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Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: If and When...or Maybe Never

Manny Pacquiao was ringside last night at Yankee Stadium. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Manny Pacquiao was ringside last night at Yankee Stadium. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Bad Left Hook's Ted Sares is back with a look at a possible, and perhaps unlikely, matchup between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

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We'd break him down and beat him up...Floyd can't break an egg; he's fragile. He hurts his hands all the time. He has speed, but if he lays on the ropes and rolls his shoulders, we'll take everything he gives us.
--Freddie Roach

I maintain and assure everyone that I have not used any form or kind of steroids and that my way to the top is a result of hard work, hard work, hard work and a lot of blood spilled from my past battles in the ring, not outside of it.
-- Manny Pacquiao

Lil Floyd would whoop (him), but to tell you the truth, I don't think he should fight him...That would be my advice to him.
-- Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Let's hope Floyd Senior's advice is not taken seriously and that these two great boxers finally meet in what would be the richest fight ever, but I have my doubts. Let's take a look at how I believe they stack up at this point in time.

The Corners

Pretty much a wash though the calm and collected Freddie Roach is as savvy as there is and knows how to get in an opponent's head better than most. Still, Uncle Roger (perhaps angst-ridden as a reuslt of facing alleged charges in criminal court) enjoys a superb symbiosis with his nephew--though Father Floyd lurks in the background waiting for his opportunity to take over.

The Styles

Opposite styles. Pac Man is the aggressor who will take a punch to deliver one and, unlike Floyd, is a merciless closer once he has his man hurt. He has an offensive whirlwind style reminiscent of the great Aaron Pryor.

Floyd Jr. is a "pick your spots" type of tactical wizard who is a superb defender using rare elusive abilities. Blessed with speed, stamina, power, sharp punching (especially the ability to counter punch), and a solid chin, he may be at the top of his game. His superior straight punches and lead left hooks are a thing of beauty. Indeed, as a purist, I find his level of all around skills exciting to watch.

The vastly imporoved Pacquiao now seems to possess an arsenal the qualitative content and completeness to which only Floyd can stake claim. He is tough, durable and mentally resilient. With his in-and-out movement, ability to attack from any angle, effective jabs, fight-ending hooks from both hands, great stamina, and a sound defense, there is not much to criticize. However, I do believe Manny will have difficulty penetrating the elusive defensive tactics of Floyd which include his signature shoulder rolls, strategic clinching (read: holding), spinning, sharp counter punching, balance, and lots of movement. Of course, Manny will not emulate Hatton, Marquez, or Mosley and allow Mayweather to pot shot him. No one can do that to this version of Manny Pacquiao.

If Manny can get Floyd to engage in meaningful exchanges, he might have his best chance to land punches from unusual angles. But he needs a willing partner to do his best work. Cotto and Hatton were willing partners while the overly cautious Clottey was a totally unwilling one which proved to be his (Clottey's) downfall. Mayweather will be neither. And if "Money" hits Manny with the uppercuts that Clottey (and Cotto) landed, well, the result could be different.

Ring IQ

Both are savvy and experienced fighters, but I believe Mayweather has an ever-so-slight edge as he can adapt to different situations a bit faster.

Level of Opposition

Edge to Manny who has fought 10 fights against 6 guys who have a rock solid shot at being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. But he has also fought and beat others with great records coming in. Throw a dart at his list of opponents and you might, for example, hit Australian Nedal Hussein (43-5), South Korean Seung-Kon Chae (23-0), Thai Chatchai Sasakul (65-4), Mexican Oscar Larios (56-4-1), Thai Wethya Sakmuangklang (41-3), South African Lehlohonolo Ledwaba (33-1-1), or Colombian Jorge Eliecer Julio (44-3).

Some of Money's victims include Emanuel Augustus, Carlos Baldomir, Arturo Gatti, Phillip N'dou, DeMarcus Corley, Genaro Hernandez, Zab Judah, Jose Luis Castillo (twice), Jesus Chavez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Sugar Shane Mosley, and, of course, Diego Corrales.

