When I read sundry articles by some self-styled Boxing Analyst and pundits on the possible outcome in the Floyd Mayweather Junior and Manny Pacquiao fight, I am driven to wonder whether this fight have not propelled us into some kind of surrealism, where the bizarre and the illogical have replaced reason and objectivity in the minds of men. I certainly am not lumping those who simply feel Manny might win, based on their subjective opinions and assessment of the skill set brought to the fight by the two pugilist, in with others who make absurd claims that Floyd has no chance. Yes, one have to expect these kind of convictions from Manny’s trainers and his supporters. But one do expect at least a modicum of analytical maturity to be exhibited in the understanding of those who are considered to be boxing analyst and pundits. And what is even more puzzling and shocking, when one considers such an outrageous assessment of Floyd’s chances against Manny, is the fact that the chance of victory for virtually every fighter entering the ring, even those with few wins and many losses, are never whittled down to zero. So from whence comes this bizarre pattern of reasoning.
I tell ya, one had to have really parked one’s sense and capacity to reason on some dark planet beyond one’s immediate reach, to offer such absurd assessments of the chances of an unbeaten fighter like Floyd Mayweather Junior. The irrationality in which these arguments are framed leads me to conclude that when they are being composed, the authors are crossing their fingers and closing their eyes and wishing fervently that the thoughts and conclusions they are about to put down will become like horses so that they can ride.
Let me state that I see the contest as a 60/40 fight, with the odds in Floyd Mayweather Jr favor. And I do so based on my examination of what are incontrovertible boxing analytics with respect to both fighters, and which are on record. Yes, such data alone, without factoring existing variable, does necessarily represent absolute proof who will win or lose fight. What stats like those do is allow one to apportion odds, chances, based on preponderances that favor or disfavor a particular fighter. And since this is what has become the standard measurement used by boxing pundits, writing and talking heads, as well as boxing analyst, to grade the ability or lack thereof of fighters, the stats on which I base my arguments and propositions are not at variance with that used for the same purpose universally. Where I stray from the fold, is in how I present my arguments, and in this piece I am going to do so by making them under boxing related indexes.
THE SIZE INDEX: Floyd is bigger than Manny, and has a significant reach advantage. His main weapons are straight rights and jabs thrown precisely and accurately that connect at the optimum extension of his arm. The only other fighter he has fought who is similar to Manny, in terms of the size differential, is Manuel Marquez, and we saw how that went. So one can objectively assume that Floyd can fire these weapons consistently at Manny from a safe distance. This does not mean that he will always connect, or that Manny might not be able to find a way of limiting the effectiveness of these weapons. It is simply a projection of what is possible based on the size differential between the two fighters, and an objective observation of how one them is known to fight.
THE SPEED INDEX: The proposition of many is that Manny is faster than Floyd, and that Floyd has never fought anyone as fast as Manny. I do not buy that, because I believe that Zab Judah in his days was as fast, if not faster than Manny in his punching speed. But there is another nuance to this that is commonly ignored. Fast in terms of the velocity with which a fighter throws his punches is very much a question of what one admires, rather than how that speed is generated. Manny’s punching speed is like that of an oscillating jack hammer held horizontally. If his opponent does not possess the kind of defense to adequately cope with it, they are done. Floyds speed is like that of a striking snake, quick, precise, and very effective. It surprises his opponents, because he does not simply throw them out there hoping one might land. He throws them when they least expect it, and thus produces an uncertainty about the plan they had devised to use against him, before getting into the ring with him.
THE POWER INDEX: This is another analytical data point that is argued with fervency by many. They say that Manny punches harder than Floyd. Far as I know, since moving up Manny has only kayoed one fighter with a single punch, and that is the same fighter that Floyd gave the vapors to with a check hook. Yeah, Manny kayoed Ricky Hatton earlier, but if we are going to use the outcomes of relatively recent fights with common opponents as an analytical measuring point, then we have to apply the same standard to their other common opponent, Manuel Marquez. Funny that they always skirt around that by introducing conditional nuances they never find it appropriate to use, when the disadvantage they are arguing is negatively being applied to Floyd’s chances for victory.
