With a fight of the magnitude that we see with tonight’s Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Manny Pacquiao clash, casual fans, whether interested in Boxing or not, will know enough about both fighters and how they go about their business to make their own predictions as to how this fight will play out.
This is a good thing; I have had more talks about my beloved sport in the last couple of weeks with the very casual fan than ever before.
The procedure of analysing this or any fight is looking at strengths and weaknesses of the boxers. If there are any common opponents, this usually helps and the participant’s previous records with fighters of similar styles.
When comparing common ground opponents of Mayweather and Pacquiao, the names Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya come up.
But there are sometimes subtle, sometimes glaringly and obvious differences that make these opponents incomparable.
With Hatton, Mayweather fought the best Hatton there was ever going to be, and in reality he outclassed “The Hitman” from beginning to end.
Hatton was never really the same fighter again, he had ballooned in weight, there were reported drug problems and depression, and when Pacquiao fought Hatton, Ricky had only been in with limited opposition since his loss to Mayweather, such as non-puncher Paulie Malignaggi and Juan Lazcano, who Hatton struggled with.
Also Hatton had left his trainer of 10 years, Billy Graham, and was being trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr, who can’t do southpaw pads and was reportedly not as interested in Hatton as he was with the media.
Mayweather and Pacquiao fought different versions of Ricky Hatton.
When it comes to Juan Manuel Marquez, rarely is it mentioned that Pacquiao had four brilliant fights with Marquez, of which he won two, and got a draw in the other.
Not only that, Pacquiao had put Marquez down numerous times throughout their fights, and was ahead on the cards before he was stopped by Juan Manuel in their fourth outing.
When Mayweather fought Marquez, he paid Marquez a huge fee before the fight for Marquez to come in much, much heavier. The common opponent Marquez, here is hardly comparable.
Pacquiao had his wins and a draw over Marquez when they were both at a fighting weight that suited them, while Floyd fought a blown up Marquez, and came into the ring in a different weight class.
With Cotto, I remember thinking Pacman had bitten off more than he could chew at welterweight but he put on a great performance, likewise Floyd performed very well against Cotto at light middle.
However, if you looked at both the fights, you would have to say Cotto was beaten up against Pacquiao. When that fight finished, people were saying “This proves how great Manny is now”.
After the Mayweather vs. Cotto fight people were saying “that’s the first time I have seen someone make Floyd Mayweather bleed”, even though he won.
That could be down to public perception of Floyd, or that Manny is in more exciting fights. The Cotto bouts are better to look at as a comparable.
De La Hoya was done by the time Pacquiao got to him. He had been stopped by Bernard Hopkins and beaten in his last hurrah against Mayweather, where for the first six rounds it was very close but Oscar stopped working, or Mayweather stepped it up, you can look at it either way.
After a year off, De La Hoya went in for a comeback against non-puncher Steve Forbes, then Pacquiao, where Oscar looked shop worn, old and hopeless against the smaller, quicker, more powerful man.
Mosley as well, was shot by the time he got to Pacquiao, although he only really worked for the first four rounds against Mayweather.
Mosley, did, however, wobble Mayweather, the first to do so sine DeMarcus Corley. But, as we all know, Mosley failed to capitalize on this and soon fell into Mayweather’s rhythm and was beaten from pillar to post.
Mayweather performed better against a more real Mosley than Pacquiao had to deal with; in fact, I think Mosley touched gloves against Pacman more times than he threw punches.
Mosley and De la Hoya are quite incomparable, as is Hatton and Marquez. Cotto is the only fighter who offered the same amount of threat and purpose to each fighter and the way he was stopped in a brawl against Paqcuiao, or outpointed over the distance with Mayweather leaves us back to square one effectively.
Cotto is a natural lefty though, and it would have been interesting to see if he could have troubled Mayweather from a southpaw stance as Mayweather has struggled with southpaws in the past, like DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah.
However, Mayweather recently boxed Robert Guerrero, a southpaw, and this did not bother him in the slightest, in fact Floyd handled the lefty with ease.
Back in 2002, Jose Luis Castillo gave Mayweather the most problems of his career to date. He did this through work rate, tempo and not letting Floyd dictate the pace, with a good jab to keep giving Mayweather something to think about, and used good ring generalship in cutting the ring off.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach will obviously know all this and will be developing a master plan to dethrone Floyd; it’s whether Pacquiao will be able to implement the game plan or if Floyd will let him.
Everyone wants Pacquiao to win. I want Pacquiao to win, although I don’t think he will. I doubt Floyd will let it get that entertaining.
Pacquiao needs a dancing partner to make great fights; he likes a brawl, Floyd doesn’t and I can’t see him risking his legacy and changing his style to make a Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns type fight, anyone who thinks that this will be a classic like that will be sadly mistaken.
We know what Floyd will do and once he gets Pacquiao fighting his fight, at his pace and tempo, then that will be it.
A points decision for for Mayweather Jr.