitation and whatever he achieves, will always be questioned. It’s the exact opposite in the Pacman camp. He sings on talk shows and reporters rarely interview him about his negative past and the reasons he became a born-again Christian. But Mayweather on the others gets questioned about his past all the time. Let’s face it, Mayweather gets stick.

The media want a Villain and a Hero, and they’ve built this fight up perfectly to their advantage. George Foreman couldn’t have said it better himself, “Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less it is appreciated.”

But no matter the outcome of this fight, there will always be an excuse. This fight should have been 5 years ago. That person didn’t deserve to win on points. They chose that winner so they will rematch. That was a lucky punch.

Villains will never get praised for what they feel they deserve from the people. That’s why they become the villain.

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Fight Prediction

I believe the fight can go either way.

I don’t think Manny can outbox Mayweather in 12 rounds. Not at all. Mayweather has too much experience and is too smart of a boxer for that to happen. As Pacquiao throws punches in combos and in all sorts of angles, Mayweather will have to adjust quicker than any fight he’s been in. If he does, Floyd will win the majority of the rounds, especially in the latter stages of the fight and win a split decision.

The first two or three rounds will be explosive. Guaranteed. But if Floyd fails to adjust to Manny’s unorthodox style of punches in the first half of the fight, it will go the distance and Manny will win on points.

Speed

What’s unique about Manny is the speed he comes in and out of opponents, again a factor I think Mayweather has not come across in any fighter he has faced in his career. It’s important Mayweather uses his size and length advantage in a fight like this to utilize the spacing between the two. Usually in a Manny Pacquiao fight, Manny dictates the space. It will be interesting to see who will be the commanding figure in the ring come Round 8 and Round 9.

Stopping Floyd?

People come to the conclusion Manny’s only way of winning is knocking Floyd or stopping him. Can I see this happening? Rarely. Floyd Mayweather has taken punches from hard-hitting boxers. Shane Mosley. Marcos Maidana. Even Ricky Hatton connected with Floyd in the first round. He’s proven he can take a punch.However what he has shown is that a punch can hurt him. Moments of clenching and holding against Maidana and Mosley after being hit clean is clear as day. Can he catch Manny to stop him if he unleashes?

I do believe the Maidana saga took a lot out of Floyd in terms of energy, and it will be interesting how much training and conditioning he has put in for someone like Manny Pacquiao. Don’t forget Miguel Cotto has proven Floyd’s pretty face can be hit, and hit bad. Just because Manny doesn’t knockout Floyd, doesn’t mean he can’t win on points.

Knock out Mayweather? Or Pacman?

I’ve also heard that Mayweather will knock Pacquiao out. I doubt it. He’s trained and conditioned himself well over the years to the point where he’s become somewhat untouched. But his punching power hasn’t shown signs of knocking fighters out or even down in a very long time. Although Mayweather is not known for his power and speed, he does have it.

The way Pacquiao fights, inevitably he is going to get hit. However it’s how he gets hits and the timing that is important. Marquez did it to Manny beautifully with the 4th fight of asking. In the end Marquez thoroughly deserved a win after going to war with him for 3 previous fights (May I add it says a lot if it took Marquez 4 fights to finally connect Manny with a math-winning right hook).

Despite being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny’s footwork and smarts on defense is highly underrated. Just like Floyd, Manny comes out of most of his recent fights with no major cuts and small bruises. I think people tend forget this.

I feel Marquez IIII fight was only a positive for Pacquaio’s career. Since then his fights with Rios, Bradley and Algieri have proved he’s become a more cautious and “smarter” boxer. You may not out-think Floyd but you sure can’t go in, crowd, throw punches and expect to win. Everyone has failed doing that. Maybe the cautious Pacman is the right version to fight Floyd. We will find out.

Defence

Floyd’s speciality. Defensive wise, I think Floyd’s gloves will be up in the majority of this fight. Against Maidana, Mayweather’s famous shoulder roll wasn’t as effective and at peak times in the fight he had to put two gloves up high for protection. That’s how much he respected Maidana’s punching numbers and power. Also I believe the way Manny throws punches in bunches and angles with speed, plus being a southpaw, will mean if Mayweather decides to shoulder roll it will be a huge gamble on his part.

Power

What excites me most about this fight is the speed and power of Manny Pacquiao, even at 36. I honestly believe Floyd Mayweather hasn’t faced anything like it in his career. Shane Mosley described Manny Pacquiao’s punches as “they were so quick, it didn’t even feel hard”. These are the punches that can knockdown Mayweather. Imagine a storm of punches in clusters in the middle of the ring, after a hard shot? It’s hard to say Floyd won’t fall down. Manny’s done it to the best of them. Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto were the chief sufferers.

Juan Manuel Marquez, who has fought both guys, quoted on HBO a hard quick punch from Manny may knock Mayweather down. That’s a true testament to the power of the small Filipino.

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Conclusion

In my eyes we all should be pleased to even witness these two prestigious, world-class boxers face up against each other. As proud as I am to be Filipino and have an amazing fighter like Manny Pacquiao represent our  homeland, this is not the Olympics or The Philippines vs. USA. This is boxing at its best.

Who am I supporting? It’s a tough choice, but I’ll be rooting for the underdog. But whatever the outcome, they will both soon be written into the boxing Hall of Fame as boxing greats.

I’m just lucky as a fan of boxing, that I get to witness one of the biggest boxing fights in sports history. A story to tell the grandkids.

May 2nd 2015. Where were you?



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