Mayweather and Pacquiao two legends, but who is truly the best?
By Rameez Haider: Boxing legacies is a matter of personal opinion, in my opinion legends are those granted with God given abilities to perform in the squared circle. But As Floyd Mayweather also says, it’s all about hard work and dedication.
My previous article on Freddie Roach again opened up the debate between Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather, people arguing as to whether Pacquiao is a legend, whether Mayweather is ducking Pacquiao etc etc. So I decided to answer the debate with my opinion. In order to define both boxers as true legends and to show why I feel one boxer is better than the other, I am going to break down their achievements, their opponents and their styles.
Both boxers are multi weight champions, having climbed from lightweight right through to middle weight. This in itself is worthy of ensuring both boxers will go down as legends. Pacquiao was voted fighter of the decade and this is majorly down to the period of time in which he fought the likes of Marquez, De La Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, Margarito etc and destroyed everyone in his path.
Mayweather also beat a number of top fighters but was not as active as Pacquiao and due to his style, did not have the kind of explosive performances in many people’s opinion. The fact still remains that both boxers have climbed from the same weight up to the middleweight, which for me dispels any argument of Pacquaio being on performance enhancing drugs, as any true boxing fan knows, power is nothing without the technique to land the shots, which Pacquiao has been exceptional at, just ask Ricky Hatton.
The big argument that boxing fans who don’t truly know the sport always have, is how each fighter faired against the same opponent. This argument holds no weight as different styles have a different affect on the opponent. Both boxers have fought some exceptional boxers be it Gatti, Castillo, Morales etc, but there are some interesting points to be made in comparing some of the same opponents they have faced.
When Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya, he fought him in close to his prime and at De La Hoya’s preferred middle weight. In this fight Mayweather was pushed more than possibly any other fight, yet still showed his exceptional talent in order to win this fight.
Pacquiao looked sensational in defeating De La Hoya, however this was a boxer at the end of his career fighting at welterweight where he was drained, dehydrated and a shell of his former self. When Mayweather fought Hatton, Hatton was with his long standing trainer Billy Graham and undefeated yet Mayweather dispatched Hatton like it was a sparring session.
When Pacquiao fought Hatton again he was stunning in the way he took Hatton out, but this was after Hatton had lost his undefeated record and was in pieces in term of his psychological state and in his camp with Mayweather Snr as his coach. When Mayweather fought Cotto he fought him at his preferred middleweight, not a catch weight like Pacquiao which again left Cotto weight drained.
This is not to take anything away from Pacquiao he was excellent in these fights but facts are facts. The biggest comparison is when Mayweather fought Marquez. Everyone at the time argued Mayweather only won this so easily as this was at welterweight and Marquez could not fight at 147 pounds, yet this is the same weight at which Marquez knocked Pacquiao out. However what was important is that Marquez was chasing shadows the whole fight and was made to look silly against Mayweather as opposed to Pacquiao, whose hardest fights have been against Marquez. Even Marquez himself believes that Mayweather would beat Pacquiao with relative ease.
The final debate is the boxing styles both employ. Mayweather has the hit and don’t get hit, which involves exceptional foot work, unbelievable defensive abilities, great counter punching and combinations. Pacquiao has unbelievable offensive abilities, with his punch power, technique and unbelievable hand speed. Again this all comes down to individuals opinions on style, for me boxing is not just about being able to throw fast punches but it is about the sweet science, and for this reason without question Mayweather wins this hands down.
You only have to see the way in which Mayweather schools his opponents, how he adapts to them and situations in the ring. People also under rate his hand speed, but true fans know how fast Mayweather’s counter punching combinations are. But let’s not take anything away from Pacquiao, his style brings excitement as it is come forward, take a shot but give four or five back. This is why Pacquiao’s fights will attract the casual boxing fan who wants to see excitement and knock outs, whereas the more hardcore fans will always be baffled by the undeniable talent Mayweather possesses.
In summary, it is clear that both boxers will go down as legends for some very similar and some majorly different reasons. Anyone who says Pacquiao is not a legend due to his knockout loss, just look back at the likes of Ali, Foreman, Lewis and even Klitscho, who suffered bad knock downs and knock outs yet still came back to cement their legacies in the history of the sport. But for me it is clear that Mayweather has to go down as the better fighter and unlike many other fans, I am a big fan of both and am not biased towards either fighter, but I simply believe Mayweather is the best boxer on the planet by a long way and has been for a long time.