Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will clash at the MGM Grand on May 2, and here is a full breakdown of what it will take for the unbeaten American to win.
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The 38-year-old undoubtedly splits opinion like no other fighter as his defensive genius goes hand-in-hand with his extravagant lifestyle that many despise.
While none of the opinions outside of the Money Team will matter too much to him, his focus is on winning and enjoying his vast wealth. Further, there is no denying that he is a highly talented individual that has earned his right to be regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, and to go 47-0 through his professional career is no fluke.
So what does Mayweather have to do to win this fight? The general expectation is that Pacquiao will use his foot speed, hand speed and combinations to disrupt his rival’s rhythm and dart in and out. The Filipino presents a very unique threat to Mayweather, but it is one that he will be confident of dealing with.
‘Money’ will not waver from his usual defensive style even though the shoulder roll technique may not be as effective against a tricky southpaw, but he will need to avoid any danger in the first few rounds and use his undeniable talent of adjusting to each respective opponent.
Mayweather has done this brilliantly throughout his career, and it should be no different this time round as he will want to create space and use his athleticism, speed and quick-thinking to outfox Pacquiao and win their exchanges.
His jab will also play a vital role in establishing himself in the fight, particularly when he drops it low to the body and that will stop Pac-Man advancing on him relentlessly. Mayweather has a significant reach and height advantage and his accuracy will be key if he comes under a barrage of punches from his rival.
More recently, there have been questions raised of his footwork and legs, with rival trainer Freddie Roach not shy in voicing his opinion on the matter, as reported by Sky Sports. Based on his most recent performances, there is substance to the argument, but he is still very good at what he does and both fighters have arguably regressed over the years.
Mayweather needs to dictate the tempo and keep Pacquiao at range and use that reach and accuracy combined with his counter-punching to keep him off balance and ‘steal’ rounds. The longer the fight goes on it should favour the unbeaten superstar, as he tends to start slow but then take command and exploit his opponent’s weaknesses and with Pacquiao potentially tiring in the later rounds, it could become target practice.
While there is speculation over whether or not he will fight again after this bout, Mayweather will want to put on a show and end the debate over who is the pound-for-pound king. His determination, heart and commitment to the sport can never be questioned, and all three will be significant in dominating Pacquiao from start to finish by fighting smart, not having to be offensive and out of his comfort zone and essentially just being Floyd Mayweather.