Tyson-Malignaggi on Mayweather-Pacquiao

By Gordon Marino on March 31, 2015
Tyson-Malignaggi on Mayweather-Pacquiao
“I really think that Floyd is going to be hit and hurt more than he has ever been before.”

“His technique is unbelievable. And there is no one better at making adjustments in the ring. He just figures everyone out…”

I recently pestered Mike Tyson and Paulie Malignaggi about the upcoming Mayweather vs. Pacquiao showdown. Though Tyson and Malignaggi envisage the bout differently, they both believe that a victorious Pacquiao would need to be a smart thinking Energizer Bunny. 

Unlike a lot of boxing experts, Mike Tyson believes that Pacquiao’s cocktail of aggression and elusiveness might prove poisonous to Mayweather: “Manny has speed and power. He throws a lot of punches. You need to put constant pressure on Floyd. Be in front of him all the time, but moving side to side and punching from angles. Manny is going to feint Floyd out of position a lot and make him throw more punches than he is used to, that will open Floyd up.” 

Tyson continued, “In that second round against Mosley, Floyd showed that he can take a big punch. But he has never had to take a lot of them in succession. He has never really been tested. Whatever happens in this fight, I really think that Floyd is going to be hit and hurt more than he has ever been before. We’re going to see how tough he is.”

A moment later Tyson added, “In the first round of the second Maidana fight, Maidana hit Mayweather with one good shot. I think it was at the end of the first round. Floyd tried to do a little Ali shuffle after getting hit, but his legs didn’t look that good.”

A sweet scientist if ever there was one, Malignaggi ranks Mayweather amongst the all time best. “His technique is unbelievable. And there is,” he said, “no one better at making adjustments in the ring. He just figures everyone out.”

Pressed as to how Pacquiao might have a chance to win, the Magic Man speculated, “He needs to get in the right position to throw the jab and instead of following it all the time with combinations, Manny has to mix it up. He has to disturb Mayweather’s timing. Manny has to be less predictable. Jab, feint the jab, jab again, and then jab combination.”

And yet, for all that advice, Malignaggi, agrees with Tyson that Pacquiao would need keep the heat on—not for 6 rounds but for 12. The former welterweight champ observed, “The last time that Pacquiao brought constant pressure was against Cotto back in 2009.  In that fight he didn’t just throw a lot of punches, he was throwing big shots all night. He expended so much energy.  I don’t know how he did it but he has not pressed anyone like that since then.” 

It is true, whether it be tight calves or a sudden surge of compassion, the Pacman of the last few years has taken his foot off of the pedal in the later rounds of his fights. Against Bradley, Rios, and Algieri, Pacquiao was still zinging punches in bunches in the late rounds, but they were not the sort of bombs he was slinging against Cotto in round 11.

A few years back, Alex Ariza confided that Manny was a physical outlier who could get his heart rate up to 205 and keep it there for a few minutes. For Pacquiao to punch a hole in Mayweather’s record, the 36-year-old boxing icon will have to be in the best condition of his life. Equally important, he will need to have the mental muscle to avoid becoming frustrated and chasing Mayweather around, trying to spear the elusive one with one straight left. It is not going to work with Money.

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. His The Quotable Kierkegaard was recently published by Princeton University Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

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  1. bikermike 02:05pm, 04/10/2015

    .....and the hype continues

  2. Gordon Marino 05:40am, 04/07/2015

    Ump,
    I certainly agree that Manny has a lot more miles on his odometer than Floyd.  But I have never seen anyone have an easy time with him. He retains his speed and power and if he can force Floyd to open up and throw more punches—well it could be interesting. And Manny has footwork than none of his shorter opponents have displayed - Zab maybe the exception.  But I too hope he hangs it up soon. Unlike so many of his boxing colleagues, he actually has another passion. POLITICS.

  3. The Ump 03:46am, 04/07/2015

    I think Manny really should have retired four years ago. He has about three times more ring miles than Floyd because he’s always taken all comers.  Manny was simply never a match-maker who was cautious about selecting his opponents, the way Floyd has been. Then again, even in Manny’s prime, I’m not sure this would have been a good match-up.  Manny seems almost custom made for Floyd.  He’s short, with no reach, so he does his best work inside, and though he was quick a few years ago, Manny is not exactly what you’d call an elusive fighter.  I wish Manny wasn’t taking this fight, and that he would retire gracefully.

  4. Gordon Marino 09:28am, 04/03/2015

    Jimmy Jack, Not a big fan of the “slanty eyed” idea—but you are right one of Manny’s biggest foes will be frustration. If he goes wild on front and stands on the right side he’ll be in trouble.

  5. Gordon Marino 09:21am, 04/03/2015

    Thanks Kid Blast. Paulie really knows boxing. No one better, Love talking with him about technique. Hope all is well with you.

  6. Gordon Marino 09:19am, 04/03/2015

    Fight collector. Thanks for your comment. I think the issue is will they have a ref who will let Manny fight inside - or will it be one that breaks them immediately. Floyd’s pivot move is the best in boxing - Manny is going to have to step over quickly to keep him on the ropes.

  7. Kid Blast 09:32am, 04/02/2015

    Excellent stuff Gordon


    Paulie knows boxing

  8. Kidd Kulafu 08:59am, 04/02/2015

    47-1; May 2, 2015.

  9. Jimmy Jack 10:34am, 04/01/2015

    Floyd is obviously not easy to figure out in the ring. Manny will get frustrated by the 3rd round like in the Marquez fights. You will see Manny take chances and dive in as usual and the result will be quick check right hook counters by Floyd. Pac will be hurt early and often and Mayweather will have him outtathere by the 10th when Pacs eyes will look slantier then they already are.
    Money in 10th rd TKO! I’ll be almost ringside and can’t fn wait!

  10. The Fight Film Collector 09:17am, 04/01/2015

    Malignaggi is right that Floyd’s versatility is exceptional.  But part of that is a familiar songbook of tactics that he runs through until he finds the one(s) that work.  And importantly, how much of those tactics will the referee allow.

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