Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The world awaits Pacquiao vs Mayweather

The talk of the town is nothing other than the super-fight between WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 ko’s) and undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. (40-0, 25 ko’s) proposed for March of 2010.

Coming into this buildup, who would’ve believed it if they were told,say in 2006, that it would Mayweather Jr. who would be the challenger to the welterweight title. And then to top that off, it would be former featherweight king Manny Pacquiao, who kicked off his career at a measly 106 pounds, who would be the title holder. I must say that it’d be considered far removed from reality for this discussion to take place a couple years ago but this is the stage of the sport today. In a sense, we are getting two great possibilities from this mega-bout. For one, Lil’ Floyd has been the champion who has tasted the least amount of leather in his tenure as a top-bill fighter. Along with it, he is also the consensus cherry picker as well. On the other hand, in Manny Pacquiao, we might be seeing the second coming of Bruce Lee—a man whose physical presence and abilities naturally exceed and outshine his peers. But forecasting a winner, however, seems far from the usual “who is better” debate, simply because we can’t really tell—not yet at least. One thing’s for sure though, one will emerge as the undisputed pound for pound king come mid-March.

If you follow the sport past the surface and decoration, you would know that fighting style is a colossal factor, especially when skill is apparent in both combatants. Although technique, itself, is the conventional foundation to each fighter’s success, other aspects such as aggressiveness and power can mix up the equation quite significantly.

But what do we get when we pit a whirlwind like Pacquiao against a technically savvy counter puncher who rarely engages?

I believe that regardless of how well any fighter holds their defense, they are still susceptible to some amount of damage. The real question would be how the tactician will choose to respond not if, but when the Filipino hits him like he’s never been hit before. We saw living proof in the inevitable demises of Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, in which both fighters unwittingly resorted, when bombarded with power punches, to a duke it out with the Filipino bomber. Hatton had a glass jaw and saw no more than six minutes of Pacquiao in the ring; Cotto is a punch-taking machine who almost escaped the full thirty-six minutes.

But Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn’t a one-dimensional Brit who lacks the skills to do anything other than throw looping shots. Nor is he a struggling boriqua fighting to regain his once-perfect stature. In fact, I highly doubt that the Pacman can successfully lure Mayweather Jr. into an all out slugfest, which would be a losing man’s plan for the Grand Rapids native. Remember, we’re speaking of a fighter who, even when in the process of shutting out and outclassing an opponent, will not gamble his perfect record. In essence, we’re all in accord that this would be the reason why he has rarely had to test his chin. It also happens to be the next dynamic in discussion because Pacquiao will eventually get a lead left and/or right hook in.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., however, can give Usain Bolt a run for his money. He’s quick on his toes, allowing him to bask in the background while averting a brawl and he can always abscond when need be. Even though many fans are not entertained by his backward, pot-shotting style, he still knows how to win and is surely capable of keeping the advantages in his favor from conception to completion. Put it this way, if your hand speed happens to be faster than your foe and you can win easily without damage, wouldn’t you do so?

His downfall, however, comes in multiple parts with the first being that he is still a Mayweather, meaning that his mouth will always come first. You will never hear Pacquiao self-proclaim that he’s “the best”. So even though the Money man skips to the bank to cash his check for the tedious and lackluster track meet that costs home viewers no less than $50 USD to watch, he would find more acceptance and less scrutiny if he were to allow the voice of boxing, as a whole, to decide whether he is that good or not. Although he has been in numerous talks that have stirred up the ‘cherry picking’ controversy, take the incident with RA the Rugged Man as a prime example, I believe that his character wouldn’t take as much of a blow if he were to lay off the G.O.A.T. discussion, especially if the first two in line to support such a claim is Junior and Senior. Another fact working against the former Olympian is that even though this is another welterweight war, his two previous opponents, much like his next, were never top-tier names in the division. Hatton was the king of 10-stone (jr welterweight) before being called up to the welters; Marquez was forced to climb a couple divisions at a stage in his career where he seems well past his prime; and Pacquiao, while holding a welterweight title, is still the naturally smaller man. Some would even argue that the Filipino would be better suited at a lower, more natural weight such as lightweight, where he was the former champion after destroying David Diaz to kick off his rise upwards, or junior welterweight, a division in which he was the champion after dispatching of Hatton.

Aside from the substance-less rumors that continue to sully the Pacman’s recent accomplishments, there doesn’t seem to be any major barriers when it comes to finalizing the biggest boxing match of this generation. A timeline that once projected the official announcement for the bout to be as late as January now seems only days away. I’m also surprised that the current conversation between promoters seems to be focused on venue, gloves, and weight, and not the presumptuous battle of who gets the bigger piece of the pie. This alone, speaks volumes in terms of what the sport has to look forward to in the coming months.

In gauging the odds, what was expected to be a tumultuous roller coaster of ups, downs, and upside-downs now seems to be a pretty calm tide. Early odds put Pacquiao, surprisingly, as the favorite over Mayweather Jr.; the win over Cotto has done more than its fair share of affecting the marketability of the Pacman. But now that some time has been allowed to pass, it looks as if the gambling man will be in for a run because the Money May is back on top as the favored fighter, albeit by a slim margin. In spirit it would seem that the same detractors of each fighter will stick by their man even through the biggest fight the sport has seen in years. Mayweather Sr. has been quoted as saying that his “son is too much for Pacquiao.” Bob Arum, never one to be outspoken, predicts a monstrous blowout in favor of his prized scholar.

As the negotiation days continue to pile up and the venue bidders continue to clamor and convene, we will only see more news and rumors surrounding the “monster” that is Pacquiao-Mayweather. The growing whispers, discussions, and debates are what feeds this “monster”. The fight has gotten so big and has gained so much attention that the entire world, seemingly, awaits the big night.

No comments:

Post a Comment