By Tyson Bruce
Record: 47-0 (26 KOs)
Weight: 147 lbs. (welterweight)
Reach: 72″ Biceps: 12 1/2″ Fist: 8″
Date of Birth: February 24, 1977
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada
Trainer: Floyd Mayweather Sr., Roger Mayweather
Record: 57-5-2, 38 KOs
Reach: 67” Biceps: 13″ Fist 10″
Residence: Kiamba, Sarangani Province, Philippines
Birthplace: Kibawe, Philippines
Date of Birth: December 17, 1978
Advisor: Michael Koncz
Trainer: Freddie Roach
Age & Physical Equipment:
One only had to look at the two fighters when they faced off—or glanced off in this case—at the press conference to understand that Mayweather, (47-0-0, 26 KOs), is the bigger fighter. The truth is that Mayweather and Pacquiao have never really been true welterweights, as they both moved up from the lower weight classes and essentially walk around at or around the 147-pound limit in their day-to-day lives. The fact their accomplishments rank with some of the best in the division’s history is a testament to the great talent of both fighters.
Mayweather, however, has been blessed with some unique physical advantages. Floyd’s 72-inch reach is remarkable for his size when you consider that middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, a much larger boxer, only has a 70-inch wing span. Mayweather has a six-inch reach advantage over Pacquaio (67-inch reach), which represents the single most graphic physical advantage for either fighter.
Mayweather also has a two-inch height advantage but Pacquiao, (57-5-2, 38 KOs), is accustomed to fighting boxers far taller than him, so that doesn’t figure to play much of a factor in the bout.
At 38 and 36 years of age, both Mayweather and Pacquiao have clocked a lot of miles on the speedometer. Remarkably, Pacquiao has seventeen more professional fights and a great deal more high contact, violent fights.
Conversely, Mayweather is probably the more physically handicapped boxer at this point in his career. Mayweather has suffered from a plethora of physical injuries throughout his nearly twenty-year career, including torn rotator cuffs and numerous broken hands.. Speculation is rampant that Mayweather no longer possesses the ability to move on his toes for 12 rounds, which was once the hallmark of his style.
Both men have been able to sustain dominance for such a long-time due to their high work ethic and the discipline to stay in quality condition in between fights. Despite his nocturnal lifestyle and his nefarious associates, Mayweather has always treated his body like a temple. By all accounts, he never drinks, smokes or takes drugs. Early in his career, the wild party life of Pacquiao was well-documented, but he’s left that behind in favour of an evangelical lifestyle.
A strong argument can be made that Pacquiao may be one of the most offensively talented fighters of the post-war era in boxing. Unquestionably, Pacquiao’s blend of blurring hand speed, one-punch knockout power and punching accuracy puts him in a league of his own when it comes to offence in this particular boxing era.
In the process, Pacquiao has put together some truly mind-boggling numbers. He joined the prestigious “400-club” when he rearranged Antonio Margarito’s face by landing a withering 474 blows, the 11th most ever tracked by Compubox. Pacquiao landed over three hundred punches against Marco Antonio Barrera (309) and Miguel Cotto (336), two future Hall-of-Fame fighters.
In his bout against Cotto, a great fighter in his own right, Pacquiao was able to land a staggering 336 out of 780 (43%) punches. Mayweather, on the other hand, was only able to land 179 of 687 punches thrown (26%) against the Puerto Rican slugger. In just eight rounds against Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquaio was able to land 224 punches, which is 17 more than Mayweather landed (207) in a full twelve rounds.
Even against Shane Mosley, which is recognized as one of Mayweather’s more offensive outings, Pacquiao landed more punches, with 228 landed to 208 for Mayweather. That said, Mayweather landed at a 44% connect rate to just 31% for Pacquaio.
While it’s easy to see why Pacquiao is such a prodigious offensive fighter, Mayweather’s offense is often vastly underrated. While he often has an extremely low punch count, he makes up for it by landing extremely obvious and flashy counter punches that allow him to steal rounds because regardless of how aggressive his opponents are, they rarely land anything clean. Mayweather’s “less is more” philosophy allows him to connect on an astonishingly high 44% of his punches, the most of any active boxer.
What all of these punch stats illustrate more than anything is that Pacquaio is the more committed offensive fighter. In doing so, he puts himself in a great deal more danger than Mayweather, but also inflicts a great deal more hurt on his opponents. There hasn’t been a single Pacquiao opponent, even the times that he’s lost, that didn’t receive a vicious amount of punishment fighting him. Pacquaio, even with a diminished killer instinct, is clearly the offensive force in this bout.
