Pacquiao Watch: The X-factors – age and legs

Edwin G. Espejo

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Pacquiao Watch: The X-factors – age and legs
Still holding superb boxing skills, age is not really a factor with Pacquiao and Mayweather, but their legs are

The Las Vegas moneyline says Manny Pacquiao is almost 2-1 underdog when he goes up against Floyd Mayweather Jr on May 2 (May 3 in Manila).

It is the first time in 7 years Pacquiao is stacked up against a betting favorite. The last time it happened, he was fighting a bigger fighter and a bigger boxing superstar who went by the name Oscar de la Hoya.

Everybody knew Pacquiao humbled de la Hoya into quitting and retiring after a dominant career-defining 9th round technical knockout win.

De la Hoya was 35 years old when he fought Pacquiao. Pacquiao is 36 and will turn 37 in December.

Mayweather is now 38.

The last time Manny Pacquiao was a significant underdog was his 2008 win against Oscar de la Hoya. Gerry Penalosa thinks we'll see a similar situation in Pacquiao's next outing as an underdog. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Pacquiao and Mayweather however are nowhere near the state of decline that De la Hoya was in when he fought his last professional fight against the Filipino, quitting in his stool before the sound of the bell for the 9th round.

Pacquiao and Mayweather are excellent specimens of extraordinary athletes, naturally gifted if not freaks of nature.

While they may have seen their best years, they are still the best in the business – pound for pound.

So age is not really a big factor between the two of them.

The legs are.

While Pacquiao is almost two years younger the Mayweather, he has already plenty of mileage on his feet.

64 fights to 47.

407 rounds to 363.

All against Pacquiao.

Average rounds per fight is 6 to 7 in favor of Pacquiao (it took Pacquiao shorter time to demolish his opponents, on the average).

Those pairs of legs are like the tires of your cars. The longer years they are spent running on the road, the more they lose treads. They lose traction. When you lose traction, you lose speed.

Pacquiao camp insiders, including Freddie Roach, say the Filipino boxing icon regularly suffers leg cramps during training and sometimes in actual fights. They are good indications that Pacquiao becomes dehydrated more often. He is losing steam as fights wear on.

But make no mistake, I will take a ‘tired’ Pacquiao going into the late rounds against anybody in the business.

Mayweather on the other hand has become more hittable against volume punchers.

Marcos Maidana, in their first fight, crowded Mayweather like no other.

For the first time, Mayweather’s pretty face grew lumps, his lips busted and took punches more than anyone he had fought against during the last 5 years.

Is he slipping? Pacquiao coach Freddie Roach says so.

Roach is good at seeing signs of deterioration, himself a product of one – a case of overstaying his welcome.

He once said de la Hoya cannot pull it (the trigger) anymore. Now he is saying Mayweather’s legs are no longer there.

Well, at least against the likes of Pacquiao.

And there is only one Pacquiao.

Mayweather can hide but he cannot run. And when he cannot run, Pacquiao will run roughshod on him. –

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