Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Manny Pacquiao Can Beat Floyd Mayweather, Jr.?

The Fight Of The Century | May 2nd, 2015 in Las Vegas (147 pounds)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0, 26 KO) -vs- Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KO)

How Manny Pacquiao Can Beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.


What will it take to conquer the world’s best boxer? Oscar De La Hoya, Roy Jones Jr. and others weigh in.


Boxing people are virtually unanimous in picking undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. to stay that way come May 2. And yet, few expert jaws will drop if Manny Pacquiao puts the first stain on Mayweather’s 47-0 record.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. after knocking down Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009.

At age 36, Pacquiao is two years younger than his rival. His hand and foot speed are on par with Mayweather’s. And though the Pac-Man lags far behind Mayweather defensively, he has a decided edge in punching power.

Still, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, acknowledges that his charge will have to come up with “the perfect fight” to win the upcoming megabout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

What would the perfect Pacquiao fight entail? A number of top current and former boxers gave their opinions.

The Golden Boy’s Perspective

Besides being a former six-division world champion, Oscar De La Hoya has a unique distinction: He won on a judge’s scorecard against Mayweather. De La Hoya lost a split decision to Mayweather in 2007.

But Pacquiao retired De La Hoya after eight rounds in 2008. “If Mayweather fights the Pacquiao who fought me, he is in for some trouble,” De La Hoya said.

Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007

The conventional view of this fight is that it is a matchup of power (Pacquiao) against elusiveness (Mayweather), but De La Hoya sees Pacquiao’s movement as pivotal. “Mayweather has never fought a lefty who moves in and out, side to side like Pacquiao,” De La Hoya said. “Pacquiao’s footwork is the key. Also, he has to make Mayweather open up and engage, then punch when Mayweather is punching.”

De La Hoya recommends jabbing over Mayweather’s defensive guard. “And bring that great left of his down the middle.”

The Man Who Shook Mayweather

Hall of Famer Shane Mosley went the distance against both Pacquiao and Mayweather and lost. But in the second round of his 2010 tussle with Mayweather, Mosley landed a short right hand that shook Mayweather to the soles of his boxing boots.

Mosley staggered Mayweather in 2010.

Mosley is convinced that it wasn’t just a lucky shot. The problem is keeping it up for 12 rounds.

“Mayweather has an incredible defense and makes great adjustments,” Mosley said. “But a lot of people act as though he can’t be hit. I think I proved that is not true. When I hit him, he was really hurt. But he grabbed and I couldn’t finish him off.”

Mosley’s prescription: “Pacquiao has to keep busy. Punch from angles.”

The View From the Left

Robert Guerrero—a left-handed fighter, like Pacquiao—is one of the few southpaws Mayweather has faced in recent years. In 2013, Mayweather defeated Guerrero in a lopsided decision, demonstrating an ability to adapt to lefty opposition.

Mayweather during the Guerrero fight.

“Mayweather’s reaction time is amazing,” Guerrero said. “He sees what you are about to throw and is out of there before you can punch.”

Guerrero’s counsel is as much psychological as physical. “Pacquiao has to be very aggressive, but he can’t afford to get frustrated when he misses.”

Punch, Punch, Punch

Throughout the fight world, there is one common piece of advice for Pacquiao: Throw a ton of punches.

“Like 100 per round,” said Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, whose only loss came against Mayweather in 2013. In terms of sheer numbers, Mayweather throws far fewer punches than other 147 pounders, but he is so precise—and so adept at not getting hit—that he connects with more shots. The only way to overcome it, boxers say, is with volume.

That said, “pressure is not just a matter of throwing a lot of punches,” former welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi said. “You have to make the other guy feel the fear of being hit. You have to be firing hard shots. Pacquiao did that the whole fight against [Miguel] Cotto, but he has not done it since then.” Pacquiao’s 12-round technical knockout of Cotto was in 2009.

Said Alvarez, who fights the tough James Kirkland on May 9: “Does Manny still have that much energy? We’ll see.”

Boom Boom to the Body

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini was the quintessential in-your-chest boxer. Asked what kind of strategy he would suggest, Mancini said, “Look at the first Mayweather-[Marcos] Maidana bout. Floyd does not like to fight at a fast pace. Pacquiao has to dictate the tempo. Put the pedal to the metal for three minutes every round.”

Pacquiao in training in Los Angeles last week

Mancini noted that Mayweather likes to lean to his right, which puts him in the line of fire of Pacquiao’s left.

Mayweather also likes to fight in space. When opponents get too close for comfort, he will put up his left forearm in their neck or chest. “When he does that,” Mancini said, “Pacquiao has to rip a hook to the body.”

Be Careful

All agree that Pacquiao has the foot speed to disrupt Mayweather. But will Pacquiao use that footwork or just recklessly go for it?

If Pacquiao chases Mayweather around the ring, looking to plant that one big left, it figures to be a long night for him—or perhaps a short one, as was the case in his sixth-round knockout loss in 2012 to Juan Manuel Marquez.

“Pacquiao has to throw combinations—but not long combinations,” said legendary former champion Roy Jones Jr. “Two or three punches at time. Floyd is the best counter-puncher in boxing, and if Pacquiao throws more than three-punch combos, he is going to catch a hard counter.”

The Final Analysis

“There is no one way to beat a guy like Mayweather,” said Sugar Ray Leonard, one of the greatest welterweights of all time, a fighter with whom Mayweather is often compared. Leonard once beat Floyd Mayweather Sr., the man who bequeathed Floyd Mayweather Jr. his defensive repertoire.

Pacman may be the only boxer w/ the power & speed to finally hurt and potentially put a stop to
Pretty Boy's reign as the undisputed pound-for-pound best boxer alive

If Leonard were advising Pacquiao, he would tell him, “Make him respect you. [Don’t] fall prey to his antics on the ropes because he is one of the best counter-punchers out there.

“It will be kind of a cat-and-mouse game. A chess match. I would throw more body shots than most people throw,” Leonard said. “But again, there’s just not one way to beat Mayweather.” — Gordon Marino | The Wall Street Journal

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