Pacquiao vs Mayweather: Analyzing the fear factor

Edwin G. Espejo
Pacquiao vs Mayweather: Analyzing the fear factor
What story will the fighters' eyes tell when they meet in the ring? A look at their recent pasts may give us clues

In Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao rest the fearsome reputation as two of the best pound for pound boxers in the world.

Both have instilled fears against pretenders for different reasons. 

Mayweather for being a difficult fighter because of his guile and ring intelligence.

Pacquiao for being too unorthodox with his foot and hand speed that go along with enormous power in addition to being a southpaw.

There were periods in their careers when nobody wanted to be inside the ring with either of the two boxers except the referee. 

By quirks of fate, the two eventually ended up in the same division where the inevitable has to happen.

Some of their fearsome reputations may now be gone but they are still the best of their generation.

When they collide for an epochal fight on May 2, one who will be overwhelmed by fear will have one foot in the loser’s box.

Mayweather has been vilified for cherry picking opponents. 

To his credit, the guys many critics said he avoided in their prime were bigger boxers than he was then. 

Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley were all already full blown welterweights while Mayweather was just coming out after dominating the junior welterweight division in 2005. All, including Mayweather, were in their prime back then. Ten years have since gone and a lot more. 

He did eventually face a competitive Miguel Cotto, winning a 12-round unanimous decision. But by then, much of Cotto’s zip was gone after suffering KO losses to Margarito and Pacquiao. 

In contrast, since his shocking TKO victory over consensus and lineal featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera, Pacquiao fought the best in every division he toiled, winning world titles in the process. 

Even when he himself agreed Juan Manuel Marquez was a difficult fight after their first encounter that ended in a bloody controversial draw, Pacquiao never backed down.  He fought the Mexican 3 more times, eking out two split decision wins before being knocked out cold in their 4th fight. 

Pacquiao has seen them all. 

Brawlers. Boxers. Punchers. Avoiders. Even runners. 

In the last 5 years, the two have come close and then far from fighting each other.

It is believed that Mayweather finds Pacquiao too unorthodox for his comfort. Five years ago, the consensus was the electric Filipino boxing will give him the best competition and probably hand the American his first loss. 

When Pacquiao stopped knocking out opponents and got knocked out himself during that period, Mayweather thought his greatest rival was ripe for the picking.

Coupled with the economics of making the ‘Fight of a Lifetime’ happen, Mayweather finally relented to a date with history and destiny. 

But who will be destiny’s child on the 2nd of May?

Both having not fought opponents that resemble the other’s style, it will be a test of courage and resilience for Mayweather and Pacquiao. 

The critical moments of the fight are the first four rounds when one of them tries to impose their will against the other.

But imposing one’s will over the other may not be enough. One must instill fear.

Mayweather will have to make Pacquiao respect his punches because the only way the ‘Man from Gensan’ will stop running after him is when he will feel the American’s punches. 

They only way to make Pacquiao hesitate and tentative is the sting of Mayweather’s punches which many believe will not be enough. 

Pacquiao has taken a lot of bigger punches and Mayweather is the lesser of them. 

On the flipside, Pacquiao will have to prove that he is the only man capable of hurting the Las Vegas denizen and reinforce that perceived fear defeat of Mayweather.

For frankly, it is the inordinate fear of losing that Mayweather took the longest time to fight Pacquiao. 

Fear factor. 

It is nice to see a hint of it in their eyes during the introduction and touching of gloves in the middle of the four-cornered ring.

Let us hope their eyes will be shown up close in between rounds thereafter.

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