The boxing world weighs in on Mayweather vs. Pacquiao
This past Wednesday afternoon saw Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather hit the Staples Center in Los Angeles for their only face-to-face presser before their big fight on May 2.
With boxing’s biggest bout on the horizon, opinions, predictions, questions and comments are flying faster than a Manny combination or a Floyd right counter.
Let’s hope the action in the ring matches the non-stop activity of the pre-fight banter surrounding the most anticipated boxing match-up in years.
With Mayweather entering the fight undefeated and seemingly untouchable, he would come off the obvious betting favorite with everyone. But there are also a lot of fans who give Manny Pacquiao a real chance to pull off an upset.
While predictions and opinions may change many times by the first bell here are some recent opinions, musings, mullings and chatter surrounding the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao blockbuster.
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson: “The only guys that gave Pacquiao trouble in the past were guys who threw over 100 punches per round, guys like [Juan Manuel] Marquez, [Tim] Bradley. Floyd doesn’t throw anywhere near that. He’s more of a scientific fighter. Manny is perpetual motion. I don’t know. Mayweather is gonna have to fight.”
Former light heavyweight contender John Scully: “I have a hard time betting against Pacquiao against anybody but I have a harder time betting against Mayweather. The guy is special.”
Doug Fischer, Editor, RingTV.com: “I don’t know; it’s a toss-up fight. They both have styles and mentalities that will trouble the other. Mayweather is cool and confident. Pacquiao is a busy, powerful, explosive, fast southpaw.”
ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas: “It’s gonna be a big fight. I don’t know if it’s going to turn out to be an exciting fight. Let’s not forget; Floyd’s way is defense. He’s a conservative guy. He’s smart. He’s careful. He doesn’t always make scintillating fights but I give the underdog a good chance to win. If you are gonna beat Floyd, you have to have quick hands; Pacquiao has quick hands. Pacquiao punches in parcels for the most part. Another thing is you have to have quick feet to get to Floyd. For those reasons, I give Pacquiao a chance to pull off what would be a pretty good upset.” (Regarding the mental aspect of the fight) “Listen, you aren’t topping Floyd in that area. He hasn’t learned how to lose. He’s confident. He believes every time he gets in the ring, he’s gonna win. Pacquiao got knocked out not that long ago. It’s not that his confidence level can’t be OK but it can’t be as high as Floyd. But Floyd’s greatest strength may be his weakness. He gets intoxicated with his defence sometimes and forgets to throw back and maybe Manny can steal some parts of rounds. With a guy like Pacquiao, who has fast hands, Floyd could give Pacquiao a chance to outhustle and outwork him and steal some parts of rounds that way. He’s gonna have quick enough feet to stay with Floyd and close the gap, when he has to close the gap, to use his fast hands.”
Former two-division world champion (and current Mayweather sparring partner) Zab Judah: “I like the fight. I think Floyd has the style to beat Pacquiao. Defense is the name of the game. When I fought him – and I’m not slow – he was good. You gotta give Floyd props. Regardless of what happens, it is going to be an interesting fight.”
Former world champion (and current Mayweather sparring partner) DeMarcus Corley: “I have Floyd winning the fight hands down because of his style but Manny Pacquiao is also a very strong fighter.”
Yahoo! Sports columnist Kevin Iole: “Right now, I pick Mayweather in the fight because of his defensive ability. Pacquiao has a good chance because he has the style that gives Mayweather trouble. Mayweather is such a good boxer, such a good defensive fighter, so smart in the ring. As I stand right now, I pick Mayweather. I guess I reserve the right to change my mind after watching him in training camp but as it stands right now, I pick Mayweather.”
Former world champion, Hall-of-Famer Roberto Duran: “The fight should have been made five years ago. The people want to see the fight. Some are going for Pacquiao; some are going for Mayweather. I have always thought Pacquiao would win. I have studied his fights as I have studied Mayweather’s. In life, anyone could be fooled, so they could fool me but I think Pacquiao will beat Mayweather.”
Mayweather trainer (and father) Floyd Mayweather Sr.: “Floyd’s gonna beat the hell outta Manny. I’m telling you and you goin’ to see for yourself; it’s gonna be no contest. Believe me.”
Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach: “Manny has speed and power and he puts them together. People don’t realize how fast Manny is until they get in the ring with him and I think Floyd is gonna be a little bit surprised. I think Manny can knock him out somewhere along the way but we’re not gonna go in looking for that. We’re just gonna win one round at a time and if the knockout comes, it comes. I think that Floyd had a better chance of beating Manny Pacquiao five years ago than he does now. Floyd’s legs are more shot now and he has slowed down quite a bit. I think we can take advantage of that. Floyd says that he wants to exchange with fighters more now to make it a more exciting fight but I think that isn’t true. He doesn’t care about the fans at all and the only reason he has to exchange more is because his legs won’t take him out of the fight. If Floyd has to exchange with Manny Pacquiao, I think that’s good for us and that’s why I think we’re going to win this fight. I think that this fight will change the game of boxing.”
Hall of Fame promoter and Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum: “Mayweather is one of the great defensive fighters of all time. He has trouble with a fast southpaw who can punch. Not only do I think [Pacquiao] wins, I think he stops Mayweather.”
Former world champion “Vicious” Victor Ortiz: “That’s a tough question. That’s one of those things where you have to watch and see for yourself. I’ll be a fan that night. Why not?”
Mayweather trainer (and uncle) Roger Mayweather: “Pacquiao is going to get knocked out. It ain’t going to go past six rounds. I don’t think so. What can he do with my nephew? Nothing. My nephew is going to stop him. He’s going to stop him.”
Former world champion Ricky Hatton: “Pacquiao is quicker; I think. If I was in Pacquiao’s corner, I’d say do exactly as he did against Oscar De La Hoya, fast, speed. I think that is the style to beat him and Manny’s got that. Manny will look at the [Marcos] Maidana fight and think, ‘I like me chance in there.’
HBO ringside analyst Max Kellerman: “Pacquiao looked good [against Chris Algieri]. People saw [Floyd] rocked by Maidana. For the first time since the Marquez knockout [over Pacquiao], Pacquiao-Mayweather is hot, unlike it’s been before because the perception is it’s not lopsided. Pacquiao doesn’t enter as a prohibitive underdog. People are looking at this fight again and I’m hearing debates about the fight.”
Former undisputed middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler: “Whether Pacquiao loses in the first round, whether he knocks out Mayweather in the first round, it’s still going to be the biggest fight in history. Mayweather, he’s using his head, he’s using his skills and strategy and let’s hope Pacquiao don’t fall into his tricks.”
WBA “regular” welterweight champion Keith Thurman: “Manny is going to be open for the counters but I think he can make them up with some of the flurries. I favor Mayweather in the fight. But it’s a great fight and I expect it to be one of the toughest Mayweather has had in the last several years.”
Former undisputed cruiserweight/heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield: “The only way Pacquiao is going to beat Mayweather is if he takes some chances. It’s a toss-up because their styles are just that different. Pacquiao, the only way he can win is if he corners [Floyd] off. If he corners him off, I think he will win. I don’t think he can but that’s what makes the fight so interesting.”
WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto: “After working with Freddie, I think he is going to be huge in the fight. I’m going for Manny.”
Former undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr.: “I think it’s a great fight for both fighters. I hope the best for them. I think it’s a great fight for us. It’s a great fight for everybody and may the best man win.”
Former world junior lightweight champion Steve Forbes: “Manny Pacquiao is faster in that he throws a lot of punches. Mayweather hits harder than people think. They both hit harder than you think. I would favour Mayweather. He’s smart; he’s unbeaten and he’s a great fighter. Manny is the underdog but he’s a live underdog. I think it’s going to be a good fight. Anything can happen.”
Former multi-division world champion, Hall-of Famer and President of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya: “(On punching power) “I would have to say they are about the same. Maybe it was because Manny was coming up in weight with me but I would say they are about the same. Manny doesn’t have the perfect timing of Mayweather. Pacquiao will throw four, five, six, seven punches and fast. Both guys have slowed down a bit but both are pretty quick.”
Former world champion Shane Mosley: “I’m just excited. It’s a great fight. I can’t say who will win, only the best man may win. I think Mayweather may have the advantage but anything can happen in the fight. Both guys are great fighters.”
