Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: It’s about composure and movement

By Boxing News - 11/23/2009 - Comments

pac44557By Harold Tackie: I have seen a lot of rubbish articles regarding the possible fight between two fighters regarded as pound-4-pound the best in the world. Some be Floyd Mayweather Jr. will get hammered because all he does is run; others believe World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will get hammered because he is not on par with Mayweather in any way, shape or form. The thing that strikes me is that the majority of these opinions are purely based on the last couple fights each man has had and based on their character. As easy at it is to disparaging to each fighter, I am going to try to base my opinion on fact and actual boxing, and leave emotion out of it.

First up is Mayweather. He may not be the most likeable man in the world. Some think of him as brash, others as arrogant; a lot think he just runs and ducks other fighters. While this may be true there are two points that stick out in my mind:-
Mayweather cares about money- pure and simple. Although he may be concerned with losing his 100% record, the main thing he cares about is getting paid. In regard to him ducking fighters like Mosley, if you have watched a hell of a lot boxing you would know that when he was coming up in the weights he actually wanted to fight Mosley, but his promoter at the time (Arum) said no, and so did Mosley himself. Now that he is one of the biggest draws in boxing (hate it or love it, but he is) everyone wants to fight him because they all know he is a cash cow and they will get well paid for stepping in the ring with him. As for Margarito, who in their right mind would fight a fighter who cheats by putting cement powder in his wraps? You would have to be an idiot.
He may be arrogant, he may be brash, he may like to brag. However, you can’t really call it bragging if you can back it up, and his record does speak for itself. De La Hoya at light-middleweight, Gatti, Judah when he was in good form, an undefeated Corrales, winning his first world title in his first year as a pro. I defy anyone who wouldn’t have an ego the size of Russia with a resume like that.

So he hand picks opponents. He’s earned the right to do so. No one can deny that Mayweather is the most gifted boxer since Roy Jones. His defence and movement are second to none and he has the most accurate right hand in boxing today. Some of reckon he has no power because he doesn’t knock his opponents out or stop them with the same regularity as Pacquiao- I say step in the ring with him and see how little power he has has. He is a fighter who never rarely goes beyond 3rd gear because he doesn’t have to, but when he does, he is devastating. If you don’t think so I advise you all to watch his fight with Gatti. The only other fighter I have seen being that devastating in recent times is Roy Jones when he was in his prime.

Then you have the man of the hour- Pacquiao. I’ll openly admit that I thought his wins against a weight-drained De La Hoya, and a reckless Hatton flattered him a lot. But I will happily admit that right now, he deserves his position as the pound-4-pound best. For me, Cotto is an outstanding fighter- usually able to adapt to any opponent put in front of him. But he got schooled last week Saturday. He was not able to live with the pace that Manny set. Sure, Pacquaio did get caught with a fair few shorts but he was able to take them and walk through them. He set an unbelievable work rate that Cotto simply could not live with.

Now for the potential fight. A lot of people think that this fight will come down to power, and speed and will be decided by a knock out. I don’t think so. I reckon this fight will come to who will be able to keep their composure the best, who has the better movement and who can adapt the best while in the ring. Both fighters are evenly matched in terms of speed so I don’t think that will be the major deciding factor. Both have equal power as power= force x speed, so you can really take that out of the equation as well. Movement is going to be vital in this fight as both men can punch in combinations when they choose to. I think Pacquiao will have to up his game in aspect because although he was able to out manoeuvre Cotto, he was a relatively stationary target until he decided to get on his bike to avoid further punishment. Pacquiao came forward in relatively straight lines and then came back in from the other side in order to confuse Cotto. Whereas, if you look at Mayweather, he also has lateral movement and can box on the back foot. With Pacquiao being very a come forward fighter, he could find himself walking onto a lot of straight rights and left hooks. Composure is also going to be very important as at some point, both fighters will come under pressure. The one who is to keep their composure the best will come out on top in this particular aspect. The last aspect is adaptability in the ring, which also ties into game plan. It is well established that Freddie Roach is a master tactician, but in front his man is a boxer who doesn’t use a game plan and adapts his game in the ring to an opponent. This will pose a whole host of problems mainly because watching previous fight footage will be pretty pointless. This means that Roach will have to come up with multiple plans in order to win this won, as Pacquiao has shown at times, in particular against Marquez, that he can have trouble against fighters who change their game plan mid way through a fight.

Unlike most of you who, apparently, watch a lot of boxing (but clearly don’t) I think this fight won’t be decided by a knock out, as both fighters have shown that they can take a punch at various points in their career. It’s going to be a points win. The key for Pacquiao winning this fight is not to become too punch drunk as he will get picked apart. He also has to develop his ability to adapt in the ring, as it is something he hasn’t had to do. The key for Mayweather is that he has to go through all the gears- something he has never had to do as he has never thought anyone who was on a similar level to him. However, I think that against Pacquiao, he has to show true potential and not underestimate Pacquiao. To do so would be a huge mistake. Who do I think will win in a potential fight between these two?….. a very close fight but I think Mayweather- I think this is the kind of challenge he has been waiting for- a fighter who can truly take him to the limit. But it will be a very close and amazing fight- assuming it goes ahead.

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