Weighing in on Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao
Well folks, it’s fight week…here we go!
A while back, UCNLive heard from numerous members of the boxing world weighing in on the May 2 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao super-fight, a legendary bout that is just mere days away. The fight, which was realistically five years in the making and could go down as the biggest match in the history of the sport, is now a reality.
Like the hype and excitement that is building for the bout, the predictions, comments, props and insults are flying as fast as the combinations will be on fight night.
So, as the fight edges closer, we once again get to hear from the boxing fraternity: Fighters, fans, friends and foes alike.
Here are the predictions on boxing’s biggest, modern-day spectacle that has been described as “The Superbowl of Boxing.”
Former undisputed middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler: If you have the skills, you don’t need to impress everybody by being a show-off. Then when you get beat, the public stays behind the winner instead of with you when you were the champion. But the boxing aspect of this fight is what’s going to keep the sport alive. It’s not whether Manny wins or Mayweather wins; it’s how they fight – because it could be a boring fight. Mayweather can put you to sleep just by boxing and moving around and that has no excitement. And Manny could be more on the defensive side rather than the offensive side too. In the beginning, [Floyd] was setting his own type of rules of saying, “You’ve got to take a blood test before you fight me.” Floyd was thinking Manny was on steroids because he was knocking everybody out, so he was a little afraid. Finally now, both of them have to prove themselves. If [Mayweather] gets hit, let me tell you, once you’re in that ring, you don’t think about money. This game is called survival. It’s nice that he can flash the dollars around like that but money is not going to help you with the fight – or maybe it could!
But it is a risk because Floyd does not like to lose. And with a guy like Pacquiao, you have to think, “What kind of strategy is he going to use? Is he going to try to cut him off in the ring? Is he going to try to attack him early?” Nobody knows quite yet.
Former two-division champion (and common Mayweather and Pacquiao opponent) Ricky “Hitman” Hatton: Although I think Manny’s got the style to beat him, I’m still going to go with Mayweather. He always finds a way to win. He’s a very, very clever fighter, Manny, but you’d have to say the cleverest fighter in boxing is Mayweather.
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe: Floyd Mayweather is going to try to take Manny Pacquiao’s head off. You can count on that happening too. Floyd Mayweather is looking to finish him off. Pacquiao commits a lot of mistakes and Mayweather will exploit it to dictate the pace and eventually knock him out.
Mexican great and former three-division world champion Marco Antonio Barrera: If the fight ends in knockout, it will be by Pacquiao. If the fight ends in decision, it will be Mayweather.
Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach: [Mayweather] has been avoiding Manny for so long. He didn’t want this fight. He can pretend it was a strategy to build up the fight’s value but that’s not true. For once, Mayweather wasn’t able to handpick his opponent. He was forced to take this fight by Manny, the media and the fans. His excuses for not making the fight haven’t held water for years and Manny finally exposed him. Mayweather may have been the A-side during the negotiations but once he signed the contract, he became the B-side just like he did when he fought Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. That is why he prolonged announcing the fight for as long as he did. He wanted all the attention. Mayweather is a different A-side now and you can guess what the “A” stands for. He was late for his media workout, leaving major media outlets scheduled to go live with dead air. How selfish is that? It doesn’t take a lot to figure out why everyone is rooting for Manny. Just look at which fighter has the most endorsements going into this fight and why. When Manny beats Mayweather, it won’t only be about unifying the welterweight titles, it will also be a public service to boxing. Mayweather may be two victories shy of tying Rocky Marciano’s record [49-0] but I can assure you, Mayweather’s party will end on May 2 and Marciano’s record will remain just that: The record.
Former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: Tough fight, I favor Mayweather but Pacquiao is tough and a southpaw, so he is difficult. I think the only guy that can beat Mayweather is Pacquiao but I think Mayweather by decision. This is the same fight as if it had happened in 2010; both fighters are in better shape.
Floyd Mayweather Sr.: How in the hell did you ever think a “Pac-Man” can beat a real man? Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. Roach is talking bullshit. Your ass shouldn’t even be in your fighter’s corner because you don’t know what the fuck to tell him. Sucker. Punk.
Mexican great (and common Mayweather and Pacquiao opponent) Juan Manuel Marquez: Floyd Mayweather isn’t really used to fighting with southpaws. We know how Floyd Mayweather uses his shoulder roll, so, with an orthodox fighter, he can dodge many of those shots and wait for openings with his opponents than counter. Manny Pacquiao, on his part, has to use his speed and lateral movement and, in turn, do not give Mayweather any space or minimal space to make him uncomfortable on that very stance. The right hook will be key as a lefty for Manny Pacquiao. He can set it up by using a left jab to the body and following it up with a hook from the outside and repeating a double hook and he can finish it off with a straight left. The repetition will be key in landing those combinations and Pacquiao has to change it up. Mayweather sets traps and throws nice uppercuts from long distance and he will use that reach advantage to do so. He will follow that up with counter rights and straight lefts from range because of that advantage.
Hall of Fame color analyst Larry Merchant: The most important thing, since the [fourth] Marquez fight, Pacquiao still wants to get after it. After suffering the kind of knockout he had against Marquez, and he still wants more, that shows me he isn’t done yet. Mayweather is still highly motivated to win. He seems as dedicated to his training as he’s ever been and he’ll do whatever it takes to win, even if it means taking as few risks as possible. Mayweather is a talented, non-violent boxer. He believes in control through non-violence.
HBO “unofficial ringside judge” Harold Lederman: Floyd’s a very tough guy to fight because of his hand speed and defense, that shoulder roll. A good puncher. On the other hand, Manny Pacquiao turns to the left, turns to the right, has tremendous hand speed. He’s a southpaw, can knock you out with a right hook. I thinks it’s a close fight and it’s going to go the distance. I would have to say that I’d give the slight edge to Floyd but I think it’s going to be a tremendous fight.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: It’s always about the money: Mayweather!
