Mayweather-Pacquiao: Five Key Factors

By Jarrett Zook on April 20, 2015
Mayweather-Pacquiao: Five Key Factors
Floyd is a master boxer who has overcome all opposition. Manny has sometimes faltered.

Both fighters have their respective strengths and potential weaknesses that could come to play defining roles in their upcoming bout…

As an opinionated person, who happens to be a boxing writer, it is only natural that I throw in my two cents regarding the upcoming mega fight. If everything goes according to plan, I firmly believe that Mayweather will win by a fairly convincing unanimous decision. Floyd is a master boxer who has overcome all opposition, whereas Manny has sometimes faltered. Thus, there are some key factors that point to a definitive victory for Money. Consequently, many out there are completely writing off Pacquiao. That however is a grave mistake, as this is boxing and anything can happen. Both fighters have their respective strengths and potential weaknesses that could come to play defining roles in their upcoming bout.

1. Mayweather’s age

At 38, Money is almost as old as a bicentennial quarter. Age often affects power punchers last and boxers first. Throughout his tenure in the welterweight division, Mayweather has not been known for his heavy hands. In addition, Floyd has started to show his age over the past couple of years. Of course Money has prevailed over his most recent opposition. But, where he once dominant against all of his foes, dating back to 2012 his victories have been somewhat tighter. This trend may have started one Cinco de Mayo night almost three years and five fights ago against Miguel Cotto. In all five of his last bouts, Mayweather has struggled to some extent and was not his old dominant self. In each of these bouts, Floyd lost at least a few rounds and in one instance he very narrowly escaped with a win. What’s more is that he was supposed to beat Maidana, Guerrero, and Cotto with ease. These fighters are all very good, but none were supposed to be the once in a generation boxer who posed a realistic chance against Money. Cotto was no longer seen as being possibly invincible, while Maidana and Guerrero were seen as being too small and limited. Mayweather may have given a few rounds away to Guerrero and Cotto, but he did still clearly win. Against the least heralded opponent, Maidana, Money was nearly outlanded and did just enough to pull out a victory. As a matter of fact, the brawling Argentinean hit Mayweather with more punches than any other fighter has to date. In the rematch against Maidana, Floyd looked better, but still lost too many rounds to a limited blown-up light welterweight. Mayweather is still an undefeated fighter, who has a great chance at tying or surpassing Marciano’s 49-0 mark. It needs to be noted though that at one time it was rare that Mayweather showed even the slightest vulnerability. That time is no more and Money is perhaps a little spent.

2. Pacquiao’s struggles and Mayweather’s dominance against Marquez

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez make great rivals. They have fought four times, with only one truly decisive outcome. That came two and a half years ago, when Marquez viciously knocked out Pac in the sixth round. The other three times they fought ended in some degree of controversy, as Pacquiao escaped with two razor thin decisions and a draw. In summing up the third fight, Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian even stated, “Only a charlatan, a politician or a boxing promoter could tell the world that congressman Manny Pacquiao deserved to get enough votes for a majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.” Mitchell’s recollection is certainly exaggerated, but it does go to show that there was a loud contingent that believed Manny didn’t deserve that decision.

On the other hand, when Mayweather met Marquez he absolutely destroyed him. Floyd put Juan down in the second round and never looked back. He cruised to a near shutout victory by putting on a boxing clinic. He landed 290 shots at an astonishingly high rate of 59 percent. Marquez fared the complete opposite and landed only 12 percent of the 583 punches he threw. Mayweather did what he does best and simply leaned back and boxed against a smaller foe. If Manny struggled against a counterpuncher like Marquez, how can he expect to fare much better against the King of all modern day counterpunchers. Additionally, Manny’s task of getting to such an elusive fighter will be made all the more difficult given that Money will be looking to cash in on his five-inch reach advantage.

3. Pacquiao’s volume punching and power

If you want to beat Mayweather one thing is for sure, you have to find some way to get through his impregnable defense. One and maybe the only way to do that is by effective volume punching. Floyd’s constant movement and amazing reflexes cause many fighters to look like they have lead feet. Maidana was one such fighter that did not fall into this trap and in their first bout he threw 885 punches and landed 221. Pac Man is a fighter who often throws in excess of 700 punches and very rarely throws under 50 a round. Furthermore, while Pacquiao’s power is no longer concussive, it is still notable and if he’s able to land enough punches he will disrupt Mayweather’s game plan. Manny could even possibly answer questions about his opponents chin, as Money has taken a few good punches here and there, but he has rarely taken more than one in any particular fight. Pacquiao has to be careful, though; if he is too reckless he will leave himself open to be countered with hard shots. One reason Maidana lost twice to Mayweather is that his wild style left him in positions where he was tormented by Floyd’s accurate power punching. Also, Money stepped up his movement in the second fight and Maidana was unable to throw nearly as many punches as he did in their first encounter. But Manny has some of the fastest hands in the game. He also has better footwork than Maidana. Therefore, if anyone can find a way to effectively get to Mayweather it is likely Pacquiao.

