(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Front-paged by Scott.
In the past, I have written that I don't see any possible way that Manny Pacquiao can defeated Floyd Mayweather, let alone stay competitive throughout the fight. It's driven most people to call me a Pacquiao hater or Floyd lover or something of the sort. I've been called irrational and just downright stupid at times. However, I'm here to, once and for all, supply the reasons as to why I firmly believe this fight would not be a competitive fight. I'm already preparing myself for the backlash and I'll attempt to reply to any and all posts. So, without further ado, here we go.
Stats from CompuBox.
Reason #1: Manny Pacquiao's ineffective jab
In Manny Pacquiao's six previous fights, he has landed 204-of-1655 jabs. That's 12.3%. Over the course of those same six fights, his opponents have landed 212-of-1064 jabs. That's 19.9%. If you take out the horrific jab that he displayed against the defensive posture of Joshua Clottey, Manny Pacquiao has landed 190-of-1106 (17.2%). Removing Clottey's pitiful jab in that fight, Pacquiao opponents have landed 186-of-902 (20.6%). Either way, Pacquiao has shown that he hasn't been able to land effective jabs as he has risen through the weight classes. At least not at a rate that would hinder what Floyd Mayweather is doing in the ring that night.
Reason #2: Floyd Mayweather's defensive prowess against the jab
Over the course of Mayweather's last six fights, his opponents have thrown 1388 jabs. They've landed just 211. That's a 15.2% connect rate. Mayweather's defensive shell is one that prohibits a fighter from finding the range and space to land an effective jab. Oscar De La Hoya landed 40-of-246 jabs during their fight. As effective as De La Hoya's jab was early in the fight, it went away later in the fight. In the final three rounds of the contest, he ended up landing only 4-of-77 (5.2%). In the previous four rounds, he landed 31-of-124 (25.0%). As average as Pacquiao's jab is, it'll only look worse against Floyd's world-class defense and speed.
Reason #3: Floyd Mayweather's dominance at 147 pounds with the jab
As his career has progressed, Mayweather has looked more and more comfortable at the Welterweight limit. He's grown into his body, added weight well, and looks to have added a pretty good amount of muscle to go with that weight. It's almost as if he's a new man. So, take into account that his last three fights have come at 147 against reliably tough competition in Hatton, Marquez, and Mosley. In those three fights, Mayweather landed 299-of-598 jabs. That's a 50.0% connect rate. That's what you would call an amazing percentage. His opponents have landed just 78-of-634 jabs. A 12.3% connect rate. In the last three fights, Mayweather has a +37.7% connect rate on jabs.
Reason #4: Floyd Mayweather's dominance at 147 pounds with power shots
By comparison, over the course of his last three fights, Mayweather has landed 328-of-701 power punches. A highly productive 46.8% connection rate. His opponents have landed just 146-of-773 power punches. That's a ridiculously low connect rate of 18.9% for his opponents. Mayweather holds a +27.9% connect rate on power shots. As good as Manny Pacquiao has looked at 147 pounds, he's still relied very heavily on his power punches. And rightfully so. After all, he's a good puncher. Average boxer but good puncher. Mayweather's past opponents have found little success with power shots, so why would Manny suddenly find it?
Reason #5: Manny Pacquiao does not look comfortable at 147 pounds
This, ultimately, is one of the main reasons as to why I think the fight will not be competitive at all. In his three fights at 147 pounds, Manny Pacquiao has ran over solid competition but nothing spectacular. And he hasn't looked amazing doing it. I doubt he's truly comfortable at the weight. I think it's actually too much weight for him. Take into account that he's faced slow, plodding, and flat-footed boxers who lack ideal speed, and they've still landed at a reasonable rate against him. Especially with power shots. Over his three fights at 147 pounds, Pacquiao opponents have landed 226-of-701 power punches. That's 32.2%. None of the three landed less than 30% of their power punches. Pacquiao himself landed 703-of-1575. A 44.6% connection rate. He holds a +12.4% advantage there. Pacquiao landed 103-of-1021 jabs in his three fights at 147. A pretty sad 10.1%. The Clottey fight didn't help matters but it is what it is. His three opponents landed 137-of-697. That's a 19.7% connect rate on jabs for his opponents. So, Pacquiao is -9.6% in that department. Not exactly good to be +2.8% in connection rate and think you stand a great chance at beating someone the likes of Mayweather. Not to mention that his power has seemed to not follow himself up to the weight. He beat Cotto and De La Hoya through the sheer volume of punches rather than the actual power. He just wore down their will, which was probably already in the reserve stages entering the fight. It wasn't massive shots but rather a massive amount of shots. The knockdown of Cotto was more a product of Cotto being off-balance, as well. It was a perfect storm, so to speak.
