Ever since the long-anticipated showdown between superstars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather was finally signed, fans have been eagerly speculating over how the action will play out in the ring. Indeed, this is a fight that fans have been playing out in their heads for half a decade.
In a March 18 interview with ABC-CBNNews.com, Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach gave a hint to what the fight might end up looking like, as he emphatically stated that he was looking for an aggressive, high-action start from his fighter: “I want to take him (Mayweather) out of his comfort zone right away….I see a very aggressive start to this fight.”
Of course, for astute fans, this tactical admission will hardly come as a surprise. It’s the natural strategy for the famously aggressive Pacquiao to take. Pacman has long thrived in the early going of fights and Mayweather is well known to become increasingly difficult to score on as a fight wears on and he adjusts to an opponent’s style.
In his first fight with Mayweather last year, I had Marcos Maidana winning four of the first six rounds, largely by using relentless aggression to make the pound-for-pound king extremely uncomfortable. It’s important to note, however, that Maidana is a bigger, more physically imposing fighter than Pacquiao. His unofficial for that first fight was a 162 pounds, which will be about 15 more than Pacquiao will come into the ring at on May 2.
Pacquiao is a far better all around boxer than Maidana, though. He’s quicker, has a better control of angles and far more accurate punching. The simple fact that he’s a southpaw will help him negate Mayweather’s famous shoulder roll, by pressuring hard in back of a big lead hook.
I have already gone on record choosing Floyd Mayweather to win this super fight. He’s the best defensive fighter since Pernell Whitaker ruled in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He’s a laser-accurate counter puncher and his best weapon, the straight right, is kryptonite for an aggressive southpaw.
But Pacquiao is far too talented to write off. His speed and activity level should make this the aging Mayweather’s toughest test ever. This might not be the classic it could have been three or four years ago, but it should still be very compelling, with excitement from the opening bell.