The Fight We Have All Been Waiting For

The Fight We Have All Been Waiting For

Floyd Mayweather Jr Vs Manny Pacquiao

It’s finally here, ladies and gentleman.  The biggest fight in the history of Boxing. This Saturday night, the home of Boxing, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, will play host to the most widely recognised, sought after, and anticipated bout ever with the World WBC, WBO and WBA welterweight titles on the line, but also the battle for pride, and to be considered the best Boxer in the World. The man who quite literally ascended to the top from the slums, Manny Pacquiao, looks to do the seemingly impossible, attempting to be the only man to defeat the self-proclaimed ‘The Best Ever’, Floyd Mayweather. This bout has been building up on nearly 10 years worth of history, and finally, the World will get to see it.

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Regardless of what you think of Floyd Mayweather Jr, nobody on this planet can criticize is what Mayweather has achieved in the ring and how he has gone about doing it. The current #1 P4P Boxer in the World turned to Boxing to escape from the very common under-privileged childhood he had whilst growing up, and his potential was clearly maximised as you can now see the empire he has built today, officially named  the richest athlete in the all of sports. Mayweather has carved a perfect 47-0 record accompanied by 26 stoppage victories since the beginning of his professional career in 1996. This was after attaining a formidable 84-6 amatuer records headlined by three Golden Gloves wins and a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics.

From something to something even better

Although Mayweather was tipped to be a great in the ring , he gained his first taste of big time recognition in 2001 in his first World title shot, winning the WBC World super featherweight title against a previously unbeaten Diego Corrales after Corrales’ team threw in the towel in the 10th round after Corrales’ fifth knockdown. What followed was World championships at four different weights, taking the lightweight crown from Jose Luis Castillo, the super lightweight crown from Arturo Gatti, the welterweight crown from Zab Judah, and the super welterweight crown from Oscar De La Hoya. Along the way, he’s defended against the best on offer in his 14 year stint as a World champion, beating the likes of Carlos Baldomir, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto. He’s fought four times since 2013, earning emphatic decision victories against Robert Guerrero and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2013. Mayweather beat Marcos Rene Maidana twice in 2014 and despite some thinking that Mayweather was troubled by Maidana, the reality is that Floyd boxed incredibly smart and calculated, getting two more decision wins on his resume.

 

Mayweather has quite rightfully earned the title of being the best defensive Boxer in the world, and possibly ever. From an incredibly young age his father and uncle instilled in him that defence is the best offence and he’s rolled with that his whole career. A key part of his game is his shoulder roll which is the most finely executed shoulder roll in Boxing. One of the most satisfying parts of watching Mayweather in action to me is how he operates when punches are being let go against him, because it’s so aesthetically pleasing watching him make his opponent miss and get frustrated with every punch they throw. But all things considered, Mayweather really is the whole package. He’s the most intelligent Boxer in the world and has an unrivalled Boxing IQ. He’s the best counter puncher in the world and his movement is refined. He’s seemingly slowed down a little with age which is expected, and when faced with a fast fighter, Mayweather has looked more vulnerable. Being faster than Floyd is the key to beating him. Floyd will just need to revert to the tactics he does best, and exert the defensive tactics with well-timed counter punching which Pacquiao has had problems with in the past.

Pacquiao gets public backing to topple Mayweather

In what may be considered a good against evil fight, the public have outright adopted Pacquiao as their good guy and Boxing’s saviour, the one chosen to put the number one in the loss column of the bad guy. However these two men had a similar upbringing from humble beginnings. Pacquiao, born in the Philippines, moved to Manila at the age of 14 to pursue an amatuer Boxing career and lived on the streets. Although he didn’t quite earn the awards his opponent did, he made the Philippine national amatuer Boxing team and attained a strong 60-4 record.

