By Rory Fitzgerald
You could write a best selling novel on why it has taken until now for us to see the two best fighters of their generation lock horns. However, the reasons behind the delay can now be put to one side because, this Saturday May 2, the World will finally get to see Floyd Mayweather take on Manny Pacquiao in what is the biggest fight of the modern generation of not the biggest in the history of boxing.
Every hardcore and casual boxing fan will be on the edge of their seats as “The best fights the best” in the MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Boxing is truly a great sport and one that divides opinions more than most. This fight more than any other will have fight fans scratching their heads, and changing their minds more than once as to who will emerge victorious. It really is one of those 50/50 fights.
We will now have a look at the reasons why ‘The Fight of The Century’ will have the world and not just the boxing world at a complete standstill in the early hours of Sunday morning. (Irish Time).
Floyd Mayweather is an Olympic bronze medallist from the 1996 Atlanta games. ‘Money’ lost out in the semi-finals to Bulgarian Serafim Todorov in what put mildly was a controversial decision. Referee Hamad Hafaz Shouman even raised Mayweather’s hand, in the belief he had won, only to hear the announcement that the Bulgarian got the decision 10-9. A disgusted Mayweather went pro straight after that, and never looked back.
A perfect record (47 fights, 47 wins, 26 by KO), a World Champion in five different divisions, ten World titles and the lineal championship in four different weight classes. There is surely a good case to put forward that Mayweather, who is ranked No.1 pound for pound fighter with the likes of Ring magazine and Sports Illustrated, is the best of all time.
Manny Pacquiao, boasts an impressive professional record of 64 fights, 57 wins (38 by KO) only five defeats and two draws. Like Mayweather, Pacquiao has also won ten World titles, but incredibly he is the first and only eight division World champion. He is ranked No.3 by Ring magazine in the pound for pound standings. “Pacman” was named as the “fighter of the decade” for the 2000’s by the BWAA (Boxing Writers Association of America) and both the WBC and WBO organisations.
Now those are two CV’s to get excited about!
CAREER DEFINING FIGHTS
Floyd Mayweather went into a fight with the “underdog” tag hanging over his head in May 2007. Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya was his opponent when the WBC Light Middleweight title was up for grabs, in the ‘Super Fight’. Many pundits and fight fans believed that De La Hoya was going to be the first man to defeat the outspoken Michigan man.
What followed was a defensive master class from the man they call “Money”. The fighter who comes from a boxing family epitomized the ‘hit and don’t be hit’ mantra. He made it hard for De La Hoya to have any real success, while the classy Mayweather picked his opponent off with sublime speed and accuracy. If, for some unknown reason people hadn’t heard of Floyd Mayweather, they certainly knew he was from that night on.
On the other hand some of the best fights in the last 15 years have involved Manny Pacquiao. Most notably his three encounters with Mexican Erik Morales and who will ever forget any of the four brawls he had with another Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez stunning 6th round KO of “Pacman” in 2012 was awarded “fight of the year” by Ring magazine, and in truth their other three encounters were deserving of the same accolade.
But it was Paquiao’s demolition of a third Mexican that really set his career off. In November 2003, Pacquiao faced hard hitting Marco Antonio Barrera in his first fight at featherweight. Pacquiao was comfortably ahead on all three judges scorecards, when Barrera’s trainer Rudy Perez stepped onto the ring apron to stop his fighter taking anymore punishment. It was Barrera’s only ever stoppage defeat and a victory that put Manny Pacquiao firmly on the world stage.
WHO HAS MORE TO LOSE?
Floyd Mayweather has never been put on the floor in his pro career, never mind been beaten. He last tasted defeat as an amateur in that controversial decision at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. He models himself as a winner and losing is not an option for Floyd.
Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao has tasted defeat on 5 occasions, every time coming back stronger. In 2012 he suffered two successive losses for the first time in his career against Timothy Bradley (controversially) and that stunning knockout defeat to Marquez. It looked like the mega fight with Mayweather was now further away than ever.
That seemed to spur on Pacquiao as he has since bounced back with three straight comfortable wins. Comfortably outpointing Brandon Rios, gaining revenge against Timothy Bradley on points, and putting Chris Algieri on the floor no less than six times on his way to another comfortable point’s decision. All three opponents worthy of world class status.
Paquiao has shown that he can take defeat on the chin and use it as motivation to come back even stronger. At this stage of Mayweather’s career, and the fact that he just doesn’t contemplate losing, it’s hard to see how he could come back after a defeat.
Win, lose or draw on May 2nd, every boxing fan will always remember Pacquiao as one of the greatest champions of all time. On the other hand something tells me that if the unthinkable happens, and Floyd Mayweather is defeated for the first time in his professional career, everyone will remember that 1 defeat on Mayweathers record. That one blot on his otherwise perfect copybook – the defeat to Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.