4. Pacquiao’s ring wear

It is true that Mayweather’s reflexes have seemed to slow a little and he is almost two full years older than Pacquiao. Nonetheless, Pac Man has taken much more punishment over the duration of his career. Mayweather rarely takes a flush punch, much less a combination. Pacquiao may dominate his opponents, but it cannot be denied that his aggressive style often results in him absorbing a reasonable number of punches. Manny’s career has seen many wars across numerous weight classes. While he has won 57 fights, he has also suffered five defeats and two draws. His bouts with Marquez may have garnered the most attention, but he also fought a trilogy with Erik Morales and suffered two knockout losses early in his early career. Mayweather has actually taken 86 more punches than Pacquiao over the last five fights, but this stat is a misnomer. Pacquiao was brutally knocked out halfway through his most recent scrap against Marquez. Additionally, Pac’s level of opposition over the course of those fights hardly stacks up against Mayweather’s (a fact that I will address later). The strain of moving up in weight classes has even taken a toll on Pac Man’s power and he has not won by stoppage since his 2009 victory over Miguel Cotto. This is unfortunate for him, as this is something he will sorely need against Floyd.

5. Current form

The last five fights have revealed much about the two combatants in the biggest fight of our relatively young century. Mayweather has clearly aged and while Pacquiao is vulnerable, he is undeniably still a top five pound-for-pound fighter. Following Manny’s fight against Marquez, he has been tentative to face any fighter who posed a real threat.  Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, and Timothy Bradley all have some big limitations. Pacquiao was free to throw punches at will, without fear of being hurt, against the feather-fisted Bradley and Algieri. While Rios can bang a little, he is a simple straightforward brawler, who is an easy target with limited boxing abilities. Bradley may have an impressive résumé, nevertheless it cannot be denied that he has been artfully managed and his house of cards was bound to fall. He simply doesn’t possess the offensive arsenal to beat the games most talented fighters. Mayweather, on the other hand, has taken on Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero, Saul Alvarez, and Marcos Maidana. All of these fighters except for Guerrero are known for their considerable power, with both Cotto and Alvarez considered well-rounded fighters. One can make the case that Pacquiao destroyed Cotto when they met in 2009, but that does not take into account that the fearsome Puerto Rican was allowed to weigh-in a full nine pounds heavier against Mayweather. When Cotto met Pacquiao he fought at a catchweight of 145.

Another key component of current form is the fighter’s condition upon entering the ring. Money always enters the ring in mint condition. He trains year round and it can be accurately stated that he lives, eats, and breathes boxing. Floyd doesn’t drink, is constantly in the gym, and is so concerned with his diet that he pays his private chef 1000 dollars per meal. Pacquiao trains hard for fights and is well-conditioned, but has been known to irk his trainer, Freddie Roach. Sometimes, Roach feels time-crunched in preparing his marquee fighter. As Pac’s own biographer Gary Andrew Poole stated,  “Here is a guy who is a sitting Congressman in the Philippines, he plays for and coaches a pro basketball team, he is a brand endorser, he sings and acts and is now getting ready for this huge fight.” It’s not so much that Pacquiao doesn’t train hard, he does, it’s just that Mayweather is one of the hardest working fighters that the sport of boxing has seen. Mayweather may have looked a little old recently, but you can guarantee he will arrive in shape and he has still managed to look pretty good against a very high level of opposition. Maybe Floyd will go from looking a little aged to ancient overnight, if that is the case Manny’s volume punching may carry him to victory. On the other hand, judging from current performances, Mayweather still has enough in the tank to beat the Philippines’ favorite fighter.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. remilando delos reyes 06:34pm, 04/28/2015

    pretty floyd will win

    by ko,n pacman as always will surely struggle against the very best counterpuncher of the world

  2. Kidd Kulafu 05:07am, 04/25/2015


  3. Kidd Kulafu 05:05am, 04/25/2015

    Pac’s key punches will open up so many cuts on Floyd’s pu55y face.

  4. Kidd Kulafu 04:46am, 04/25/2015

    Pac will fuq Floyd up. 47-1; May 2, 2015.

  5. soony 02:01am, 04/25/2015

    its a split second miss look who K.O manny pac. it happen to all of us.. but this is not the basis…  the speed, power, agile and timing is all about.

  6. Darrell 06:09pm, 04/24/2015

    Good, evenhanded write-up.

    Best possible, and a fairly realistic scenario, is a dominant UD by Mayweather.  It would mean death to all the Pactards….....that’s something everyone could pull for, surely!