Mayweather relies on sharp flashy counter punches to steal rounds and rarely lets his hands go in multi-punch combinations the way he did earlier in his career. This was his way of coping with fighting bigger and stronger fighters. Pacquaio took the opposite approach and uses his hand speed to out-punch bigger slower boxers. It’s hard to argue that either approach hasn’t worked out splendidly.
As dominant of an of offensive force as Pacquiao has proven himself to be, he doesn’t come close to matching Mayweather’s superiority on defence. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Mayweather equals or even surpasses all time great defensive geniuses like Willie Pep and Pernell Whitaker.
The fact that he’s managed to retain his reflexes into his late thirties perhaps gives him the leg up on anyone in boxing history in the category of defence. According to Compubox– a computerized scoring system that counts every punch a boxer throws and lands—Mayweather’s opponents connect on a measly 19% of their punches. That puts Mayweather miles ahead of any other fighter currently in the sport.
In fact, prior to his Showtime contract that began in 2013, the last nine Mayweather opponents landed just 16% of their punches, which is the lowest collective figure in more than thirty years of tracked boxing.
While Mayweather remains the most elusive target in the sport, his shield of invincibility is beginning to show some cracks. Since his bout with Robert Guerrero in 2013, Mayweather’s opponents connect percentage has risen with each passing fight: 19, 21, 22, 26 and 22.
That Marcos Maidana, not known for being an accurate puncher, landed 26% of his punches against Mayweather set off a potential red flag that the champ was beginning to slip. More telling than the percentage was the fact Maidana landed more punches (221) than any other opponent in his career. To put that in perspective, in Pacquiao’s second blood-curdling war with Marquez, he was hit with 172 punches.
Boxing experts have frequently lambasted Pacquiao for his perceived lack of defensive skills. Pacquiao is far from the punching bag that some of his detractors accuse of him of being, but he’s not exactly Willie Pep–or Mayweather either. Pacquiao wins fights by being aggressive and overwhelming people with the speed and power of his combinations. Often his aggression can lead to him getting hit more, although it must be noted that Pacquiao has made a conscientious effort to be more defensively responsible since his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Over his last five or so bouts, Pacquiao’s opponents have connected on 24% of their total punches. That’s not bad when you consider that one of those opponents was Tim Bradley, a top-ten ‘pound for pound’ level talent and superior fighter to anyone Mayweather had fought since arguably Miguel Cotto in 2012. That gives Pacquiao a plus/minus ratio of plus-12, which ranks sixth best among all active championship level fighters.
Despite a record short promotional build-up, the financial numbers involved in this bout are truly breathtaking. Even before the start of the bout, it’s fairly easy to say that from a financial standpoint Mayweather-Pacquiao will be the most significant fight in boxing history.
The most decadent and easiest point to start with are the purses of both fighters. Before PPV profits, Mayweather will earn $120 million and Pacquaio will make $80 million. If you combine the salaries of both men, it exceeds the salary cap of an NFL football team. If the PPV sales for the fight, which are priced at a record one hundred dollars, go as well as expected, you can guarantee that they will make many millions more.
The fight is truly a sporting event for the one percent of society, as virtually no tickets will be sold to the general public. Instead, the promoters (Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank) and the MGM Grand (the hotel/casino hosting the fight) will act as mercenaries selling the tickets to the highest bidders. The live gate gross is already a record setting $72 million, which is more than the top fifteen UFC live gates in Nevada combined.
Reportedly even Academy Award winning actor and multimillionaire Liam Neeson has pandered to Pacquiao personally for a ticket to the fight. What some people have done to actually get tickets to the fight borders on the grotesque. Pacquiao was given a ten million dollar mansion by a prestigious LA Realtor who narrowly out bid a business rival just to get a handful of tickets. Bob Arum was reportedly offered 200,000 dollars by mystery celebrity to sell him his seat to the fight.
Various companies have also came up with creative ways to profit from the massive event. According to website spin.ph, a six by four inch patch of Pacquiao’s boxing trunks will cost a whopping $300,000 and the smaller patch, which looks like an imperceptible spot on TV, will run for a cool $150,000. And to think that us boxing fans used to laugh at the unscrupulous and ridiculous “goldenpalace.com” signs that would be painted on fighters’ backs.
The fight week will be an orgy of excess, as the “who’s who’s” list of entertainment, sports and the business worlds gather to see and be seen at the biggest fight since Ali-Frazier I. That vast majority of true boxing fans have been totally excluded from the event is as much of a condemnation of our times as it is about the people involved in the fight.