There are certain sporting events that make people recall exactly where they were and who they were with when they witnessed something truly legendary. Many believe that the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is such an occasion. To give better clarity to those new to boxing, or those wanting further analysis, we break down some key factors that could determine who takes home the belt.
We’re officially less than a week out from what is being hyped as the fight of the century – even if boxing enthusiasts and casual supporters of the sweet science wanted the match up between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao five years earlier. With each respective fighter bobbing and weaving their way to other fights and lucrative paydays on the quest toward standing toe-to-toe at the MGM Grand, this has and always will be looked at as legacy defining. Mayweather’s unblemished record of 47-0 suggests that he has a legitimate shot at breaking Rocky Marciano’s all-time mark of 49-0 which has stood since Marciano KO’d Archie Moore in Yankee Stadium in 1955.
While all of Mayweather’s opponents since 2012 have seem committed to simply “go-the-distance” with him, Manny Pacquiao has proven to have the perfect blend of big fight experience and gusto in order to eliminate the need for the judge’s scorecards. Many pundits will point to a number of factors which will predict the outcome.
Here are 10 key facts that can’t be ignored.
Pacquaio has lost two of his last five fights
Although Pacquiao is technically on a three-fight winning streak, he was marred by two ugly defeats prior to the upswing. During that stretch, none of Pacquaio’s opponents were remotely close to the caliber of fighters Mayweather fought during that same period. Consider their last five opponents’ records: Pacquiao faced records of 136-34 while Mayweather saw 177-17 (each faced an opponent twice: Timothy Bradley and Marcos Maidana). Whether that put added mileage on Mayweather’s already aging legs, or it has better prepared him for the match up, there’s no denying he has gotten in better work since 2012.
Pacquiao has one knockout in his last 10 fights
Many believe Pacquiao has to knock Mayweather out in order to win the fight. If it’s a close contest – which many assume it will be – the judges will be hard pressed to give marginal rounds to Pacquiao given Floyd’s untarnished record. You’d have to go back 10 fights – when Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round of their WBO welterweight fight – as the last time he won by KO.
Mayweather has knocked out one opponent in the last six years
While Pacquiao’s power has seemingly eluded him with age, Mayweather too has also seen his style of fighting morph from someone who could put an opponent on the canvas, to that of a more of a defensive-minded fighter. Victor Ortiz was the last opponent to lay in Mayweather’s wake, and that KO was marred in controversy. In the fourth round of their fight, Ortiz head-butted Mayweather – forcing a timeout from referee Joe Cortez. Following calling “time in,” Ortiz felt it necessary to apologize/hug the champ. After they touched gloves, Mayweather landed a devastating left hook that landed flush. “In the ring, you have to protect yourself at all times,” Mayweather said to ESPN after the fight. “After it happened, we touched gloves and we were back to fighting and then I threw the left hook and right hand after the break. You just gotta protect yourself at all times.”
Mayweather has gone the distance in his last five fights
As mentioned previously, Mayweather and his opponents have earned the reputation of going the full 36 minutes. The closest he came to losing was in his first bout with Marcos Maidana when judge Michael Pernick scored the fight 114–114, a draw, and the other two judges awarded Mayweather a majority decision. You would have to go back to his 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya as the last time a judge saw the bout in another fighter’s favor (judge Tom Kaczmarek had De La Hoya winning, 115-113).
They have five opponents in common
Despite having a shared, professional record of 104-5-2, the fighters only have five mutual opponents: Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton and Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather is of course 5-0 against them; Pacquiao is 6-1-1. Here is what each fighter had to say to ESPN about the match up.
De La Hoya:
“When it first got made I went with Floyd. Floyd hands down, As I’m starting to see clips of Pacquiao training and see the fire in his eye and witness the speed, he is looking fast. He’s looking like the old Pacquiao. If the Pacquiao shows up that beat me on May 2 then Mayweather is in trouble. My head goes with Mayweather, my heart is with Pacquiao.”
“I think it’s going to be a really tough fight. Manny has his advantages. Floyd has his advantages. But working with Freddie Roach the past two fights, I know what he is capable of doing and I think he is going to get Manny to see Floyd’s mistakes and Manny is going to take advantage of them.”
