Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Boxing’s history is full of so-called mega-fights – bouts that transcend the boundaries of the rapidly shrinking ranks of genuine fans and pique the interest of the wider public. With promoters like Don King and Bob Arum – who this week claimed that his charge Manny Pacquiao had been responsible for saving countrywoman Mary Jane Veloso from execution alongside the Bali Nine ring leaders – the hype can be overwhelming and the fight can often fail to live up to the expectations. This is particularly when one or both of the fighters are past their best, but there are times when an absolute classic results.
But what will this clash between two of the finest boxers of their generation be?
There are many opinions, although the undefeated Mayweather is a strong favourite. Mayweather and Pacquiao have been at each other for years and for good reason as they are among the finest fighters of their generation. Well, if you listen to Mayweather, that is actually doing him an injustice as he believes that he is the best ever, surpassing the universially acknowledged title holders Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. For the uninitiated that is what the ‘TBE’ stands for on the cap that he wears. It was a boast that did not escape Ali’s attention. “Don’t you forget, I am the greatest!” #MuhammadAlipic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/HXaTz39RPM— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) April 27, 2015
There are fears that there is no way that these two aging champions could ever match the expectations that have been set for this fight. But, there has been so much debate about who is better fighter – and so much sniping between the camps – that if they finished their stellar careers without squaring off, even at this late stage, there would have, perhaps unjustly, been an unsatisfying feeling of unfinished business.
Why it’s a big deal?Long-anticipated clash between two of the best pound-for-pounders of their generation Has generated genuine enormous public interestWill be the highest grossing fight ever. It is expected to generate more than $500 million in ticket sales and global TV revenueIt is the classic good vs bad sporting contest. Mayweather is the flashy, egotistical braggart while Pacquiao is seen as the down-to-earth champion
Why it’s not. It will be held five years too lateThere is uncertainty as to what we will actually get from two ageing champions in the face of boundless hyperbole and pay-per-view prices that have been significantly increased. Does it really penetrate the public psyche like some of the blockbusters of past that have included names such as Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson, Leonard, Hagler and Hearns ?Mayweather has not had a knock out in his past five fights. It’s been 10 for Pacquiao.
Reasons why Mayweather will win
There is a reason why Mayweather has never been beaten. He a master of ring craft with an crafty ability to undermine his opponents, so much so that his defensive ways can, according to Marvin Hagler, make fights tedious enough to “put the fans to sleep”. But, when the time comes, he is not afraid to get down and dirty with best of them. He has power in both hands as shown by his 26 knockouts, even if he has not had one in eight years. Add in exquisite timing and footwork and strong defence and Mayweather is an imposing proposition to the significantly smaller Pacquiao whose form has seemlingly deteriorated at a quicker rate. He will likely look to wait out the opening flurries and then pick off the points.
Reasons why Pacquiao will win
The powerful Pacquiao could be the hardest hitter that Mayweather has faced. His hand speed and explosive combinations will be a key to victory. He throws a lot punches and he throws them quick, keeping a relentless pressure on his opponent. Pacquiao has a 59 per cent knockout ratio, but he had not had a KO since Ricky Hatton in 2009. His self belief and fitness keeps him going throughout the fight as he looks to wear down his oppponent, a factor that could have a bearing on an aging Mayweather.
What people are saying
“He (Mayweather) is very delusional … He’s a little, scared man. He’s a very small, scared man,” said Mike Tyson.
“If Pacquiao doesn’t get tired, Mayweather is going to be shooing away that fly for 12 rounds, and Pacquiao might surprise him. I’m inclining more, as the fight gets closer, to Pacquiao,” said Oscar de la Hoya who lost to both fighters.
”Floyd would win, but no knockout. We know that defensively Mayweather is the best in the world,” said Juan Manuel Marquez, seen above after knocking out Pacquiao in their fourth fight.
“Someone walked into my house today and said; ‘Jeff, is it five years too late? I said; ‘listen, if it was five years earlier, Floyd would have got 20 million and the other guy would have got 10 million, the timing is perfect’ ” said Jeff Fenech.
Fights: 47, 0 losses, 0 draws, 26 knockouts
World title fights: 24.
World titles across five weight divisions
Career earnings: US$420 million
Fights: 57, 5 losses, 2 draws, 38 knockouts
World title fights: 19
World titles across eight weight divisions
Career earnings: US$340 million
Marcos Rene Maidana, 13/9/2014, Las Vegas, won UD12; 03/05/14, Las Vegas, won MD12
Miguel Cotto, 5/5/2012, Las Vegas, won UD 12
Ricky Hatton, 8/12/2007, Las Vegas, won TKO 10
Oscar de la Hoya, 5/5/2007, Las Vegas, won SD12
Zab Judah, 8/4/2006, Las Vegas, won UD12
Diego Corrales, 20/1/2001. Las Vegas, won TKO10
Timothy Bradley, 12/4/14, Las Vegas, won UD12; 09/6/12, Las Vegas, lost SD
Juan Manuel Marquez, 08/12/12, Las Vegas, lost KO 6; 12/11/11 Las Vegas, won MD12; 15/3/2008, Las Vegas, won SD12; 08/5/20-04, Las Vegas, draw SD12
Joshua Clottey. 13/3/2010. Arlington. won UD12
Oscar de la Hoya, 6/12/2008. Las Vegas. won RTD 8
Ricky Hatton, 02/05/09, Las Vegas, won KO2
Erik Morales, 18/11/2006, Las Vegas, won KO3; 21/1/2006, Las Vegas, won TKO10; 19/3/2005, las vegas, lost UD12
Mega-fights of the past
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather, 5 May 2007, WBC Light-Middleweight title
Dubbed “The World Awaits”, this was the matchup that broke all the records at the time. It featured two of the most charismatic fighters of their generation: De La Hoya, known as Golden Boy who was way past his prime after a remarkable career and Mayweather, who was in his prime and regarded as pound-for-pound no.1 fighter. Despite the split decision in favour of Mayweather, the fight ultimately underwhelmed.
