The undefeated, number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world takes on the first and only 8-division world champion. Boxing fans, including us here at Dundee Sport, have been waiting patiently for this since negotiations for it began in 2009: Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Manny Pacquiao is finally upon us.
Now that the belated super-fight has finally been announced for 2 May, commentators from around the world are offering their predictions on who will win the Fight of the Century. Today, we’re going to take a look at both fighters’ strengths and weaknesses going into the most lucrative match of their respective careers.
Floyd ‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather Jr – The Defence Master
Floyd Mayweather’s most considerable asset is his status as an undefeated champion, which many argue means that he has no weakness. No opponent has been able to break through his incredibly tight defensive shell, which, combined with lightning-quick footwork to keep ample distance, makes him an unrivalled counter puncher. Mayweather is also credited as being the most accurate puncher of our generation, and he times his moves meticulously. These make him a highly economical fighter, and, as a technical master, he can adjust to almost any situation.
However, his wins have been less spectacularly against southpaws and opponents who use great feints and unpredictable angles, of which Pacquiao is both. Mayweather also relies on controlling the pace of the fight and forcing his opponents to fight in his style. If he cannot establish command at the start of the match, he could finally buckle under Pacquiao’s legendary pressure.
Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao – The Offence Master
Almost the direct opposite of Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao possesses the most formidable offensive onslaught in the game today. He’s won the championships of eight divisions on the back of his relentless and sudden punches, which secure wins generally through knockout. Pacquiao possesses boundless energy, and he fights with an especially unpredictable style that’s full of feints and awkward approaches. Speed is one of his strongest suits, both in terms of footwork and punch combinations. Permanent aggression and an unstoppable advance win Pacquiao matches by overwhelming his opponent.
Even so, he rarely makes adjustments because his unorthodox style has served him so well against most fighters; he’s less adaptable than Maywheather is. If Maywheather forces him to box, that enormous power will be nullified. This power, too, relies on his confidence. Mayweather’s notorious trash talk could either get into Pacquiao’s head, and make him indecisive, or it could fuel his rage and make him even more deadly.
Fight of the Opposites
What’s perhaps most interesting about this Fight of the Century is that both fighters’ weaknesses are their opponent’s strengths, and neither has faced anyone like their upcoming opponent before. Pacquiao may be the best southpaw of his era, and Maywheather struggles against unorthodox opponents, but Mayweather is also the best counter-puncher of his era, which has caused problems for Pacquiao’s onslaught in the past. One could analyse the statistics of this fight for weeks and still not have a truly clear favourite.
The fight may well come down to who can push the other to play their game. If this becomes a brawl, Pacquiao is more likely to come out on top; if we find ourselves watching the opponents toe-to-toe boxing, Mayweather will be the winner. Either way, we can guarantee that this will be a match remembered for decades to come.
Who do you think will dominate the Fight of the Century?