Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are just days away from the biggest fight in boxing history, and here are five key points to the bout.
Why Mayweather beats Pacquiao: Floyd is rightfully the favourite for the fight.
Why Pacquiao beats Mayweather: Filipino has everything he needs to win.
Pacquiao dig at Mayweather’s TMT slogan: Pac-Man rebrands it.
There are so many questions surrounding this clash between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, and although there are three welterweight world titles on the line on Saturday, the belts mean little in the bigger picture.
Mayweather and Pacquiao have kept boxing fans hardcore and casual alike waiting five long years for this bout, and although many will complain that it is years too late, perhaps it is in fact happening at exactly the right time given the magnitude of the event.
Opinion is certainly split on who will win, although Mayweather is undoubtedly the bookmakers’ favourite to extend his unbeaten record to 48-0. With each fighter staking their reputation on this bout, what will be the key aspects of this historical night for boxing?
Floyd Mayweather’s legs
Mayweather’s mobility has been an integral part of his success over the years, as it goes hand-in-hand with his superior defensive and counter-punching skills.
However, critics believe that they have seen a slight regression in his last few fights, particularly in the back-to-back clashes with Marcos Maidana where he was seemingly cornered and put up against the ropes a lot and was caught with more shots than ever before.
Naturally, the only thing that really matters is that the 38-year-old found a way to win, but with Pacquiao’s foot speed, hand speed and combinations, if Mayweather doesn’t move as well as he used to, he could be open to getting tagged – which will certainly make the fight more interesting.
The general consensus is that Pacquiao can only win if he gets off a high volume of punches and sustains it over the fight. Mayweather will not push anything and come on the front foot unless he feels completely comfortable and ready for a tear up, so the onus will be on Pacquiao to keep his work-rate high.
With the appointment of Kenny Bayless and the fact that this is in Mayweather’s adopted hometown of Vegas, Pacquiao needs to stay busy but also be accurate with his work to have a chance of winning if the fight goes the distance.
Mayweather’s ability to cope with a southpaw
Pacquiao’s southpaw stance is problematic for Mayweather. It can be an issue for his shoulder roll defence as Pac-Man will come from different and awkward angles and so it might be difficult for him to figure out the best way to negate his threat.
The unbeaten superstar would undoubtedly have watched tape with his team and has a unique talent of adjusting in-fight to his opponent, but this could be the biggest test that he will face.
How much power do these two fighters still have?
Mayweather hasn’t KO’d any of his opponents since Victor Ortiz in 2011, and even that was marred by controversy. As a result, you’d have to go back even further to 2007 with his TKO win over Ricky Hatton. Pacquiao isn’t much better off as his last stoppage came against Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Neither trainer has been scared to predict a knockout with Pacquiao in fact telling Freddie Roach that he will KO Mayweather, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
However, something must have really changed in training camp to buck the trend, and it could come down to an accumulation of punches rather than a solitary blow. There is also the added spice of what impact strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza will have having now switched over to help Team Mayweather.
How Pacquaio starts the fight
This is arguably the most important point. If Pacquiao starts well, lands his shots and prevents Mayweather from settling into a rhythm, he can either claim a stoppage win or take an early points lead which will put the pressure on his rival down the stretch. That in turn could leave ‘Money’ more open than usual and Pac-Man can look to exploit any growing holes in his defence.
If he isn’t able to impose himself on the fight and Mayweather steals some rounds early, then it could be a long night for the Filipino as he comes forward chasing the fight and ultimately falls into traps that his unbeaten opponent will set for him. If that happens, it could end up being a one-sided affair that fails to live up to expectations.