Former world champion Fernando Vargas: “Mayweather will beat him, no problem, ifs, ands or buts. Too smart a man, too intelligent. We already seen Marquez expose Pacquiao, caught him with a great knockout punch. I think Mayweather is just in a different league.”
Former world champion/Showtime ringside commentator Paulie Malignaggi: “Anybody with a brain knows the fight isn’t competitive. Manny knows the fight’s not competitive. Arum knows the fight’s not competitive. The fight’s not even close. It isn’t even competitive. Floyd will walk him down as the fight progresses. It’ll be a wash. When you give him ground, Floyd will walk you down. You like to see the fight for the sake of boxing.”
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO, Mayweather Promotions: “It’s very important for the fans. The fans demanded this fight and Floyd and Manny came together. The fans are in of a great, great fight. It’s been five or six years in the making. I’m just excited to be part of history. [Floyd] has beaten everybody in the sport. Come May 2nd, it will be no different.”
Manny Pacquiao: “I keep fighting because boxing is my passion. I love boxing. I have been able to help my family through boxing. The Filipino people are very excited for this fight and I can’t wait to bring a victory to the country. I don’t want to judge but I am very confident about this fight. I was more worried about my fights against De La Hoya, [Antonio] Margarito and Cotto than I am with fighting Floyd Mayweather. Pleasing the fans is the most important thing to me. I want to make them happy. I get emotional sometimes in the ring because I just want to make them happy. I don’t get discouraged anymore with a loss in boxing. It is a part of the game and I have taken the losses and have made myself a better fighter. It’s about building yourself up and turning yourself into a better fighter. I will win May 2nd. I am very happy that Floyd Mayweather and I can give the fans the fight they have wanted for so many years. They have waited long enough and they deserve it. It is an honor to be part of this historic event. I don’t want to judge but I am 100 percent confident. I am not worried about this. I don’t think negative; I think positive and the Lord will raise my hand May 2nd.”
Floyd “Money” Mayweather: “I always have the remedy to do what I have to do to come out on top. We have faced all the top guys in this sport and have beaten all the top guys. After this fight, which I believe I will be victorious, then we will move on to another guy. May 2nd, we have a tough task ahead of me. Manny Pacquiao is a good fighter but, last time I checked, I faced eight southpaws and won eight times, so I am not worried. You best believe that I will be in top shape and be the best Floyd Mayweather I can possibly be. I’m pretty sure my father has a great game plan, so we can go out there and do what we do best. Our game plan is to be smart, be first, take our time and get the job done. I think that Manny Pacquiao is a very interesting fighter. For him to get to where he is now, it’s obvious that he has had to do something right. No one should have been waiting until I became 47-0 to bet on me. They should’ve been betting on me from the beginning. After this fight, I will be victorious. I will move on to another guy then they will say that this guy can beat me. We’ve faced all the top guys. I believe in my skills; I believe in myself and I believe I am going to be victorious.”
* WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev stopped gutsy, former world champion Jean Pascal in their eighth round on Saturday night in Montreal, Quebec. After the fight, Pascal was asking for a rematch while talk turned to a unification bout between Kovalev and WBC champ Adonis Stevenson.
* In an IBF heavyweight title eliminator, unbeaten IBF No. 2, WBC No. 5 and WBO No. 7 Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov beat IBF No. 4 Steve “USS” Cunningham by 12-round, unanimous decision. Glazkov is now the mandatory challenger for Ukrainian countryman and world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
* In a battle for the vacant WBA interim welterweight title, Andre Berto stopped Josesito Lopez in six rounds on Friday night in Ontario, California.
*Heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola dropped Curtis Harper en route to winning an eight-round unanimous decision on Friday night.
* Former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter scored a fifth round KO over game, late sub Erick Bone on Friday night.
* WBA and WBC (interim) middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will defend against Willie Monroe Jr. on May 16 in Los Angeles.
* Some former world champs got busy Saturday night in Mexico. Former two-division world champion Fernando Montiel scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Jun Doliguez and former IBF super flyweight champion Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. beat Luis Melendez over 10 rounds by unanimous decision. Former WBA flyweight champion Hernan Marquez stopped late sub Roberto Lopez in three rounds in a bantamweight bout.
* Los Angeles sports radio legend Joe McDonnell passed away this week at the all-too-young age of 59. Rest in peace, Big Joe.