Pacquiao vs. Martinez: Safe for Pacquiao. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather Jr: Dangerous for Pacquiao

By Vitali Shaposhnikov: Boxing history has on numerous occasions shown us that styles make and break fights. Stylistic matchup is the key, the science itself. Smaller boxers properly paired up against the bigger ones will almost always win. Marciano was always the smaller and shorter guy, and so was Mike Tyson. Back in the day, when heavyweights could come in at a much lower weight, they would take advantage of that to maximize speed and agility. Stemming and concluding from this, I would like to make a bold statement that is likely to raise a lot of eyebrows and cause a cascade of negative reactions coming my way: If Pacquiao fights Martinez at anywhere below 150lbs, the result would be identical to that of Margarito, and if Pacquiao fights Mayweather Jr. he will lose via UD and not by a margin. I took a little time to think both of these fights through (Martinez was fresh in my mind, while Mayweather Jr. fight played out a million times of the last few years), and here is how I came up with that “ridiculous” statement:

When comparing and contrasting Margarito and Martinez, I see quite a few similarities between the two. Both are generally offensive fighters thus feel more comfortable moving forward, both have better than decent power in their arms, and both load up on their power shots. Of course I am not trying to say that they are slow (especially looking at the phenomenal knockout of Paul Williams by Martinez this past weekend), but comparing to Pacquiao’s reaction time, they are insufficiently quick. If Martinez ever gets inside the ring with Pacquiao, I expect to see Manny go in and out with combinations, while Martinez attempts at catching him in-between. Fighting against Williams is a whole different fight, at a more relaxing pace. There is time to move and think, and there is opportunity to tie up if things get bumpy. With Pacquiao, this is not an option. He keeps the pressure on without lag, and does not permit his opponents to come close for a ‘hug’. I thought that Margarito tried his best, keeping the pressure and punch volume up. I would think Martinez could mimic that, trying to land the bombs. Manny is quicker on his feet, with faster hand speed and reaction time. Sergio would find himself on the other end of endless counter punching from a full spectrum of angles.

Most of Manny’s big wins come against traditional Mexican fighters. This is not something I made up, but something that we all know. What is a traditional Mexican style of boxing? Come forward, punch as you move, and avoid fighting backwards (thus plant yourself if you are going to trade). Pacquiao was always good at trading shots (since he is a very string puncher for his size) and at countering most offense. He is especially good at moving backward or sideways while throwing power punches. This skill in particular is what makes him great as he is. Opposition that keeps coming forward and doesn’t respond well to movement is his bread and butter. And this is exactly why I think he would lose to Mayweather Jr.

Imagine this with me for a second: Floyd doesn’t try to land anything solid, but instead uses his exceptional evasive skill (foot and upper body movement) to evade Manny while throwing a massive amount of jabs. Can Floyd avoid Pacquiao’s offensive speed? Yes, most definitely. Does Floyd have a solid crisp jab? We all know he does. Is Mayweather’s hand speed as fast as Manny’s? No, it’s faster. So, stemming from that strategy, I think that Floyd would dominate Pacquiao round-by-round in a very boring fashion. Pacquiao would chase Floyd in hopes of landing some power shots, while Floyd would move back and jab with an occasional left hook (which he can do real well). Manny’s best shot would be to go strictly to the body for the majority of the fight. Again, this is a matter of style. Instead of trading or walking into his punches, Pacquiao’s opposition this time would be firing from afar, and moving back throughout the fight.

As far as my personal preference goes, I would like to see Pacquiao fight Marquez once more. At that weight, both fighters are at their physiological peak (I think) and would make it exciting to watch. Also it seems to me that Marquez figured Manny out during their bouts, thus was more successful than all others in giving him a run for his money. As the matter of fact, I had the pleasure of doing a one-on-one interview with Freddie Roach this past April, and of course we discussed Pacquiao’s previous and future competition. One thing ill say that coach Roach told me, and it’s that of all the fighters out there, Roach think that Juan got their number down, and think that he is STILL the most dangerous opponent for Manny.

I will now wait for you guys to tear this piece apart and let me know your thoughts! Thanks for reading.

Article posted on 23.11.2010

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