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Why Pacquiao and Mayweather will have trouble against each other

Edwin G. Espejo
Why Pacquiao and Mayweather will have trouble against each other
Neither man has ever faced an opponent quite like the other, which makes their May 2 fight all the more interesting

The irresistible force finally gets to go after the immovable object. 

The die is cast.  

And so on and so forth. 

You can have all the clichés in the world and yet still find ways to tickle the imagination of every imaginable boxing fan in the world. 

Yes, this one is the biggest fight ever for people 40 and below, boxing fans or not.  

The only drama left is how this fight will measure up against another all-time great fight – the 1971 Muhammad Ali-Jose Frazier fight.

In terms of revenue and hype, the Floyd Mayweather Jr – Manny Pacquiao fight has already eclipsed many records even before they are weighed in. 

The gate-receipts, the pay-per-views – they are guaranteed to be broken. 

The only question that remains: Between a wall and a train, which one will cave in? 


A study in contrast

Mayweather and Pacquiao have contrasting fight styles. They can either bore us to death or pump us to heavens. 

Mayweather possesses the best defense in boxing today while Pacquiao’s whirlwind offense makes him the most exciting fighter in his generation.

Both can dictate the tempo of the fight. Both can methodically cut down their opponent. And both can end the fight quickly and swiftly.   

Yet both can lose either way. 

Mayweather has not faced a fighter as quick as energetic as Pacquiao whose legendary foot speed and a pair explosive pair of hands have broken down Hall of Fame boxers – plenty of them.

While Mayweather has been extremely good at predicting and anticipating punches of his opponents that enabled him to perfect his shoulder-roll defense, he has not seen plenty of right hooks from a southpaw.

The right hook is an underestimated punch in Pacquiao’s offensive arsenal.  By itself, it can knock down an average fighter.  When used to set up his left straight, it can be fatal.

Their punches are their strength 

Mayweather has not been hit by the kind of lethal left straight, the one money punch of Pacquiao that is feared most and that has disfigured many A-1 opponents. 

Pacquiao is likewise by no means a conventional southpaw. Neither is he the simple 1-2-3 combination fighter. He throws punches in awkward angles and in bunches – sometimes up to a dozen. In spurts and anytime in any round. 

Pacquiao does not use too many jabs which makes the left counters of Mayweather and his slapping and clubbing left hooks ineffective. 

But the one Mayweather punch that will bother Pacquiao are his drop jabs. 

With his reach advantage, Mayweather can unsettle and rattle Pacquiao. With his superior ring intelligence, he can frustrate the Filipino boxing icon. 

Pace and tempo 

If Mayweather can dictate the pace and tempo of the fight, he will win via decision. But it will be close.

It will also pay if Mayweather can keep Pacquiao from throwing more than 50 punches per round. He will have to hope that the accuracy of the Filipino sharpshooter dips to less than 30 percent. And he has to make sure Manny lands less power punches each round. 

At the same time, he will have to make Pacquiao respect his punches. The only puncher Pacquiao feared is Juan Manuel Marquez. 

Mayweather will likely frustrate Pacquiao and prevent him from teeing off by using his ring generalship and guile. That is where the edge goes to Mayweather – his ring intelligence. 

But he has never been put to test against a boxer of Pacquiao’s caliber, one who can dart in and dart out. Move side to side. And explode as he wishes.

In the end, this match is a complicated mathematics and sabermetrics. He who solves the problem that his opponent is will go home the winner. –

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