Marvin Hagler v Sugar Ray Leonard, 6 April, 1987, Las Vegas, WBC middleweight title
Any of the bouts that involved the Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran were among the most anticipated of the 1980s. While Mike Tyson was terrifying the heavyweight division, it was the exploits of these four brilliant – but vastly different – boxers that made boxing what it was in the 1980s. Out of all the blockbusters, it was probably the matchup between the gritty ‘Marvellous Marvin’ and flashy ‘Sugar Ray’ that was the biggest because of the animosity between the two. It resulted in a great contest that ended in a controversial split decision to Leonard and sent Hagler into retirement.
Evander Holyfield v Mike Tyson, 9 November, 1996, WBA heavyweight title
Mike Tyson’s presence in the ring captured the public imagination more than any other boxer that followed Muhammad Ali. The combination of the way he pounded his way through the heavyweight division, the brutality of his personal life and his return from a jail term for rape, made him compulsive viewing, even later his career when his skills and aura were vastly diminished. The first matchup with Holyfield was the fight people wanted to see before Tyson’s shocking loss to Buster Douglas in 1990 and it was appropriately promoted as ‘Finally’. But Tyson was not the same boxer after his four year absence from the ring, despite regaining one of his titles from Frank Bruno in 1994, and he was no match for Holyfield who stopped him in the 11th round. They met again the following year when Tyson was infamously disqualified for twice biting Holyfiled’s ear.
Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier, 8 March 1971, WBC and WBA heavyweight world titles
The first fight between these giants of the sport may not have been the best – that was the incomparable Thriller in Manilla – but the build up made it the most anticipated fight of its era. Both fighters were undefeated with Frazier the reigning king of the ring after brutal knockouts of Buster Mathis and Jimmy Ellis but Ali and much of the boxing fraternity believed he was the true champion having had the title stripped from him when he refused to drafted into the US army during the Vietnam War. Ali had returned from more than three years out of the ring, but he had lost none of his verbal sting as he launched barrages of insults that often unjustly denigrated Frazier. The fight lived up to expectations with Frazier winning on points after knocking down Ali late with a left hook. On this date in 1967, Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army and was stripped of his heavyweight title. pic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训学校/L8deguDju4— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 28, 2015
Joe Louis v Rocky Marciano, 26 October, 1951.
A burgeoning tax bill forced the Brown Bomber to end a shortlived retirement in 1950 and 10 fights into a comeback he was pitched against the formidible Marciano. Louis was a legendary figure and many believed, as with Ali two decades later, that he was still the true world champion despite his time away from the ring. Despite Louis being well past his best at 37, the fight was eagerly anticipated. It was a brutal fight with Marciano savaging Louis, knocking him down in the eighth round and then putting him through the ropes with a combination to finish the fight.
Jack Johnson v James.J.Jefferies, 4 July 1910, world heavyweight title
This was the sport’s first real mega-figh which reach stretched far beyond the boundaries of ring. Johnson was the seventh man to hold the heavyweight title in the gloved era but the problem for many at the time was that he was the first black to do so. But not only that, he was flashy, drove fast cars and socialised with white women. With racism driving a backlash against Johnson, former champion Jefferies, who had refused to fight black boxers when he held the title, was brought out of retirement as the ‘white hope’. The out-of-shape Jefferies was no match for Johnson and the fight was stopped in the 15th round.
Anthony Mundine v Danny Green, 17 May 2006, WBA super middleweight title eliminator
The biggest fight to ever be held in Australia and the most spiteful since Lester Ellis and Barry Michael slugged it out for the IBF super-featherweight title two decades earlier. There was genuine dislike between the two fighters and Mundine’s outspoken ways and in-your-face brashness earned him little love from the general public. However, after such an intense buildup the fight itself was a let-down with Mundine winning comfortably on points.
How to follow the action
Fairfax’s Phil Lutton will be live blogging the fight. Follow the coverage from midday (AEST) on Sunday.
Where to watch it
TV coverage will begin from 11am (AEST) on Sunday 3rd May. It will cost $59.95 on Main Event. It will also be shown at 150 hotels around Melbourne.
The fight will begin at approximately 2pm (AEST)
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