By Jermill Pennington
There’s been a constant barrage of articles that illustrate the possible ways for Manny Pacquiao to have his hand raised this Saturday in victory vs. Floyd Mayweather. While all of those possibilities are plausible, I think anyone of sound mind knows that they aren’t most probable.
The best way to predict what someone will do in the future is to examine what they have done in the past. What we have seen from Mayweather over the past 20 years in the ring is nothing but consistency. Consistency in the regard of what he does in the ring: no matter whom the opponent is, Mayweather has always been able to adjust, ALWAYS!
Many will argue that none of Mayweather’s past opponents brings to the table what a Manny Pacquiao does, and that is a matter of fact. However the aforementioned assertion of Mayweather’s ability to adjust still applies. What I find interesting is that some are hanging their hat on Pacquiao’s foot speed being the cause of Mayweather first loss.
Well, today I will be playing the role of the black cloud that rains on your parade.
Yes, I’ve heard it all, from hours of listening to podcasts to my daily dose of troll encounters in chat rooms. “All Manny has to do is use the straight left when he shoulder rolls” “All Manny has to do when he goes to the ropes is shot the straight right to the body”. Yeah, Yeah, Yea I’ve heard it all, but as the great Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth”.
Now let’s get to some of the rude awakenings that will be setting in come this Saturday. The first awakening for Pac fans will be early in the first or second round when they realize that the gap from a Tim Bradley to a Floyd Mayweather is far more than what they thought.
You look at Tim and say he’s a good athlete that has good skills that resemble those of Mayweather. Fair enough, and I actually understand how one could think that with the untrained eye. We saw in the second fight with Bradley and Pacquiao that Bradley was able to really dictate pace and get in some great shots early on when he was boxing. But Bradley would for some reason trade boxing, as he did vs. Provodnikov, in favor of slugging, which is not his strength. Mayweather won’t do that. Again, to predict the future, we examine the past, and Mayweather has never aborted his game plan. As the thought begins to creep in to their minds “this ain’t no Tim Bradley,” this will just be the beginning of a long night of realizations.
By the third to fourth round, the difference in size, strength and length will begin to dawn on the Pacquiao hopefuls. This rude awakening will remind you that there has been a reason why Pacquiao has never fought a full fledged welter weight, in my opinion. Pulling up light punching guys from lower divisions fighting at catch weights will now be exposed when you realize that the strength and size really does matter.
Manny won’t be punching Chris Algeri, who’s never been in the ring with a man who’s weighed over 150 pounds. Understand that Marcos Maidana came in both fight near 165 pounds, and Victor Ortiz tipped the scales that night at 172 pounds. What this is called is being acclimated to be able to take a punch from a man who on fight night should be fighting at super middle weight or light heavy weight. We know Mayweather is going to land the straight right hand, as everyone does vs. Pacquiao; what will be surprising is the effect the punches have on Pacquiao.
One of the greatest lies told about Mayweather by his detractors is that he can’t punch. What’s funny is the guys who have actually been in the ring with him happen to say otherwise. The consensus thought from fighters who have fought Mayweather make it clear that while he is no George Foreman, his punches are nothing you’re walking through and you do feel them. I’m sure we are recall the right hand delivered by Tim Bradley that lifted Pacquiao’s feet from the canvas, Mayweather is going to do the same, just more often with more force.
I’m not predicting a wash for Mayweather; there will be moments in the fight that Pacquiao wins; however, in those moments there will be awakenings. We all know Pac will be in and out with his movement, but something that is seen as an advantage can be his greatest risk. Don’t think for a minute Mayweather won’t be attempting to set the trap he set for Hatton and was having great success vs. Maidana doing. Mayweather knows you want him on the ropes, so he lets you get him really close and once you come in for the kill, your meet with the check left hook that sent Hatton in to the corner head first. Mayweather did this vs. Maidana also with great success.
Pacquiao will want to push the issue, but must be careful as that hook will be loaded and ready. Maidana was able to take those shots being a bigger man. Will Pacquiao risk taking that shot to engage Mayweather on the ropes? Probably so, but again, history has told us that taking Floyd to the ropes comes with great risk. I like what John “Bones” Jones said coming in to his last fight vs. an Olympic wrestler who everyone knew would try to take him to the mat. “He probably will take me down, but what’s he gonna do once he gets me there”. Just about every fighter’s plan against Mayweather is to get him on the ropes and many succeed doing that. The problem is once they get him there they can’t do anything.
The rudest of awakenings will be when Manny does land a great shot and Mayweather eats it. There’s a large sect of detractors who think Manny will hurt Mayweather and possibly knock him out. Raining on your parade again, let me be the first to tell you that you have been deceived. Ask any fighter who has fought him and they will tell you the guy is tough as nails. And the chin, never talked about much as it’s not been tested a great deal, is also world class.
Yes, we can easily forget that Floyd Mayweather actually has a great chin because he avoids punches so well. The shots Mayweather ate from Shane Mosley I doubt any welterweight at the time could have taken so well. Shane himself couldn’t have asked to land two better shots, but still was unable to hurt Mayweather for more than seconds. The shot Marcos Maidana landed in the third round of their second fight was perfect. Mayweather ate the shot to the point that Maidana himself did not know he had hurt Mayweather, having to look back and see. And Pacquiao circa 2015 ain’t knocking anyone out anymore with one punch, so forget about that. So where does that leave him, having to win a boxing match versus arguably the greatest boxer ever?
Before I go let me mention something I’ve mentioned in previous articles. Another thing Floyd has taught us is that he has never been hit with two consecutive punches, EVER. So now suddenly Pacquiao’s just going to be putting hands on him over 12 rounds? You don’t believe that do you?
There will be a lot to digest around 10pm come May 2nd.
For me, I plan to do as I’ve done watching 47 other nights that were, as Floyd says, “just another fight.”