Thursday, May 7, 2009

Topic of the Week: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Manny Pacquaio

Who's next for Manny Pacquaio? Possibly Floyd Mayweather Jr., the previous claimant to the mythical pound for pound title that the Pacman now calls his own. Of course Floyd still has the difficult task of getting by Juan Manuel Marquez, but should he pass that test, the path appears clear for what could be this generation's most significant fight.

So how does this potential blockbuster match-up play out? The Boxing Bulletin writers give their thoughts...

It's pretty impossible to make a prediction without seeing Floyd end his layoff first. He is at an age when reflexes can begin to diminish and that is his game. The clean life he leads and the way he stays in shape makes me think he will be fine after 19 months. But you can't really be sure.

Manny is simply a monster who is peaking now. It was impossible to think when he was butchering MAB and warring with Morales that he wasn't even fully developed at that point. The only prediction I could comfortably give at this point is it will sell more PPV's than any fight in history and Pacquiao will force Floyd into a war that will elevate both mens standing, no matter who wins. - Mark Lyons

I don't need to see Floyd against Marquez to decide how Manny would do because Marquez is a totally different style (one that will make Money look rather ordinary) and I've already seen the best Mayweather has. Manny can, and will beat the best Money May.

I'll write more about this later, but when it comes down to it, I think the style match-up favours the Filipino destroyer. Floyd has no physical advantages that I can see. In fact, in my opinion anyway, he will be in against a faster man, who can cut an unbelievable pace while throwing some serious heat for 12 rounds. He'll either keep Mayweather on the defensive enough in each round to earn a decision, or catch him on the button somewhere along the line.

Pac can be caught with counters, but he's got a helluva chin, and always hits right back when tagged. Floyd better knock him out with one of those, or he's in for a long night. In my opinion, over the last few years, he has relied more and more on potshots, as it is the safest route to go. It won't be enough on this occasion. Oh, and the shoulder roll he loves so much is specifically designed to work
against conventional fighters.

It's clear to me that Money isn't at his most comfortable against lefties. You can just tell when looking at the footage, he has to think about things a little more than usual. That extra time could be lethal against the Pac-Man. - Lee Payton

I'm not ready to make a prediction, but I agree with Lee, Floyd won't be able to beat Pacquiao just doing his usual potshotting routine. One of the reasons Pac struggles with Marquez is because Marquez is the best combination puncher in boxing. He's always on balance, so he knocks back Manny during most of their exchanges. Trying to counter with single shots would just lead to Floyd getting out-worked.

Moreover, the only times Floyd has gotten hurt (Corley) or knocked down (Judah, unofficially) were from right hooks. No one should have any doubt that Manny has a serious right hook after seeing him take apart Hatton with it.

If it happens, which is still a huge if, it will be a historic night. - Michael Nelson

I like Manny in this one by emphatic decision, perhaps even stoppage. Floyd's air of invincibility has been overstated for a long time. Some may say that it depends on how Floyd looks coming back after the layoff... I say even "Money May" circa 2007 loses to 2009 Pacquiao. Speed is a wash, size difference is minimal to the point of indifference, power, activity and determination goes to Pacquiao.

From an X's and O's stand point, Pacquiao's combination punching will force Mayweather to fight out of character, while his elusiveness inside will trump Floyd's shifty shoulder. While Mayweather is a legitimately great fighter, one who could certainly win with a precision punch or two that shakes up the Filipino, I believe that Pacquiao's faced the better competition and would be well prepared to face that level of talent. In the end I suspect we would look back on this bout and say that it was not Manny's toughest fight. If we look at the history of these two men to assess how a fight between them might unfold, we might conclude that based on said history, Mayweather will likely find an easier opponent and avoid Pacquiao all together. - Jeff Pryor

I'll be rooting for Manny if they do end up fighting, but I think Floyd will take it.

It's true that the size difference is minimal - but Floyd will have a significant reach advantage, and I think Manny will have a difficult time getting into range without walking into Floyd's precise right hand counters.

As far as Floyd's lay-off goes, I don't think it's a big deal. It's not all that uncommon for fighters to go a year without fighting - even those that haven't "retired", and I get the impression that Floyd has been keeping himself in good condition. - Andrew Fruman


dread said...

Floyd is bigger, longer, probably just about as fast, and much more technically proficient.

The way fights are scored, however, Manny has the significant advantage because he is likely to throw a lot more punches and also has been in a number of fights where he's had to dig it out.

One possibility is that Floyd's power from his straight right is decisive. This is basically what happened in Pac-Hatton -- Pac simply hit much much harder than Hatton thought and that was the difference.

A more likely possibility is that it will come down to Floyd's heart. If he gets in there and fights for 12 rounds, I think he is just plain better and will win decisively.