Just like Mayweather, Pacquiao is a multi-weight World champion, holding belts at six weights. His first World title came in 1998 against Chatchai Sasakul, earning the WBC flyweight belt. He lost the belt in 1999 and moved up to super bantamweight, earning the IBF belt in 2001 from Lehlo Ledwaba. He beat Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBC super featherweight belt in 2008, David Diaz for the WBC lightweight belt three months later,  Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight belt in 2009, and Antonio Margarito for the super welterweight belt in 2010. He has beat the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera twice, Juan Manuel Marquez twice, Erik Morales twice, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley on his way to a 57-5-2 record, 38 wins coming by stoppage, 3 losses also by stoppage. Two of the losses have came in the last three years. He earned a rather uninspired decision win against Brandon Rios is 2013, a competitive decision revenge victory against Timothy Bradley early in 2014, and then a dominant five knockdown decision victory against Chris Algieri back in November.

 

Manny Pacquiao has the benefit of being trained by one of the best trainers in the world in Freddie Roach who can adapt his fighters to any opposition. Fortunately for Roach, Pac Man boasts qualities which make him easy to train such as his fantastic conditioning and massive heart. Pacquiao is an aggressor who wins fights by exerting strength on a heavy punch output and good movement. Oscar De La Hoya has compared him like a fly who won’t go away because you just keep getting tagged for 12 rounds. His speed has been good as well but like Mayweather, has slowed down slightly with age. Pacquiao has struggled with really good Boxers (see his loss to Timothy Bradley) and really good counter punchers (see his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez), qualities in which his opponent is better than the two stated Boxers. The way to beat Mayweather will be by using his good punch output but doing it effectively, landing clean and crisp shots in order to win rounds clearly because close rounds will swing Mayweather’s way. Mayweather struggles with speed and that’s where the fight will be won. Pacquiao won’t be able to outbox or outthink Mayweather, but Freddie Roach probably knows that.

Who will be crowned the worlds best ‘Pound for Pound’ fighter?

Although I personally don’t feel this fight will present as much action as what a lot of casual fans think, whether you’re a casual Boxing fan, the type of person who only knows Mayweather and Pacquiao (which there is a lot of), or a hardcore fan, this bout is a must watch for the simple reason that it defines an era of Boxing. Each era of Boxing has a top guy, and with both of these competitors penning the final chapters of their careers, this fight defines who the Boxer of this era will be. Despite the mass deliberations, I’ve had one clear cut pick for a winner since the fight was announced, probably a while before that. A lot of predictions are being based on how much people dislike Mayweather, however I’m trying to be more pragmatic. The person who wins this fight is the person who adapts more to the opposition’s plan of attack and whoever takes away the opponent’s main advantages. That being said, the person who does that is the person who will outthink the other, and that’s why my pick for the bout, and remaining undefeated is Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao with only one eye on the prize?

As irrelevant as some may think this is, the two losses in 2012 shook Pacquiao up, and it was around then that he started dabbling in other ventures such as politics in both the Philippines and America, playing for a professional Basketball team in the top league of Filipino Basketball and owning a lower league team, being a part of the Filipino Army Reserve, and having quite an extensive career in acting in the Philippines. He has planned for the future and has a lot on his plate, including what some may deem as problems like recurring leg cramps which he has suffered in camp leading up to the fight. It’s as if Pacquiao knows he won’t be a Boxer at the top level for much longer.

Mayweather will do the business

As much as I think Roach will have taught Pacquiao to shroud Mayweather with speed, and a lot of punches, I think Mayweather and his team have had the smarts to, as I mentioned, take away what Manny does best. I expect Mayweather to be a lot more generous letting his punches go, but still playing the safe card by jab smartly from the shoulder roll. Mayweather’s effective counterpunching will trouble Pacman and just as we saw with Marquez, it can end a bout in seconds. His first loss to Bradley and knockout against Marquez proves that unlike Floyd, he isn’t invincible anymore. Whilst I think Pac Man can unload offence and combinations which will get Mayweather thinking, I don’t think it will be enough offence to win rounds in his favour in comparison to the shots that Mayweather will pick and execute effectively. I think this will be a more one-sided fight than what some people think and Mayweather fortifies his legendary legacy with a decision win. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Dan Glozier.

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