“No longer types to talk tougher and mumble sh*t/ (this is) some Mike Buffer “Let’s get ready to rumble” sh*t/ Its bricks, getting thrown from them and from the sticks/ records gettin spun but the only one that matters is who won”
T@z, from “Money on Manny”
Finally, this much debated “Superfight” is here, and the fight that won’t quite end all debates is upon us.
So let’s start with the obvious. The reason this fight has so much allure and sex appeal, is because of the intoxicating blend of their styles, along with an array of subplots. Their personalities and uniquely charismatic natures, makes this an event I can’t even compare to anything I’ve ever longed for.
I can’t think of a movie, a show, or a sporting event I’ve ever wanted to see more in my life.
And let’s be honest— the only reason why millions of you will tune in around the world at fight parties, packed gyms or movies theaters; shelling out record numbers of money for beer, chips, liquor, popcorn (or even condoms to celebrate after its over), or you name it, is based around one simple truth: You want Floyd to lose, and you believe that this is the fighter that can do it.
And you’re right.
THE ANATOMY OF FLOYD
No fighter in this generation has been more of an enigma to solve than Floyd Mayweather, so let’s put his body of work under examination.
At 47-0 (26KO’s), he has proven thus far to be a modern ring version of the Rubix Cube. In Floyd exists a fighter with the type of adaptable versatility to beat anyone to the finish line in a fistic marathon.
Say what you will about who he hasn’t faced (I will always have problems with no Kostya Tsyzu, Antonio Margarito or Paul Williams personally), those who have faced him have been hard pressed to win rounds— f*ck the fight. Jesus Chavez, Emanuel Augustus, Ricky Hatton, Demarcus Corley, Zab Judah and Shane Mosley all had some real moments.
Oscar de la hoya supposedly owns a “blueprint”. He did give Floyd a lot of difficulty with Freddie Roach is his corner, but I wouldn’t exactly call what he did a blueprint to beating him. He lost. By a score of 115-113 in my estimation.
Then there’s Jose Luis Castillo and the issue of their first fight. Many observers will tell you that this is the very fight that Floyd definitively lost, and I don’t agree with that either. It was a very close fight, and I thought Floyd won that fight by limiting the effectiveness of his aggression and pretty sound ring generalship.
But along the way there have been clues- especially recently.
Hatton was, in my opinion. the most disruptive and bothersome to Mayweather. He was very aggressive and had no regard for Floyd at all. It was a very rough, very physically demanding fight that exacted a toll on Floyd, but Hatton didn’t offer much in subtlety, as he literally forced Floyd to KHTFO.
Floyd took almost 2 years off after that fight, before returning to face a counter-punching, blown-up lightweight in Juan Manuel Marquez. Considering Floyd is a “safety first fighter” who knew he would enjoy a sizable hand and foot-speed advantage over Marquez, this was a very safe fight.
I’d never seen him physically stronger than he was for Mosley, and to date, I regard this fight as his finest performance. Some would digress considering he was in serious trouble in round 2, but I disagree (more on that in a minute). He took another very long break before facing a very strong – and rather flawed – Victor Ortiz. It was an aborted, strange fight that seemed very WWE in nature, but Floyd showed weaknesses in that fight.
They were exacerbated by Miguel Cotto, so much so that he made sure his next opponent (Robert Guerrero) would not be able to.
Canelo, who looked like Clint Eastwood [would] at the weigh-in – today – proved very drained and far too heavy in his feet to expose Floyd’s true weaknesses, and Maidana was too heavy (and slow) in his hands and feet to truly capitalize on them.
THE PERFECT FIGHTER
On May 2nd, Floyd will possess several key advantages over his iconic, Filipino nemesis.
“Money” will have the edge in height, reach, and overall skills. He is the bigger and physically stronger fighter. He is also a sharper puncher, and his accuracy is second to none. No one has shown a higher ring IQ than Floyd in this generation, and his hand speed is incredible.
That’s before we talk about arguably the very best defense I’ve seen from a fighter since Wilfred Benitez (yes, he’s better than the great Pernell Whitaker was in this regard). Mayweather is the most technically proficient fighter that I’ve ever seen, in that he does nothing technically wrong.