If Floyd’s punching did not have power fighters like Canelo Alvarez and Sugar Shane Mosely would not have backed off after he began connecting with them. And that is a norm in all of Floyd’s fights. His opponents say they are not afraid of his power, that they will apply continuous pressure on him, and as soon as he begins connecting with those straight rights they seem to go into a shell, coming out intermittently, but soon hibernating back into the safety of their shells. Even further, if anyone does an analysis of Floyds fights before encountering the problem with his hands, his knockout ratio was way up there. In fact in his early forays in the ring he was being described as a boxer/puncher. Manny’s ability to punch harder than Floyd is based on the fact that Floyd chooses to constrain himself and not take undue risks when delivering his punches, and perhaps, in deference to the problem he has with his hands.
THE VERSATALITY INDEX: I do not believe that anyone, even the most indoctrinated adherents to the scripture of Manny’s boxing supremacy over Floyd, will argue against this advantage for Floyd. Manny is a physical fighter who goes into the ring and fights one way. Floyd is a boxing virtuoso who makes adjustments and adaptations in the ring to deal with whatever his opponent brings to the fight. And this does not even need any further elaboration.
THE CHIN INDEX: Since I am always very up front in my opinions on why some folks take and argue the most absurd propositions when issue is boxing, especially when one of the fighters is Floyd Mayweather Jr, I am not going to deviate from that now. I believe that these people have internalized a hatred for Floyd that in many ways have affected their ability to reason normally. Because Floyd has not killed anyone, neither has he been the worse, in terms of the issues that surrounds him, in boxing or any sport. There are even some in the punditry sports booths who are not exactly like the driven snow, and who have served jail time. So one has to attribute the irrationality that seem to infect the reasoning of specific analyst and pundits to something very strong and subjective, and unlike anything else we have seen heretofore in boxing, except, perhaps, the press response to the draft decision of Muhammed Ali.
And it is this irrationality that influences the proposition that Floyd’s Chin is less durable than Manny’s. Even though Floyd has been hit by far bigger fighters than Manny, and has never gone down. Even though we saw Shane Mosely crack Floyd twice with punches that caused his knees to buckle, and which would have probably sent Manny to sleep, as well as many other fighters in that weight class, and Floyd recovered enough to dominate the rest of the round and the fight. Even though we saw Maidana unleash close to 300 punches on Floyd in the first three rounds of their first fight, and yet he never buckled, never wilted, never appeared hurt, and came back and dominated Maidana to win the fight. But still, you will always see the pundits and so called analyst ignoring the kind of evidence they use to measure the “whiskers” of every other fighter, in order to convince people they should buy into that subjective incoherence, rather than what they have seen with their very own eyes.
THE RECENT ACTIVITY INDEX: There is a marked difference in the contractual conditions and obligations imposed on common opponents of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. And this has become one the most inconvenient truths some analyst seem to avoid like the plague. Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosely, and Miguel Cotto were not required to sign weight specific weight contracts for their fights with Floyd. They had to for their fights with Manny. In fact both De La Hoya and Cotto were discernibly weight drained going into their fights with Manny. And very important to the indexing of Floyd’s recent activity is the fact he fought Canelo and Cotto at 154, Canelo came into the ring weighing around 170, and Marcos Maidana in their first fight came into ring fight weighing 165.
THE IRRATIONALITY INDEX: I have been following boxing for more than 35 years. My fascination with the sport began when I was about 8 years old, and was given a book by an elder cousin that documented heavy weight fights from the John L Sullivan and Gentle Jim Corbett encounter, to the Joe Louis era. From that time I actively and avidly followed the commentary and analysis from boxing writers and others in the media who “blessed” us with their expertise on a sport that was once celebrated as the “sweet science”. And how we marveled at the exhibition of this displayed by the Jersey Joe Walcotts, the Archie Moores, the Wilfredo Benitez, the Muhammed Alis and Sugar Ray Leonards, among so many others. Today there has developed what I consider to be an irrational and incomprehensible praxis that the art and skill that was once admired in boxing is no longer important, and it is better for it be like what we believed existed in coliseums during Roman era, when gladiators used brute force to dismember and destroy their opponents. And how ironic is it that many of the people who have embraced this praxis, love baseball and the tedious form that game takes.
