By Kirk Jackson
Recently, Hall of Fame boxer Mike Tyson was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and gave his opinion on the huge fight taking place May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On the set of ESPN’s First Take, journalists Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless offered their insight on Tyson’s remarks in regards to the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather 47-0 (26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38 KOs).
More importantly, Tyson indicated this will be Mayweather’s toughest fight to date and there is a great possibility of Mayweather getting busted up and losing. Tyson offered great perspective on what Pacquiao should do to secure a victory May 2nd.
“You need to put constant pressure on Floyd, be in front of him all the time by moving side to side and punching from angles,” said Tyson.
“Manny is going to feint Floyd out of position a lot and make him throw more punches than he is used to, and that will open Floyd up. He [Mayweather] has never been tested, whatever happens in the fight, I think he’s going to get hit and hurt more than he has ever before; we’re going to see how tough he is.”
There are many things to take away from this Mike Tyson quote.
Although Tyson’s is not a comprehensive game plan, this is a good foundation on how to attack Mayweather. Pacquiao has the athletic gifts to pull off this game plan. Pacquiao has a herky-jerky style and could very well feint Mayweather out of position, where he can capitalize because of his great foot and hand speed. This is one of the advantages and tactics Pacquiao utilizes over most opponents.
A danger exists, if the fighter cannot execute this style of fighting efficiently. Moving side to side while dodging attacks can be physically and mentally taxing, especially if the fighter [Pacquiao] is missing punches occasionally eating counter-punches for his troubles.
The thing is, aside from what Tyson mentioned as keys for success against Mayweather, in order to have just a modicum of success against Mayweather, it can be argued the opponent must possess a solid jab, ala Miguel Cotto, Marcos Maidana, Oscar De La Hoya, and Jose Luis Castillo (first fight).
A trait all the fighters mentioned have in common, with De La Hoya being the exception, is they’re really good pressure / inside fighters. Another point is that all of those fighters mentioned are naturally bigger / stronger than Mayweather.
Pacquiao is the smallest opponent Mayweather has faced since Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2009, so the size advantage for Pacquiao will not be there. Pacquiao is not a pressure fighter by nature and rarely fights on the inside: he is more a mid-range fighter.
He uses his speed to his advantage, move in and attacks, dashes back or to the side, usually towards his right, away from danger. With all that Pacquiao has in his arsenal, the jab is not necessarily one of his best punches.
Tyson and others are mistakenly labeling Pacquiao as an all-out pressure fighter, when that’s not really his game. Tyson may be implying that he has to fight ferociously like he did in his prime, but in reality, the “old” and “new” Pacquiao are two different styles of fighter.
Many claim Pacquiao lost his “killer instinct” over the last couple of years as he found religion. I think he just he evolved and maximized his strengths as a fighter.
As Chris Algieri 20-1 (8 KOs) was quoted saying after his defeat against Pacquiao this past November, “Manny is great at being Manny.”
Fighting Marquez four times probably provided Pacquiao with the realization that he can’t rush in, giving caution to the wind against certain fighters, which contributed to Manny’s evolution as a fighter.
Pacquiao may have to continue with the next phase of evolution and change his temperament in order to apply the Tyson game plan and a defeat Mayweather. He is going to have to learn to cut off the ring; he will have to suddenly develop or at least be effective in using the jab as well.
Tyson could be alluding to the strategy Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach plan to implore May 2nd.
The last take away from Mike Tyson’s analysis of the fight is the question of Mayweather’s toughness or lack thereof.
It seems as though Mike Tyson doesn’t care for the Mayweather, at least not in this fight. Freddie Roach trained Tyson toward the end of his career and Roach is the current trainer of Pacquiao. Tyson on a number of occasions expressed his displeasure with Mayweather and said he would have liked to have fought Mayweather and expressed pleasure in the notion of beating him up.
That’s fine, as I would expect for him to remain loyal to his former trainer and gravitate towards Pacquiao because he is a fellow action fighter.
For Tyson to question the toughness of a guy who has been a champion for over 17 years, defeated 22 former or current world champions, fought in 24 championship fights across five weight classes says a lot. Mayweather was visibly stunned against DeMarcus Corley, Shane Mosley, and Zab Judah, yet bounced back and dominated all of them.
Tyson’s overall attitude seems ridiculous and adds to the notion that people will not be satisfied until they see Floyd Mayweather lose.
Loyalty to the side, I guess we’ll see what happens May 2nd.