“I think Mayweather has the advantage. He can get out of the way of Manny’s punches and counter him. He’s a great counterpuncher. And Mayweather’s punching power is not bad at all. So he can hurt you. Manny is very fast. He throws a lot of punches, four or five in combination and they come out pretty fast. He’s quick but sometimes you can predict what he will do and you time him. Maybe in the beginning he throws you off but then you get the hang of it. Maybe that’s why Marquez landed the right hand [to knock him out]. He knew he could close his eyes and throw the right hand and land it.”
“The first five rounds I gave Floyd a good go. It was close. Then it was apparent it was a different level than anyone I boxed before. His timing and his speed were great. I never saw those punches. You’re not gonna beat him boxing. He has that shoulder roll and fantastic defense, but he also fought me up close.”
“It is difficult to give a conclusion on the result because if the fight [goes the distance] it will undoubtedly be a unanimous-decision win for Mayweather.”
A rematch could be worth over $300 million for both fighters
There is no rematch clause, but as it’s often said, “money talks.” Should Manny Pacquiao pull off the upset that sets the stage for not only one of the most highly anticipated rematches in boxing history, but also the most lucrative. While no one expects Mayweather to give Pacquiao another shot if he beats him, Floyd has always seemed more enamored by the financial windfall that the sport provides rather than his legacy as a champion.
This fight is expected to earn each man a split of $300 million in revenue. According to John Branch of The New York Times, the 60-40 split between Mayweather and Pacquiao would be more than twice as much as any other payday in boxing history. Initial estimates forecast $270 million in revenue alone based on PPV purchases in 3 million homes, 72 million in ticket sales at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and $35 million in foreign sales. Win or lose, both men are walking away with truckloads of cash.
According to boxing.gov, three of the top 10 highest grossing PPV fights of all time are rematches (Lewis vs. Holyfield II, Mayweather vs. Maidana II, Holyfield vs. Tyson II). If their first fight can generate $300 million, there’s the real possibility that a second go ’round could double that.
Judge Burt Clements cost Pacquiao a 2004 split-decision victory
While both camps were pleased with the announcement of referee Kenny Bayless and judges Burt Clement, Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman, Pacquiao does have a sordid past with Clement. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Clements, 62, of Reno, has worked only one Pacquiao fight, and his mistake cost the Filipino a 2004 split-decision triumph over Juan Manuel Marquez in the first of their four fights. Pacquiao knocked down Marquez three times in the first round, and should have earned a 10-6 score. Clements admitted afterward that he didn’t realize he could score a round more lopsided than 10-7. That extra point resulted in his 113-113 scorecard that forced a draw.”
Mayweather is a +210 favorite
Since the fight was first announced in February, Mayweather has been a decided favorite to win according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas. While his advantage has decreased in subsequent weeks, he’s still a +210 favorite to win (a person has to bet $210 dollars to win $100).
Mayweather has only “officially” been knocked down once
As many pundits and boxing elite alike have mentioned, many believe Pacquiao can only win by way of knockout. In his entire career, Floyd Mayweather has only been “officially” knocked down once. In 2001 – fighting at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan – Carlos Hernandez was awarded a knockdown despite not being the one who inflicted the damage on Mayweather. The latter had broken his hand while delivering a punch in the 6th round and put his glove to the canvas from the pain.
While not scored an official knockout, most believe Mayweather’s one true knockdown occurred against Zab Judah when they fought in 2006. In round 2, Mayweather’s glove clearly touched the canvas, but referee Richard Steele ruled it a slip.
Pacquiao is only the eighth southpaw to fight Mayweather
Despite being mired in controversy for his out-of-ring antics, the two rumors inside the ring that are synonymous with Floyd Mayweather are that he ducked Pacquiao during his prime, and that he is “allergic to southpaws.” In his 47 professional fights, only eight have been against lefties – many of whom gave him a fair amount of difficulties. As Grantland noted, “Two of the three times Mayweather has been visibly hurt in the ring (not counting when he has hurt his own hands punching people) have come against lefties. The first was against DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley in 2003, who landed a two-punch combination, a wide right, and then a straight left. The second came in 2006 against Zab Judah, who in the second round scored a flash knockdown that wasn’t counted.” Despite his supposed difficulties, Mayweather managed to knock out half of his left-handed opponents.