About the most irrational sport analysis I have witnessed in the build up to this fight comes from Skip Bayless on ESPN First Take. If Floyd was in his age group one might have surmised that he had either, beaten Skip up and stolen his lunch money in high school, or Floyd being so richly athletically endowed, had attracted popular high school girls that Skip had his eye on, but could not never get off the bench, much less proximate to any base. Because it is really difficult to understand how someone can seriously make the comments he does with no apprehension of being really challenged on them. Let me briefly elaborate on a couple of the comments, and demonstrate how childish and irrational they are.
Skip endorses Manny Pacquiao’’s and Freddie Roach’s irrational argument that God will favor Manny because Floyd is evil. That Manny beating Floyd will clean up boxing. And this passes with no challenge from a media that expressed outrage when Adrian Broner boasted that he had beaten a Mexican, and classified that comment as being racist. I have always thought that Mexican, American, Dominican, Canadian et al described one’s nationality. I know for a fact there are black Mexicans, white Mexicans, indigenous Mexicans, and so on and so forth. Given that fact, would Broner’s boast that he had beaten an American or Canadian be racist? And if not so, why, since the comment that was described as racist, and for which he received a suspension from one of the boxing bodies, differs only in terms of the national status referenced.
And yet, the boxing media seem to have no problem with an American being painted as the devil by implication by Manny’s Camp. A camp which reacted with outrage over alleged funning of Freddie Roach’s condition by Brandon Rios, and a boxing media that reacted with similar outrage. How does that jell with the tactless and intolerant consideration for the fact that Floyd Weather, like many African Americans come from a spiritual and religious background where regardless of their lack of public expression of their faith, Christianity represent the total embodiment of their spiritual awareness. They come from a history and ancestry where their religious and spiritual beliefs most often represented the one solid and unwavering self-awareness of their human membership. Imagine therefore being in this land where their ancestors were captives, were subjected to the most atrocious treatment and experiences, and where they, as a group, used this belief, this faith, as the prism through which they saw their nation and the world, having to witness one of their own being categorized as the “devil”, as someone who God could not love, and would guide the hands of another to beat him up in commercial pugilistic encounter. Is this really our understanding of the essential message of the Christian Faith?
Skip also advances the idiotic argument that Floyd has been avoiding Manny for five years, dishonestly ignoring the fact that it was Manny’s refusal to agree to Olympic Style Drug Testing that cashiered the initial arrangements for the fight. If he was making fun I would not have mentioned this. But he was not. He was just being blatantly dishonest with the supreme confidence that his peers would follow suit and not call him on it.
He argues that Floyd’s subdued manner in this fight is indicative of fear. Of fear of Manny’s power. Floyd had more reason to fear Canelo Alvarez, a young, strong, fast and power punching light middle weight than he has for fearing a blown up Welterweight like Manny. Who has Manny knocked out with one punch? Oh yeah, Ricky Hatton. If I was as looney in my thinking like Skip I would argue that Manny probably watched the fight between Floyd and Ricky, saw how Floyd caught him, and took example from that. Logically and objectively, why would a fighter be afraid of an opponent who was knocked down with one punch, and then later knocked out in later rounds by the same kind of punch, by a fighter he Floyd had shut out, hurt and humiliated in a previous fight? To paraphrase a quote from act 3 in William Shakespeare Julius Caesar, surely the institutionalized hate that some have embraced for Floyd Mayweather Jr seem to have subsumed their personalities, and so much so that it has caused their sense of reason to have become like that more natural to brutish beasts.