Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com got a quick interview with Floyd Mayweather Jr, and the undefeated WBC welterweight titlist said (as you would expect) that he is ready to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 5, and also seems to believe Pacquiao is ready to fight on May 5, with only Bob Arum holding up the fight at this point. (Arum disputes this, and says he does want it, but hasn't responded to Mayweather's challenge to call Richard Schaefer or Al Haymon.)
Stylistically, Mayweather believes, as many do now, that he's simply too good for Pacquiao and will win if they do fight:
"He's pressure fighter but there are a lot of mistakes that he makes and you can't make those mistakes with Floyd Mayweather. If you make those mistakes, you have to pay. It's not that he hasn't earned the right to face Floyd Mayweather. It's just crazy that a guy can pop up out of nowhere and become such an amazing fighter, when a guy like me has been doing it since the 90s and dominating the sport and beating the best out there. And then a guy pops up out of nowhere and says he's on the level of a Floyd Mayweather when I've been dominating for almost 20 years now."
I do know what Mayweather is saying, and having this level of confidence and ego is a big part of why Floyd is as good as he is, but I do feel it's worth saying that Manny Pacquiao was also a very good fighter in the 1990s, winning a world title at flyweight.
Another thing I've never quite taken to or even really understood is the supposed disbelief of Pacquiao's improvements over the years. Is any of it really that surprising?
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Yes, it's kind of a shock that he's become so great and such a major star, and the way he's traveled through weight classes winning big fights and title belts is pretty wild, but realistically, we're talking about a guy who came into boxing at 16 years of age from a background of incredible poverty. With his success in the sport, which at first came simply from big punching power and determination, he was able to improve his life and with it, his career.
He has learned from a fantastic teacher in Freddie Roach. He's become more than a one-handed brawler. He is not, as we have seen, a perfect fighter.
I don't mean to call Mayweather stupid or anything, because he's really not. But I don't think he quite understands or even attempts to understand where Manny Pacquiao came from. Though Mayweather was from a rough neighborhood and had a rocky upbringing, it doesn't compare to Pacquiao's childhood.
And while Pacquiao turned pro at 16, Mayweather was receiving exceptional boxing training from the time he was a toddler. Mayweather is a thoroughbred, born into the game and groomed to be great. What makes him so great is that he has the dedication to take advantage of both his physical gifts, and the gifts that come from being a second generation fighter who has had, in boxing, basically every advantage.
Mayweather was born and bred to be a great fighter. He was a standout amateur and an Olympian. Obviously, he has had a phenomenal pro career. Manny Pacquiao went into boxing with no such amateur background, without the benefit of great training and preparation. Manny Pacquiao took up fighting because he had to do something. The only thing the two of them have in common in their careers, really, is the determination to be great.
I think Mayweather misses all of this. He sees a guy like Pacquiao and wonders how it happened. And that's fair enough. The entire career path of Manny Pacquiao makes no sense to someone like Floyd Mayweather, I suppose. But I think the evidence that we have is very clear. It happened because Pacquiao did everything possible to make it happen.