On Saturday night Floyd Mayweather walked out of the MGM grand casino as the unified 147lb and 154lb champion, notching up a 46th straight career victory. Whilst Mayweather emerged victorious, the routine Floyd performance most had expected failed to materialize. Landing 221 of 858 thrown, Marcos Maidana had connected more frequently on Floyd than any other opponent in his career.
Mayweather has shown the ability to adapt to any style, find the holes in his opposition and exploit them. Having landed 230 of 426 thrown, Mayweather once again found a way to win following a turbulent beginning. Floyd’s mixed performance against a pressure fighter once again raised the comparisons with Manny Pacquiao, and how ‘Money May’ would contain the ‘Pacman’ should they ever exchange leather in the ring.
When we breakdown and analyze Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, fans and critics spin into a whirlwind of accusations and theories into why the bout to break all box office records has not taken place. If we leave those points to one side, we can paint a clearer picture of what may happen in the ring. Taking into account that Manny Pacquiao has racked up more mileage on the career clock, as evidenced in recent years, this remains the fight the world craves to see.
Floyd Mayweather speaking to assembled media in the lead up to his clash with Marcos Maidana, reinforced why he has continued to experience success in his twilight years, “They can go to the body good, I still find a way to win. They can have power, I still find a way to win. They can have a great jab, I still find a way to win.” Few could dispute Floyd’s statement.
Many will argue that Jose Luis Castillo should have gotten the decision over Mayweather. Whilst Castillo arguably should have gotten the nod on the scorecards, Mayweather convincingly defeated Castillo in their rematch months later. The ‘May-Vinci’ code remained largely unsolved.
Oscar De La Hoya pushed Floyd in a closely fought bout in their 2007 clash, but fell short in the final stretch. Oscar’s ‘blueprint’ is somewhat flawed. Pressure fighting may deliver cracks in the ‘May-Vinci’ code, breaking the code is another scenario altogether. Enter Manny Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao’s aggressive style has brought him world titles in eight divisions and worldwide acclaim. Pacquiao’s willingness to violently trade blows with any opponent has produced an icon in the sport, and a fan favourite. However, the ‘Pacman’ has metamorphosed from a slugger to a technically apt boxer puncher. Blurring handspeed fused perfectly with knockout power in addition to sublime footwork guiding the Filipino in and out of range, Pacquiao is a formidable force in the ring.
When matched against an effective counter puncher, Pacquiao’s aggressive style can expose numerous openings to capitalize on. In no other fight was this more apparent than Pacquiao’s rivalry with Juan Manuel Marquez. Styles make fights, and Pacquiao’s attacking style blended with Juan Manuel’s counter attacking style to produce a beautiful yet brutal series of fights.
When Floyd earned a lob sided decision over Marquez, many fans believed Mayweather had the remedy to nullify ‘Pacman.’ On the flip side, Manny’s powerful left hand and mesmerizing combinations can overwhelm opponents. Hardened fighters like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, have come out on the wrong end of exchanges with Pacquiao.
Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and most recently Marcos Maidana proved in closing the distance and applying calculated pressure, Floyd can be placed in difficult situations.
Manny Pacquiao fights out of a southpaw stance, something Floyd has never endeared to, would bring an intractable style for Mayweather to contain. Floyd’s patented shoulder roll may prove to be a hindrance, arguably designed for an orthodox opponent. Whilst Floyd rolls off the right hand, Pacquiao’s left hand may find a home around the right glove.
On the end of velocious Pacquiao combinations, Mayweather would have a challenging task to pick his spots and counter. Floyd has altered his footwork in recent years, choosing to hold his ground more frequently than years gone by. Another element that may work in Manny’s favour.
Floyd’s most successful weapon in his arsenal has arguably been the right hand. Gauging the distance with impeccable precision, Mayweather’s right hand has found the target often and cleanly before moving out of range. Marquez and most recently Timothy Bradley experienced much success with the right hand against Pacquiao, an opening Floyd would likely look to utilize.
In terms of adapting to your surroundings, Floyd has shown the ability to readjust on the job and make technical alterations off what an opponent has offered in the ring. Pacquiao has shown this aspect to a lesser extent.
Following Mayweather’s victory on Saturday night, legendary heavyweight Muhammad Ali took to social media to congratulate Floyd and press the issue of a Manny Pacquiao fight. Ali echoed the boxing fraternity’s desire to see ‘Money May’ and ‘Pacman’ collide in the ring. Whilst time has not been kind to both fighter’s in equal amounts, let us hope this fight is not left to the historians of future generations to speculate who was the greatest of this generation.