By Jackie Kallen
An interesting phenomenon is occurring in the boxing world. The sentiment surrounding the May 2 fight between “Money” Mayweather and “Pacman” Pacquiao is changing. With the fight less than two weeks away, more and more fans are picking Manny to win. And the public, some of whom know little about either fighter, are rooting for the sweet-faced Pacquiao, who is beloved and revered.
Pacquiao is the one with the endorsement deals and a political career in his native Philippines. Mayweather is poison to corporate America due to his background of domestic violence and assault charges. His three-month jail sentence in 2012 didn’t help his image. He seems to relish his “bad boy” reputation and has said that the lack of endorsements means nothing to him. He has more than enough money, being the highest paid athlete in the world today.
Gamblers are starting to take notice of Pacquaio as a good bet. As fight time gets closer, more and more money seems to drift toward the Pacman. It will do doubt vary and change during the days before May 2, but it appears that increased numbers of fans are betting on Manny. It may be due to the fact that people are really hoping Pacquaio beats the brash Mayweather, but it may also be due to rumors coming out of the Mayweather training camp.
Those alleged “inside sources” are claiming that Mayweather has been having hand trouble in training. A lot of people say that they have good sources within the camp, but who knows how true that is? The person I heard it from is somewhat credible, so I listened, but took it with a grain of salt. He reports that they are cautious about injecting the hand because the drugs may show up in a test.
Some Pacquiao fans are taking this as a good sign for their man. Others are thinking it is just a plot to make Pacman take Mayweather less seriously. In any case, the truth will reveal itself on May 2. Manny is a strong fighter and if he suspects any kind of weakness, he will no doubt try to exploit it.
There’s also the issue of the strength and conditioning coaches both men are using. Mayweather has been under the wing of Alex Ariza, who used to work with Pacquiao. Freddie Roach fired him a few years ago, saying that he brought little to the table and tried to get into everyone’s business. Floyd Mayweather, Sr. is now crying the same song. On the other hand, Manny is again using old friend Justin Fortune, who is a great guy and knows what he’s doing. Manny will absolutely be in the best shape of his career. I have no doubt of that.
Another factor is that Mayweather is not a quick starter. He usually takes a few rounds to adapt and warm up. Those could be very important rounds for Pacquiao. If his conditioning is as could as I expect it to be, he’ll breeze through the early rounds and expend as little energy as he needs. He’ll let Mayweather dance around and he’ll look for opportunities to slip in a punch. Not to mention that he’s been in with much harder punchers than Mayweather and he’s not afraid of his punch.
Records and hype aside, the boxing world is starting to think that just maybe this sweet singing boxer can slay the dragon.
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