Monday, December 7, 2009

Manny Pacquiao's one advantage Floyd Mayweather can't counter

When Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. meet next March, they will be fairly evenly matched in most aspects of boxing. Sure both have their strengths and weaknesses, but on paper they will be a close match.

The one thing that only one of them has however is Freddie Roach, widely regarded as the best trainer in the world at the moment. His game plans have turned what would have been difficult fights for Pacquiao into quick victories.

Roach was successful long before he ever met Manny Pacquiao though, he has racked up 20 world champions under his tutelage as well as moving into the world of mixed martial arts and training several fighters there also. Everyone from former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski to up and coming British Welterweight talent Amir Khan have come to Roach in the past to improve various aspects of their boxing, and he rarely disappoints.

Arguably Roach is also the trainer who has come closest to beating Floyd Mayweather so far, having trained Oscar De La Hoya in his split decision loss against 'Money' in 2007. Following a similar game plan as De La Hoya alone Pacquiao has an excellent chance of being the first man to beat Mayweather Jr. although Roach will likely come up with an even better one this time around.

Manny also relies on Roach and his training during fights more than Mayweather does with his trainers, following game plans to the letter and trusting that Roach knows better than he does. Many boxers, Mayweather included, prefer to test things out for themselves, and will often deviate from tactics that they don't like, even if their trainers are disagreeing

Can the Mayweather clan match wits with Roach? (AP Photo)On the other side of the ring Floyd Mayweather Jr. will probably have either his father or uncle. The reason for the uncertainty is due to his uncle having pending charges against him at the moment, although he will probably still be the trainer come March.

Roger Mayweather is undoubtedly a good trainer, although his nephew is the kind of fighter who likely trains himself for the most part. One of the biggest strengths of Floyd Jr. is that he has great ring awareness, and will often change tactics on the fly during a round, where most other boxers would have to wait and be told what to do by their corners at the end. The fact that Pacquiao is this type of boxer could well mean that if Floyd adapts after each round, Pacquiao will struggle to counteract him. Of course coming up with different game plans for each round is far from easy, particularly against someone like Pacquiao who has so few holes in his game.

Floyd Mayweather Sr. is not the same as Roach in the coaching department, witnessed from the Ricky Hatton debacle. Hatton was left without much of a hope after Sr. failed to plug a huge hole in his defense, and Hatton himself said that he had no idea what to do after the complicated plan that Mayweather had told him wasn't working out.

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