His balance is perfect. His ring vision is almost supernatural, and his visual acuity allows him to see every punch – almost before its thrown. His conditioning is always better than his opponent’s. He’s very good at controlling the pace and the space in the ring, and he does not allow an opponent to get comfortable offensively at all. He is basically “the perfect fighter”.
To beat Mayweather, an opposing fighter must be in extraordinary condition. This fighter must also possess an unusual will and an incredible sense of purpose. He must be uncommonly brave and have absolutely no fear of Mayweather. He should also be a southpaw, for his patented, James Toney-like defense with elements of Roy Jones, is predicated on data programmed into his brain of an orthodox (or right handed) attack.
This fighter should be unpredictable in his movement and punch output, and he cannot ever simply stand in front of Mayweather. He must have extraordinary footwork, match or even surpass his handspeed, punch in combination, and strike with unpredictable deadly force.
There is only one fighter in the world today who possesses all of these attributes: Manny Pacquiao.
There is a reason why Floyd, despite so many advantages in this fight, has avoided Pacquiao. If you don’t believe he’s done that, then you probably don’t believe O.J. Simpson had anything to do with Nicole’s murder and that he was never seen in a white Bronco.
Pacquiao has faced a litany of bigger and stronger fighters. Fighters who were in fact bigger, and physically stronger than Mayweather. As skilled as he is, Mayweather is still a conventional, textbook boxer. And after you take everything into consideration – what makes Pacquaio so difficult to beat is his lack of convention.
He turns everything into an aggressive contest of speed and athleticism, is in constant motion and almost impossible to read. His intensity makes it seem as if he’s defending his family against some kind of invader, and in Floyd’s case, he’s not only insulted his family – but his entire nation for over 5 years.
Traditionally a safety “first” fighter, something struck me about Floyd a few years ago that I’ll never forget. After emphatically losing the 2nd round against Mosley and being nearly knocked out, Floyd completely reasserted himself in round 3. As if almost offended by Mosley’s assault and showing an almost arrogant pride, Floyd came directly at Shane behind a high guard defense and essentially became a Dragon.
He fired away at Mosley and completely took away his will. Mosley lost the fight right then and there.
Floyd will do the exact same thing “when” – not if – Pacquiao hits him cleanly, but Pacquiao’s will is greater than anything he’s ever seen in his life. He’ll become the aggressor and lose his sense of control. As emotional as you’ve seen him be when someone merely mentions Pacquiao’s name, he’s more than likely to act the same way on May 2nd.
The notion that Pacquiao will somehow stalk and chase Floyd around the ring is almost absurd. Floyd is not Chris Algieri, who spent 12 rounds trying to escape and did nothing to win rounds.
Floyd will not give away rounds and will try to do everything he can to stop Pacquiao from winning them, which means he’ll be hit like never before. He’s not accustomed to losing rounds or being embarrassed at all, but that will happen at times as he competes for space. For the first time is his life, he’ll be opposite an “A” grade southpaw with an underrated defense and the best offensive fighter he’s ever faced.
Pacquiao’s left handed stance and Floyd’s loss in mobility, will force him to come forward behind a high guard at times. He’ll do this because Pacquiao almost exclusively fights in the middle of the ring, and moves around so much that its hard to clinch him. The occasional lead right hand, check hook or any other singular shot, can’t offset the sudden rhythmic explosion of violent torrents coming from Pacquiao.
I believe the 24 rounds Floyd endured with the bruising Maidana zapped him of his remaining prime. Fans of Mayweather may not want to hear this, but he was a very tired (and somewhat sloppy) fighter in the later rounds against Maidana, while Pacquiao never wavered in striking down the elusive Algieri. We can’t turn back the hands of time.
Floyd will almost certainly be struck in combination and hit with unusual shots from Pacquiao’s patented arsenal. He’s likely to cut, bleed and swell. The “perfect fighter”, is unfortunately facing “the perfect foil”, as he’ll enter the ring with a fighter who will sing his own song dedicated to his nation. He’s coming for war and he’s coming for blood.
He’s coming for “47-1”.