Mayweather is 41-0 while Pacquiao is 51-3-2. Many has a KO percentage of about 68 while Floyd's is around 61.

Common opponents

Both sent Ricky Hatton into Manchester dreamland (but Floyd did it first). Juan Manuel Marquez gave Pacquiao fits while Mayweather schooled and dominated Marquez, but Marques was a n older fighter when he fought Mayweather. Of course, the opposite happened with De La Hoya. I give "Money" another ever-so-slight edge here.


Chin: Manny has been hurt badly, but in my view, it occurred too far back to be meaningful. Moreover, Pac Man failed to make weight and was seriously drained and weakened in his first career loss to Rustico Torrecampo in 1996. Floyd defensive prowess has kept his heretofore reliable chin from really being tested. He has rarely been in dire straits, though an aging Sugar Shane Mosley had him reeling in the second round of their recent fight. If Pacquiao is able to do the same, he will not let Floyd off the hook

Cuts: Manny is more prone to cuts than Floyd.

Momentum: Pac Man gets the nod. He is on a great streak of big wins (Clottey, Cotto, Hatton, De La Hoya, Diaz, Marquez, Barrera, Solis, Morales, and Larios).However, Floyd's body is well rested and his wins over Juan Manuel Marquez and Sugar Shane Mosley did nothing to strain it. There are those who accuse Roach of cherry picking Manny's opponents and there are those who accuse Mayweather of being an expert cherry picker. If so, then the issue is a wash. But the fact is, Floyd has fought six times since January 1, 2006, while Manny has worked eleven times.

When Pac Man beat De La Hoya, Oscar was a shadow of his former self who could not pull the trigger and Roach knew it. He was not the same Oscar who lost to Mayweather. Hatton already had been demolished by Mayweather and then badly hurt by Juan Lazcano. Though he looked good against Paulie Malignaggi, he was ripe for the picking and Roach knew that as well. As for Cotto, many thought the "Ghost of Margo" would play a role-and it did indeed. Cotto was damaged goods by the time Manny got to him. Call it luck, call it master opponent selection by Roach, or even call it cherry picking, whatever it is, it works well. Of course, when it comes to picking and/or avoiding opponents, Floyd does pretty well himself--and he seems to retire more often than he fights.

Dimensions: A catch weight would favor Floyd, but Pac Man has never let that be an issue before. Still, 5‘8," 72" reach vs. 5‘61/2," 67" reach is a big, big advantage. Moreover, Floyd dominated the guy who gave Pac Man fits, and is naturally bigger and will enter the ring even heavier. I still cannot forget the marked difference in size between Mayweather and Marquez, and when I factor in Manny's shorter arms, well, this could well be be the deciding factor.

Pre-fight "juicing" issues: This one will soon require the Latin phrase Ad nauseam. While Mayweather has managed to make Pacquiao seem like the "villain," the tide again seems to be turning. Whether this issue keeps the fight from being made remains to be seen, but if the fight does take place, the issue of performance enhancing drugs should have little or no impact on the outcome. After all, translating a PR victory to a victory in the ring is quite a task.

Focus: On May 13, 2010, Pac Man was officially proclaimed congressman of the somewhat politically volatile province of Sarangani (most provinces in the Philippines are politically volatile). These activities can only have a negative impact on his ring work, for it's difficult to imagine how he can concentrate in camp while attending to the demands of political office. Mayweather is always in tip top shape and when he steps into a boxing ring, his unmatched focus and discipline are laser-like.

After his victory over Clottey, Pacquiao expressed the possibility of retirement, but my own thinking is that he will take a third match with Juan Manuel Marquez or a matchup with the winner of Cotto-Forman. Margorito's name has been mentioned as well, but I hope that does not materialize. What has he done to earn such a monster payday?

I seriously question whether a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight will ever take place, but if it does, a tremendous case can be made for either fighter to win.

What do you think?

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