Pacquiao Watch: The ring smarts

Edwin G. Espejo

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Pacquiao Watch: The ring smarts
Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao are past their physical primes that's why an important factor in their upcoming fight will be how smart they box

In a battle of contrasting styles, the guy who dictates the tempo of the fight will have an edge.

As their styles are perfect counterfoils to each other, it is not too farfetched the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao bout, in the end, will disappoint compared to other epic battles that came before theirs.

Yahoo’s Kevin Iole wishes Mayweather and Pacquiao will approximate the level of intensity and ferocity Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns displayed when they traded bombs in what now many considered as the greatest 3 rounds of professional boxing. 7 minutes and 52 seconds to be precise.

Others are wondering how it will compare to the legendary 1971 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier classic that set the bar for what marquee fights are all about.

What separates the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight from the two other greatest boxing encounters of all time is the primacy of their ages.

Hagler was 31 when he fought the 27-year-old Hearns.

Ali was 29 and just two fights removed from forced inactivity after he was stripped of his license for refusing to go to war against the Vietcongs.

Frazier was 27 who, like Ali, was also an Olympic gold medalist.

Pacquiao is now 36 while Mayweather is 38.

They are by no means shot fighters but the best of their years came 5 or 6 years ago when they first came close to fighting each other.

But as they added years leaving their prime, they brought along with them the wisdom and ring smart of the many fights they have logged.

Mayweather, for one and since becoming the top marquee fighter and PPV draw, added business acumen to his ring smart, carefully selecting opponents that have trouble with his style and no patience to carefully go after him.

Meanwhile, by force of the times and circumstances, Pacquiao opted to transform himself from a pure slugger to a more complete and finesse fighter.

Now on the final mile of their long journeys to boxing immortality, the two will rely on their guile and ring intelligence to outsmart and outpace each other on May 2 (May 3 in Manila).

Mayweather has the definitive edge over Pacquiao as he is a natural and classic boxer.

One of the most gifted defensive fighters of all time, Mayweather is an intelligent boxer who knows how to read and adjust to the fighting style of the man across his ring corner.

Very few were able to cut the ring and force the hands of Mayweather into a slugfest. Those who thought they had him, ended up paying dearly.

Did we mention he is undefeated?

But his ring guile and business savvy may not help and even fail him against Pacquiao.

Because he has not fought the likes of Pacquiao (is there anybody like the Filipino sports great?), his ring smart will be tested.

Pacquiao does not fight in burst. His pace is relentless. The angles from where his punches come from will provide difficulties for Mayweather. Over the years, he morphed into a complete fighter and rediscovered the other tool in his arsenal – the right hand.

Pacquiao however also has repeatedly displayed impatience and disinterest running after fighters who refuse to engage – the likes of Shane Mosley, Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri. He can be careless, too as shown by his two knockout defeats – against Rustico Torrecampo and Juan Manuel Marquez

Against Mayweather, he needs to be patient but persistent. He needs to be the aggressive but calculating predator.

To Pacquiao’s rescue, Mayweather has not seen a fighter that has better foot and hand speed like him.

That offsets Pacquiao facing the unknown in Mayweather as an equally fast and quick puncher.

But because both fighters are treading into an unknown territory, their ring wisdom will be another X-factor in the fight.

Who has the better ring smart?

We have 3 Sundays to go to know.


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