The Anatomy of Two Fighters – Mayweather and Pacquiao
By Alex Piner: It’s puzzling how many can simply conclude that Floyd shall win solely on the basis of his 0-loss card. Undeniably it is an important element, but certainly not the only factor to consider. When we look into the annals of great fighter like Ali, Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Holyfield, Hagler, etc…..
MAYWEATHER JR. (41W, 25KO) PACQUIAO (53W, 38KO, 3L, 2D)
Period Fights W KO KO % AVE LBS Period Fights W KO KO % L
D AVE LBS
1995 0 114 *1995 10 10 4 40% 98
1996 – 2000 24 24 18 75% 125 1996 – 2000 21 20 17 66% 1 122
2001 – 2005 11 11 6 54% 136 2001 – 2005 14 10 10 71% 2/ 2 132
2006 – 2010 6 6 1 16% 147 2006 – 2010 12 12 7 58% 145
2011 1 147
Amateur W L Amateur W L
84 6 60 4
*Manny started his Pro-career a year earlier then Floyd
These men had their share of loses, but one thing that can’t be overlooked is how they rose from the ashes as boxing giants. We need to look beyond the obvious and dig further down into the stats, psyche and character of the fighters. Arrows are sure to fly whenever Floyd and Manny are discussed. We all need an open mind to objectively compare the two elite fighters. To simplify things, let’s divide their 15 years in the pro-league into three phases.
WEIGHT FACTOR. Pac had a dramatic weight increase from 1995 to 2000. He was then an under-aged 16 year old kid who turned pro and gained about 24 pounds through his adolescent years. Floyd at that time was already turning 20 when he entered the pro league. Other than that, both boxers’ average weight increases were within the norm.
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Floyd’s advantage over Pac is his 0-loss card. Pacquiao on the other hand, is the only 8 division world champion, the first to win 10 world titles, and the first to win lineal championship in 4 weight classes. Let’s go beyond the obvious and dissect the quality of their wins. Overall, 61% of Floyds wins were by KO, while Pac is 71%. When we further break this down into three phases, a different picture emerges.
1st PHASE (1996-2000): When Floyd entered the pro-league, he was ripe. In fact, he already peaked in KO wins at 75% within the first 5 years. Floyd’s amateur stint honed him into an enigmatic boxer whose style bewildered his opponents. Meanwhile, Pac turned pro at a tender age of 16. At that time, he sorely lacked the advantages that Floyd had in the areas of nutrition, coaching, training and equipment. Pac’s KO wins was at 66% with one loss. After 6 years, Asia had become too small for the 22 year old boxer.
2nd PHASE (2001-2005): Floyd’s KO wins slid down to 54% as he faced much tougher opponents. He evolved into a master defense tactician with impeccable timing, grace and style . Clearly, he was a cut above the rest. Floyd was besieged by adulation, his charisma magnetized even his detractors, and some even turned cultic. In 2001, the collaboration between Pac and Roach begun. Under Roach’s tutelage, Pac was given the technical tools he needed to shift his talent into high gear. Pac broke into the US scene as a substitute boxer against an African phenomenon Ledwaba. Roach and Pac had two weeks to prepare for this fight. What was supposed to be a walk in the park for Ledwaba turned into his worst nightmare on the 7th round. Pac pressed harder and took a lot of risks in the ensuing years. However, this electrifying style cost him a price tag of 2 losses and 2 draws. Pac remained unfazed and his KO wins managed to peak at 71%.
3rd PHASE (2006-2010): At this time, both boxers attained prominence. Floyd’s KO stats went south at 16%. He only had 1 KO win in all the 6 fights he faced the entire 5 year period. Floyd’s slacking is a big mystery and no explanation has been given. Many attribute this to Floyd’s brittle hands or may be he simply didn’t care. Despite the sporadic absence in the sport, his fans gave him a pass, even to the point of condoning his spurts of misdemeanor and brushes with the law. Pac’s KO stats went down to 58% meaning that for every two fights, he won 1 via KO. By any standard, it is an impressive record, since he faced bigger and top of the line challengers in different weight divisions. This could also mean that Roach had reinforced Pac’s defensive moves and toned down his exciting but risky offensive play. At that time, Team Pacquiao appeared to have put their sights on Floyd. Hence, they pitted Pac against many of Floyd’s conquests and those he seemingly avoided, with all the intention of surpassing Floyd’s performance. The boxing community took notice but this strategy backfired on Pac. Floyd managed to deflect the likes of Cotto, Margarito, Clottey and now Pac was like a gum stuck to his shoe. Floyd does not respond kindly when taken out of his comfort zone. Floyd is very protective over his 0-loss card, hence, no one can dictate whom he will fight next. He does the picking himself and in his own terms. Instinctively or ill-advised, Floyd initiated a nasty crusade to discredit Pacquiao as a PED user.
Floyd and Pac are in different stages in their careers. Floyd’s stats and frequency of fights show an apparent deceleration that started four years ago. Whether it was by design or unintended is immaterial. Floyd believes that he can beat everyone, even the law. This is exactly what makes him erratic, unpredictable and yes, dangerous. He has already proven that. His advisers should rein him back to the mainstream; leave the policing to the drug experts; and just do what everyone is doing. On the other hand, Pac’s stats are active and sustained by his continued domination in the ring. He is known for his exciting fights but the recent decline in KO wins has become a source of disappointment among his fans that are addicted to his offensive gems.
Truth be told, Floyd’s PED accusations has taken Pac hostage. The well-funded lawsuit was a brilliant strategic move. Golden Boy Promotions already recoiled while confusion now surrounds Team Mayweather. On the down-side, for as long as this fight is up in the air, possible contenders for Pacquiao are likely to be deemed second-rate picks. Shifting to junior middleweight limits his chances to dominate this division because of his smaller physique. Attaining the pinnacle of Pacquiao’s marketability at this point has become more difficult and costlier; hence, the lawsuit filed on Floyd was completely warranted.
Floyd’s 16 month inactivity draws questions on his current skills. Has he become rusty or is he even better because of less wear and tear? Outside of Floyd’s circle, no one truly knows his physical condition. People may just watch the Ortiz fight to gauge how Floyd could measure up to Manny or vice-versa. Hence, all roads still lead to these 2 boxers. The fact that Floyd chose a lesser opponent insinuates self-doubt, otherwise, he could have confidently chosen Pac. Fighting Ortiz is his biggest professional and financial gamble Floyd has made in his entire career. The only big windfall Floyd can ever expect at this point will come from the Pacquiao match-up. The latest figure dangled was 60M, which is a dream come true for any boxer. If he loses to Ortiz, this will certainly vanish into thin air.
One thing is certain, there will be no meeting of the minds. This match-up simply provokes a non-ending wild chatter and quite possibly a slugfest. Floyd has to realize that the world changed while he was sleeping. Whether he likes it or not, defeating Pac is the thing that can respectably move him out of his self-imposed dormancy that casts reservations on his winnability. The pressure is heavier on Floyd since he has to protect his 0-card, the very soul of his identity. Then he has legal and personal problems that are starting to overtake him. If Floyd loses, this will completely decimate his world. Finally, there is this lingering issue about his brittle hands which many believe is the reason behind his sabbatical leaves. On the other side of the ring, the pressure on Pac is lesser. He has no legal or personal crisis to distract him so far. He showed grace when he lost three times in the past and consistently emerged a better fighter. Pac’s outlook is simple, he honors God with a thankful heart, has not forgotten where he came from and has defined his timeline. Even if he loses, Pac knows that his fans will not abandon him. He has already set in motion another profession that gives him bigger platform to serve people in a more significant way.