LAS VEGAS, USA – It’s only Monday, April 27, a day before the “grand arrival” at the MGM Grand that kicks off the official start of fight week, but fans were already waiting outside the Mayweather Boxing Club by the dozens to get a glimpse of the undefeated boxer.
The gym remained off limits to non-team personnel after 1:30 pm. Floyd Mayweather Jr avoids contact with outsiders as a precaution against illness on fight week. His training schedule varies as he tapers down, leaving The Money Team with time to kill in the parking lot.
Earlier in the day, ESPN SportsCenter revealed the results of a Twitter poll which found that 54% of respondents favored Manny Pacquiao to defeat Mayweather when the two face off on Saturday, May 2.
One of the reasons some are picking Pacquiao to pull off the upset is his southpaw stance, which enables him to throw his powerful cross from a different angle than most fighters. Some feel Mayweather has had trouble with lefties, which is a belief Mayweather’s uncle Jeff Mayweather finds preposterous.
“It’s stupid to say that when he’s fought 8 southpaws. It’s dumb for anybody to even say that,” said Jeff Mayweather, who accrued a 32-10-5 (10 knockouts) record between 1988-1997.
“Floyd can make adjustments. Manny can’t. Manny fights one way, and that’s all he’s gonna do. With Floyd making adjustments, that’s gonna be the difference, and it won’t take long.”
Indeed Mayweather, who is unbeaten at 47-0 (26 KOs), is 8-0 (4 KOs) when facing left-handed boxers Zab Judah, DeMarcus Corley, Reggie Sanders, Bobby Giepert, Jesus Chavez, Shamba Mitchell, Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero.
Corley, who sparred 10 or 12 rounds with Mayweather for this camp, gave Mayweather one of his toughest fights in 2004. He says Mayweather has difficulty with southpaws; just not southpaws who fight like Pacquiao.
“In a way, he has trouble but I’m a different fighter from Manny Pacquiao. I’m not gonna jump in there to get caught and make mistakes like he’s gonna do,” said Corley, a former WBO junior welterweight champion.
“If Manny was more of a patient fighter, then he may have a better chance at catching Floyd in the exchange for punches but you can’t wait for Floyd because he’s so progressive and accurate when he’s in thinking mode.”
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) wrapped up his final training session at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles before making the trek to Las Vegas via caravan. Pacquiao will not participate in the traditional grand arrival at the MGM Grand at 2 pm on Tuesday, and will instead host his own fan rally at the Mandalay Bay at 11 am.
An official word as to why Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum withdrew his fighter from the event wasn’t given, but it’s speculated that Arum's past issues with the MGM Grand’s perceived favoritism of Mayweather is at least partially to blame.
A tweet from the MGM's official Twitter sought to dispel those talks, issuing a tweet saying "We aren't picking sides..."
Pacquiao past his prime – Jeff Mayweather
Jeff Mayweather feels the fight will be easier than many expect, saying that Pacquiao hasn’t shown the same explosive form that earned him the Boxing Writers Association of America laurel for Fighter of the Decade in 2010.
“People are thinking about the Manny from 5 years ago, when he had his good run. But after that, Floyd told him to take a blood test and the knockouts stopped,” said Jeff Mayweather.
“I think Floyd hasn’t been stopped, Manny has been stopped 3 times. The guy that knocked him out cold [Juan Manuel Marquez], Floyd played with him after being off for a year and a half. All that gotta be taken into consideration. People are holding on to the Manny of 5 years ago. Manny ain’t done shit since then. He’s won decisions against weak opposition.”
Then Mayweather retracts, slightly. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. All of them weren’t weak.”
Photo by Ryan Songalia
Corley, 40, and former two-division champion Zab Judah, 37, were two of the elder statesmen of Mayweather’s sparring roster, working limited rounds while younger fighters gave Mayweather the volume punching that he is expected to encounter when he faces Pacquiao.
Corley thinks Mayweather and Pacquiao will get a feel for the other’s style in the early rounds before the pace picks up.
“The first 4 rounds is gonna be a chess match. Manny’s going to be very aggressive, jumping in and out. Floyd is going to be strategizing, planting traps for him, picking him out the first 4 rounds,” said Corley. “Five, 6, 7, 8, it’s going to be all going down for Manny Pacquiao. I’m predicting Floyd will stop Manny in the 10th or 11th round.
“[Pacquiao’s] aggressiveness is good for him, but the mistakes he makes by being aggressive is perfect for Floyd. You can’t be aggressive and make mistakes when you’re fighting someone with hand speed and accuracy, punching the way he is.”
After nearly 3 hours of waiting, The Money Team disappeared inside without a word and suddenly it dawned on all those outside that Mayweather slipped though a back entrance to the gym to begin work. Even outside the ring, “Money” Mayweather was difficult to pin down. – Rappler.com