Reason #6: Since coming out of retirement, Floyd is better than ever
In the 24 rounds of boxing since returning from a hiatus, Floyd Mayweather has landed 40% (or better) of his punches in 22 of the 24 rounds. The only two rounds he didn't? Rounds #1 and #7 against Shane Mosley. He landed 30% and 37%, respectively, in those rounds. In those same 24 rounds, his opponents have landed 30% (or better) of their punches in just 2 of the 24 rounds. The two rounds they did it in? Rounds #1 and #2 against Shane Mosley. He landed 32% and 38%, respectively, in those rounds. That means that for 3 of the 24 rounds that Floyd Mayweather has taken the center of the ring since his retirement was declared over, he has fought at a near even rate with his opponents. The only clear round he lost? Round #2 to Shane Mosley. So, for 23 of the 24 rounds, Floyd Mayweather fought his fight and looked great doing it. In those 24 rounds, he has held his opponents to single-digit connects an astounding 21 times. The three times that he didn't, his opponent landed 11, 11, and 18. Joshua Clottey had double-digit connects against Manny Pacquiao seven times, just for reference.
Reason #7: Floyd Mayweather, plain and simple, is better than Manny Pacquiao
It just goes without saying. When I watch the two men box and put them on a split-screen, it's like night and day. You see a pure boxer like Floyd who is a thinking man in the ring, he can rationalize with the best of them, and adjust on the fly. His footwork is great, his defense is legendary, and his efficiency is just impeccable. He has no wasted motion. You then see a great puncher like Manny who can throw punches in bunches but cannot adjust on the fly, cannot think in the ring, and just goes at the same speed all the time. He doesn't have great defense, his footwork is average at best, and he is often out of position at times and very vulnerable to counter shots. When things stop working for Manny, he has a very tough time adjusting and boxing with guys. You saw it against Marquez. When Marquez was able to settle himself down and just start boxing, he was able to dictate everything. And that's the same thing Floyd will do. He'll dictate pace, action, and, ultimately, how the fight will play out.
Conclusion: Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao is not a competitive fight
With everything laid out, I can already picture how the fight would play itself out. You'd have Manny Pacquiao taking the center of the ring for the first few rounds, attempting to establish tempo and get Floyd to fight his fight. Floyd will still be relaxed, calm, and thinking clearly. He'll end up frustrating Manny with his defense thus causing Pacquiao to start to fluster. Manny won't be able to adjust to the pace of the fight which result in him being beaten to the punch every time. Freddie Roach will be in the corner pleading with Manny to get back to what was working earlier, which was to throw punches in bunches and make Floyd shell up. However, this time, it just won't work. Manny will start swinging for the fences, forgetting to think as well as react to anything else, thus making it easier for Floyd to do whatever he wants. By the ninth round, the fight will already be in hand and Mayweather will be toying with Pacquiao. Floyd's handspeed, which will be underestimated going into the fight, will start to rear its head. By the eleventh and twelfth, Roach will consider stopping the fight but thinks Pacquiao has enough of a chance left to knock Floyd out. At the end of the fight, all that will be left is Floyd having his hand raised after thoroughly defeating Pacquiao and establishing himself as the greatest boxer of his generation. As much as people want to believe otherwise, that's how it would happen. Manny lacks a sufficient enough jab to fluster Floyd's defense and lacks the proper footwork to keep Floyd off-balance. Pacquiao's speed will be good to start but will fade as the fight goes on and he starts having to pay for his technical mistakes. Mayweather has shown the ability to adjust as the fight goes on whereas Pacquiao has not. And that's the difference. Mayweather can think under high stress situations. We've yet to see Manny do so. Floyd Mayweather by wide UD.
I'm sure most will disagree. Either way, it's open for debate. I just don't see what Manny has that can threaten Floyd. Maybe someone can open my eyes and show me something that I may have missed when going over everything. I actually hope that's the case because I want to see a competitive fight when, and if, they meet. I don't want to see the one-sided beating that will most surely happen. Anyways, if you've read all of this, thank you. And, even if you disagree, thanks for your time.