Mayweather-Pacquiao: How Does This Potential Blockbuster Play Out? (Part 1 of 3)

By Taj K. Eubanks - March 22, 2009 - Fresh off the heels of his unexpected (to all except Freddie Roach) shellacking of Oscar de la Hoya, Manny Pacquiao found himself finally atop the P4P heap, a spot he had competed for neck-and-neck with Joe Calzaghe for some time. Yet this win, and the emphatic nature in which it was realized, made most people in the know admit that, despite Calzaghe’s unbeaten resume and win over the ageless Bernard Hopkins, we were witnessing a an unequivocal top dog emerge in the Filipino bomber. It followed then that, having shown he could acquit himself in superlative fashion at 147 pounds, Pacquiao’s next scalp should be none other than that of the preceding #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, the “retired” Floyd Mayweather, Jr..

Months of speculation have convinced the boxing world that not only is Mayweather’s return imminent, but also that he is coming back to snatch his P4P crown off of Pacquiao’s head. That said, how does a scrap between the two stack up? One need look no further than their contests with their one common opponent, Oscar de la Hoya, for clues. While it may seem easy to simply assume that since Pacquiao brutalized Oscar and made him quit, while Floyd won by decision, that Pacquiao would in turn bludgeon Mayweather, is too simplistic and shortsighted. Closer attention to the circumstances surrounding each matchup must be paid.

The May 5, 2007, superfight between Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., ended in a majority decision, capping what most deemed as un unenjoyable affair, given all the hype that preceded it. (most of which Floyd fostered). Floyd predicted a knockout; none came, however. Before the fight, Oscar made Floyd agree to a list of demands which would favor de la Hoya, namely that the two wear Reyes gloves (the so-called puncher’s glove, which should have, in theory, been of benefit to Oscar, the bigger puncher of the two), a smaller ring (which would benefit Oscar’s long-standing stamina problems), and most importantly, a 154 lb. weight limit. At the time of the fight, when Oscar was 34 years old, it is telling that he had not fought below 154 lbs. in six years, in a March 2001 fight against Arturo Gatti (which also means that he hadn’t fought at welterweight in EIGHT years when he fought Pacquiao, but more on this later).

Further, Oscar had even ventured up to middleweight, coming in at 160 lbs. against Felix Sturm, and 155 lbs. versus Bernard Hopkins. Thus, Oscar had all the advantages that an aging big man could have had against a smaller man: gloves which would augment his vaunted left hook; a ring small enough so that he wouldn’t have to chase Floyd around; and a fighting weight that he wouldn’t have to struggle to reach, probably the most crucial factor in an older fighter’s success. None of these allowances assured victory for Oscar, however. Oscar’s punches rarely landed, he predictably tired in the second half of the fight, and Mayweather pecked his way to victory, proving himself to be the clearly superior fighter. Oscar, for all his deficiencies, gave a good account of himself; it was his next fight (a tune-up/template for the coming Pacquiao fight), against the much smaller Stevie Forbes which would portend horrible dangers to come for the aging Golden Boy…

Article posted on 22.03.2009

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