In any fight, there are only two outcomes; it can end via stoppage or it can end having gone the full course and require the judges’ decision.
Yet within this, there is so much that can happen. The ebb-and-flow of the contest can change based on a single power punch, stamina, the ability to gauge and more, all of which usually make predicting a definitive ending as hard as attaining one.
However, with the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquaio bout, each fighter has been so studied, their respective careers followed and analysed so closely, that the vast majority of expert boxing champions are in agreement that there is only three real possible outcomes in this fight – and here is a breakdown of each of them.
- Mayweather wins via decision
Mayweather is the absolute master of cruising through fights. With a huge 72 inch reach (way above average for a man of 5’8), unbelievable reactions and a natural inclination towards a defensive style, Mayweather is a nightmare to attack.
It is worth noting too, that Pacquaio is not the kind of fighter that wants to get up close and personal. He is more inclined to step in-and-around the range of his opponent to pepper them with punches.< Thus, many see Floyd using his five-inch reach advantage to pick Manny off and use his near perfect footwork to slide away, forcing Pacman to chase shadows all night, whilst his size advantage means he can manipulate the Filipino in the clinch. The timing, speed and power of these sniper shots Mayweather throws has seen many vicious fighters become obviously timid in attempts to track and attack him. This is the way most of Mayweather’s fights have gone. This is the most likely outcome partly because this is not the same Pacquaio that used to buzz around the ring and throw over 1000 punches a fight. According to stats, he now throws closer to 700 based on his last three fights. All this combines to read for a clear points win for Mayweather. BOXERS THAT HAVE PREDICTED THIS OUTCOME = Juan Manuel Marquez, Amir Khan, Shane Mosley, Carl Froch, Sugar Ray Leonard
- A Close fight with a Controversial Decision
Even though Pacquaio’s punch output has decreased drastically in the last five years, he still throws way more than Mayweather does, who throws around 500 per fight.
Pacquaio is also the fastest combination puncher Mayweather has faced, with his feet being arguably as quick as Mayweather’s in regards to dancing in-and-out of the right spots through a fight. Through this, many people see Pacman getting the better of the exchanges between the two.
By now people realise that relentless pressure is not the way to beat Mayweather. He soaks it up, ties fighters up, picks them off both on the way in and even on the inside (something which he is underrated for). However, he was seriously troubled – obviously only for a round or three – by guys with good hand-speed and power; think Shane Mosley or Zab Judah.
If in the early rounds Pacquaio can get in-and-out, out flurrying Mayweather, thus forcing Floyd to come forward and take risks, this fight could be everything it should be – a back-and-fourth affair showcasing boxing at its very finest.
This will require Pacquaio to be composed and at his best at a war-torn 36 years old. But there is hope that this can happen, as in exceptional circumstances fading fighters have found their very best form; Joe Frazier against Muhammad Ali in their third fight and Shane Mosley against Antonio Margarito, fired-up by discovering Margarito was attempting to cheat with hardened hand-wraps.
If this happens, there will be a case for a win from either fighter. Mayweather will be countering with cleaner punches and Pacquaio will be out-working him. Therefore, anyone has a chance to win and it will come down to what the judges favour. In the end, one side (or even both with a draw) will cry foul-play.
BOXERS THAT HAVE PREDICTED THIS OUTCOME = Bernard Hopkins, Ricky Hatton, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya
- Mayweather to win via Knockout
This prediction is not as widely stated in comparison to the two others but it is justifiably the next most likely outcome after the first two.
Pacquaio was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez just four fights ago. Being knocked unconscious from one-punch for the first time after being in countless wars, whilst he was still fighting near his best, can be a signal Manny’s body is starting to give.
Even as the younger of the two, Pacquaio has had 17 more fights. His style has seen him take more than his fair share of punishment over the years. In this training camp for the biggest fight of his life, it is hard to imagine the rigours Pacquaio has put himself through.
Mayweather has never really been in what can truly be classified as a war. Formerly known as “Pretty Boy”, he has taken less punishment in 47 fights then some fighters have gotten in a single night.
The fight sport is famous for showing fighters turn old over night. A legendary pantheon of fighters have all come out and looked mere shells of who they once were, literally unable to take the punishment any longer. It can be shocking and saddening to watch but it is a real part of the sport.
With Mayweather obviously working on his power for this fight (chopping wood) and with Pacquaio’s history and style, it would not be too surprising to see Floyd at some point catch Manny too clean and too hard for his body to handle.
BOXERS THAT HAVE PREDICTED THIS OUTCOME = Kel Brook, Roy Jones, Lennox Lewis
Although these are the three most likely outcomes based on expert opinion, the likes of Miguel Cotto, Mike Tyson, Joe Calzaghe and Evander Holyfield see Pacquaio winning outright. This may not be one of the three most likely scenarios but it is not that shocking of a prediction. Pacquaio is one of the best offensive boxers of all time and when Mayweather sits on the ropes – as always happens at some point – the Filipino can unleash punches of the like Floyd has never taken before. However, “Money” knows this and will be prepared for it, so he will look to get back into his groove straight after this happens.
This is boxing, and anything can happen in a fight. Until it does, let’s just enjoy that this super-fight is actually happening.