By Robbie Bannatyne
“Hold fast to the main idea. Do not give in to the pressures of the moment.”
This, the motto of Saatchi and Saatchi’s Jeremy Sinclair, was the guiding principle of the world famous ad agency’s ruthlessly successful political advertising campaign for the 1992 British General Election, which saw the Conservative party defeat Labour by a landslide margin.
Although the world of British politics seems very far removed from the arena of professional prize-fighting, it feels like this motto has been adopted by Teams Mayweather and Pacquiao, as the competing camps aim win the PR battle before the punches start to fly on May 2nd.
Ever since the May 2n Mega Fight was announced, both Mayweather and Pacquiao have clamoured to undermine to the other by issuing dominant and consistent messages to the media. Such tactics are designed to promote the positives of their own product whilst seizing on the perceived weaknesses of their opponent’s performance.
Freddie Roach has abided by the mantra that “Mayweather’s legs are gone” with brutal consistency. This helps to supplant the idea that Pacquiao has Mayweather’s cards marked. Whereas The Money Team (TMT) have thrown their lot in with theory that Mayweather will prevail because he is the “bigger, faster, stronger and more intelligent” fighter.
The frequent references to Mayweather as the ‘defensive boxing genius’ are contrasted with Pacquiao as the ‘reckless offensive brawler’.
The strategy works perfectly, as both sets of fans are like political parties in that they subscribe to a completely different sets of attitudes, ideas, and beliefs about what the idealized version of a boxer should be. With the contrasting ideologies of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fans, the best way to promote their own philosophy is to attack the other’s. See, the worlds of boxing and politics are not so different after all.
In the blue corner, you have the boxing purists who insist that the “defensive genius” of Mayweather is too articulate a strategy for the “wild and reckless” Manny Pacquiao to comprehend. In the red corner, you have the blood-thirsty boxing aficionados, who claim that the attacking intent and violent virtuosity of Manny Pacquiao is the antidote to Mayweather’s undefeated ring record.
Of course, there are many merits to both arguments, but both sets of fans will rarely acknowledge the views of the other.
Still there are certain issues of high salience which are set to determine the outcome of perhaps the most anticipated prize-fight in the history of boxing.
The dominant theme that Mayweather’s defensive mastery will prove a decisive factor is a prescient argument that is hard to ignore. So is the contention that Mayweather will close out a victory due to his ability to make “adjustments” and rationally analyse and expose the flaws of Pacquiao’s game plan in the heat of battle. Mayweather supporters will offer these convictions as conclusive evidence that Manny Pacquiao is set to become just another number on Mayweather’s win column on May 2nd.
However, there is definitely credence in the conviction that Manny Pacquiao’s “blistering hand speed and power,” “unorthodox combinations” and “volume punching” will prevail over Mayweather, who has certainly never faced an opponent with the panache or compendium of qualities Manny Pacquiao possesses.
The same can be said of Mayweather, however, as he is an entirely different proposition to what Pacquiao has ever encountered.
The reason this is such an intriguing contest is because both men have such divergent boxing identities, whose contrasting styles are sure to clash with fascinating consequences.
In simple terms, it is the boxer with the best defense against the fighter with the best offence.
The man who stays true to himself and “holds fast to the main idea” without giving into the “pressures of the moment” will have his hand raised on May 2nd.
Follow Robbie Bannatyne on Twitter: @f1ghtingtalk