  7. fiberglass chin 04:39pm, 04/24/2015

    very bias article indeed. it seems that the writer has really nothing to say at all except dwell on pac vs marquez. well if you go for common opponents why you didnt discuss how pac destroyed delahoya, cotto etc while may had hard time with those guys. tell them how pac let hatton sleep in rd4 easily while may took time, i mean again it shouldnt be the barometer because simpy different fighting/boxing styles have different effect to an opponent depending also on the opponents styles. guys lets just wait may2 and shut our mouths.

  8. leigh 05:41am, 04/24/2015

    Woh woh woh .have we got the boxing news24 posse in here or what ? Not one of the best articles I’ve read on here but hey its no Scott gilfoid piece.probably is a bit shortsighted to have the Marquez fight at a measure Manny is nothing like him and apart from counter punching Floyd is certainly nothing like Marquez .So the same people who are picking Floyd now would of picked him to win if it had happens 5 years ago so why is it 5 years too late? its not ,I think its a better fight now ,I’m not putting a downer on it you cant please all the people all the time one thing is for certain   manny is very confident perhaps too confident but he will make the old boy work harder than ever before and if I’m not too drunk to stay awake for it I will enjoy evry second WHY ? Because I’m a boxing fan.

  9. andrew 06:09pm, 04/22/2015

    Only a sick society can countenance two over the hill little druggies splitting 100 million dollars. I hope there is still some way this non event will be cancelled.

  10. PhilipA 11:58am, 04/22/2015

    If pac was to win with a mid fight knockout, the whole space time continuum would cease to exist. Although I can’t see pac winning in anyway possible

  11. Jim Crue 11:23am, 04/21/2015

    Good points Irish Frankie. Now that Break them up Bayless has been names referee Pac will have to know Floyd dead to get the win. Sad there could not have appointed ref who is not from corrupt LV. In my mind all bets are off for a Pac win

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:10am, 04/21/2015

    The best possible result, though unlikely, would be a definitive win by Pacman and then for him to retire and stay retired, which would be unlikely as well. The worst possible result would be any result that would justify a rematch.

  13. NYIrish 08:55am, 04/21/2015

    Rough crowd on this thread. Must be computer time in the can.

  14. timber 12:42am, 04/21/2015

    Ped will be the factor

  15. Jim Crue 05:23pm, 04/20/2015

    this is easily the most OVERHYPED boxing match in history. What kind of nitwit pays many thousands of dollars for a ringside seat? Someone with more money than sense thats who.
    Neither one can as yet be considered an all-time great in the welterweight division in spite of what Floyd’s ass kissing minions tell him.
    How this writer can make a comparison between the Marquez fights is beyond me. Any serious fan knows that styles make fights. And the ref will be a big factor and since it’s in LV I believe nothing is on the up and up. At least Joe Cortez is out of the ref business.

  16. steve McMahon 04:24pm, 04/20/2015

    Amateur writer,,, have no sense of realities…. go back to school

  17. Chong 04:04pm, 04/20/2015

    Dave’s not here man.

  18. Karl Childers 04:02pm, 04/20/2015

    Pactards RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So do mustard and french fried pertaters.

  19. LoLoCyCy 03:40pm, 04/20/2015

    I love gayweather! Go go go…go to sleep!

  20. Gay 03:37pm, 04/20/2015


  21. Arnulfo Cruz 03:31pm, 04/20/2015

    Comparing the fight of Mayweather to Marquez and Pacquiao to Marquez is stupid and short sighted.  Can you compare the fight of Ali to Frazier to Foreman’s fight to Frazier? where Ali struggled to beat Frazier (in fact lost once) but Foreman had beaten Frazier twice easily. 

    You can’t just compare the fight of boxers to common opponent and make it as a basis.  Style make the fight.  And Pacquiao is style match to Mayweather, you bet.

  22. daniel richardson 02:40pm, 04/20/2015

    Hey, you forgot the 6th factor.  The writer of this trash article is black. Thats it!

  23. levis 02:13pm, 04/20/2015

    one sided article…

  24. LeCramping James 01:37pm, 04/20/2015

    There’s one CRITICAL FACTOR and that’s the referee. Everyone wants a level playing field this way skills, heart, & will would prevail.
    BUT if Kenny BrainLess is the ref., it will not be a level playing field. He is DoucheWeather Jr’s lover, boyfriend, and bed mate.

  25. m4rco 12:13pm, 04/20/2015

    where are Mosley fight too.  i dont think marquez vs floy tells much what will happen in may 2

  26. Eric 07:48am, 04/20/2015

    Mayweather is the younger fighter here, despite the calender saying otherwise. This would have been a competitive and thrilling fight in 2009, in 2015, not so much.

  27. The Tache 07:27am, 04/20/2015

    Hard to disagree with any of this article, sadly. I would also add the well worn point 6 - The fight is 5 years too late to be a genuine superfight.

  28. Kid Blast 06:27am, 04/20/2015

    2. Pacquiao’s struggles and Mayweather’s dominance against Marquez is a key one

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