Randy Gordon, former editor of THE RING magazine, former New York State Athletic Commissioner and current boxing host on SiriusXM radio: Why change now? “Money May” is not Sugar Ray Leonard. Do what got you to 47-0. Sure, stand your ground once in a while but then do what you do best. Changing now is more likely to make him 47-1 than 48-0.
Former three-division world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero: Pacquiao does different things. You don’t have a rhythm and he’s just so fast, in and out. And his reaction time, my God, and those hooks. But anything can happen. And everyone knows in boxing, one punch changes everything. I think it’s a pick ’em fight. It could go either way with how fast Manny is. It all comes down to timing. If his timing is on, he can catch Mayweather.
Former heavyweight title challenger and World Boxing/Canadian Hall-of-Famer George Chuvalo: The thing about Pacquiao is he’s also got a lot of speed, great legs. He can move side-to-side. He’s so quick and he punches pretty good too. And when you punch back, usually he’s not in the same place. He’s a pretty tough fight for anybody, although it’s hard to go against Mayweather because of his superior speed. He’s got great hands, very elusive and a very smart fighter. He’s got great instincts. Not to say Pacquiao doesn’t have them either but I think you have to make Mayweather the slight favorite. When you think of him, his legs are great too. He has a tremendous amount of confidence and is a very quick puncher, not to say Manny isn’t quick. I think Pacquiao punches a little harder and he’s a southpaw but Mayweather is agile and hard to hit, so I think it would be more of a tactical fight than anything else.
Former light heavyweight contender and two-time world title challenger “Iceman” John Scully: If he’s on his game, I don’t think Manny – or anyone – touches him. I don’t think Floyd will get caught slipping. The only thing that can happen is if he just loses it, where his timing and everything is just eroded but, from what I can see, he’s slipped a little. I don’t think there’s any dispute of that but not nearly enough for him to be considered to lose to Manny. I like Manny a lot but I don’t see Floyd losing to Manny.
Actor Mark Wahlberg: I’m going with “Team Pac-Man.”
Former five-division world champion and Hall-of-Famer Thomas “Hitman” Hearns: I would say that it would be an awesome fight between the both of them but I think that Floyd should win the fight. If Floyd does what he’s supposed to do, then I think Floyd wins. If he doesn’t, then Pacquiao will take over the fight. Manny Pacquiao comes to fight. That’s all that he wants to do. But I think that the only way that Pacquiao could win is by knockout of Floyd. The way that Floyd is going to win is to outbox Manny Pacquiao and to make Manny Pacquiao fall apart. I’m glad that fight is coming up but I tell you this: There is no way that fight will top the fights me and Marvin Hagler and Ray Leonard had! I don’t care how much they’re getting paid. Their fight will not reach that status, no way. I have nothing bad to say about Mayweather or Pacquiao; they’re both great fighters. Mayweather is smart. I just don’t know if Pacquiao can match what Mayweather does in the ring.
Actor Jamie Foxx: This has been a long time coming. It’s “Money” Mayweather, man.
WBC junior featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (who will fight on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard): It is a great fight. It’s what everybody has been waiting for but I think Mayweather is going to win. He’s a lot smarter and counterpunches a lot quicker. Mayweather will counterpunch him and catch him all night.
Former four-division world champion and Hall-of-Famer Roberto Duran: I’ve studied Pacquiao’s fights as I have also Mayweather’s. Mayweather has had trouble defeating some fighters. Also those same fighters who then fought with the Filipino fighter afterwards. So I take away that conclusion. Remember, in life, anyone can be fooled, so they could fool me. Anyone can be fooled but I think Pacquiao is going to beat Mayweather.
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal: Mayweather, seventh round knockout.
* From the “Seriously, Shannon. Let it go” files: Shannon Briggs showed up at the Wladimir Klitschko-Bryant Jennings weigh-in in New York City on Friday and spent most of time yelling “Let’s go, champ!” at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Former undisputed champ Lennox Lewis looked on with a smile on his face.
* Friday night in Chicago, Ill., WBA “regular” middleweight champion Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs retained his title with a 12th round TKO against Minnesota’s game Caleb “Golden” Truax. Also in the main event, Badou Jack “The Ripper” won the WBC super middleweight title with a majority decision over previously unbeaten champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell.
* The World Boxing Council has announced that Willie Monroe Jr., who will fight middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin on May 16 in Los Angeles, Calif., has gone on record that he will not comply with the WBC’s safety requirements. As a result, he will not be competing for Golovkin’s WBC interim championship. If he does win, he will not be the mandatory opponent for Miguel Cotto’s championship. Monroe Jr. is refusing to submit to the 30-day safety weigh-in, the seven-day safety weigh-in and will not present the mandatory medical examinations as required by the WBC. Why he is pulling this three weeks before the bout is anybody’s guess.
* IBF/WBO/WBA heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko scored a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten challenger Bryant Jennings Saturday night at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
* Tyson Fury on Klitschko’s decision over Bryant Jennings Saturday night: “It’s disappointing. It’s a world title fight in America and Klitschko needed to shine but, to me, that was a stink-fest.”
* 10,000 tickets have been sold for the Mayweather-Pacquiao weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena this Friday.
* WBO junior welterweight titlist Terence Crawford received the “Sugar Ray Robinson Memorial Fighter of The Year” Award in New York City on Friday evening at the annual Boxing Writers Association of America Awards dinner. Also, on behalf of Freddie Roach, brother Al Roach accepted the BWAA 2014 “Trainer of the Year Award.”