The top image is (courtesy of Boxingvideo.org)
Okay, we have been waiting for this match up for six years now. The heavyweight division gets most of the glory, but seriously, the smaller weight divisions come to bang most of the time. Pound for pound Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have been considered the very two best in boxing on the entire planet for several years and I agree with that assesment. This long awaited contest features two current World Champions of the Welterweight division and the winner will not only be the undisputed and only World Champion of their Weight class, but when they hang up the leather mitts for good, the winner will carry the satisfaction that they were the best ever in their era. Only 11 more days and in the squared circle of the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, May 2nd, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will put their legacies at stake.
We are not here to rehash all of the politics, rather let’s get a scope of the two boxers, what does the tale of the tape say? What are their strengths? Their flaws?
Who have they beaten? Have they ever lost? What is their style? Will it be tweaked just for this fight? What does ‘Vegas think? And other experts? Of course, all of the other OTBR staff will have their predictions included on the final part as well. We’ll take a look under the hood in a three part series for this fight.
He is 5 ft. 6 1/2 in. tall
His reach is 67 in.
He is history’s only 8-division world champion and currently wears the WBO Welterweight belt as its champion.
He is a Southpaw, (that’s a lefty for those who do not know and most fighters as right handed people hit harder with their right).
Manny is a 36 year old Capricorn from the Phillipines. Folks not just in the Phillipines and of Fillipino heritage all over the globe carry their hopes and dreams in every shuffle of his feet on the canvas and movement of his gloves.
Manny has several nicknames: Pac-Man, the Mexicutioner, The Fillipino slugger, and perhaps the most meaningful, Ang Pambansang Kamao, which is the native Phillpine language Tagalog and translates to the Nation’s Fist.
His record is 57-5-2, with 38 victories coming by way of Knockout. Yep he has thunder in his gloves.
If I had to compare Manny to a fighter historically, I would compare him to Jim Braddock because of the hard knocks and the immense ticker beating in his chest. Manny grew up in poverty and his father abandoned the family when he was 12. When he was 14 he began his amateur career in Manilla and was literally living on the streets. Back in 1995, a close friend (Eugene Barutag) of Manny’s encouraged Manny to go for a professional career in the sport of Boxing, just before he passed away.
When Pacquiao began his trek for the pro ring, he was only just 16 years old, and he hadn’t finished sprouting. He was a mere 4’11” and weighed just 98 pounds. Technically, he was under the minimum required weight, which was 105 lbs. He has since admitted to the world press that back then he was poor, literally starving, and desperate, so he put weights in his pockets to make the 105-pound weight limit. Imagine a tiny , empty-bellied, scrawny dude like that, who knows he is going to be the little fish in the ring and yet he still badly wants to fight all the big fish. Told you he was Jim Braddock. The size of the fight in this Fillipino man is awe-inspiring. It is from that well that he will draw from and pull emotional and spiritual strength to find energy in later rounds in this fight. This fight will mean as much to Manny as any.
Cinematically, Manny Pacquiao is Rocky Balboa. He is the underdog with incredible spirit and a chin that ignores pain. Plus, he is a Southpaw out of Philly (Phillipines).
Manny’s top victories came against some of the best fighters on the globe in their primes.
– As a featherweight in 2003, in San Antonio’s Alamodome, Pacquiao, defeated Marco Antonio Barrera via technical knockout in the eleventh round, the only knockout loss in Barrera’s career, and won the featherweight championship, making him the first Filipino and Asian to become a 3 -time world champ.
-Manny has had an epic series of battles with another hall of famer Juan Manuel Marquez. Manny has a 2-1-1 record against Marquez, but the first time they fought in 2006 Manny knocked Marquez down 3 times after the opening bell. Of course, Marquez roared back in later rounds to go the distance. A judge later admitted to making a scoring error and had he scored the first round correctly, Manny would have won a split decision, and frankly he should have, despite the brilliant efforts of Marquez. In my book Manny is 3-1 in reality against Marquez (who again is awesome and full of heart too), Manny knocked Marquez down in every single fight they had, but the 4th time they fought (in 2012), Marquez had a brilliant uppercut counter that got Manny’s sweet spot and put him to the floor.
To see highlights from Manny’s 2nd fight with Marquez go to the video below. (courtesy of HBO Boxing)
and for his victory against Miguel Cotto in the next video, in which at one point the legendary boxing commentator Larry Merchant referred to Manny as a “human typhoon”. (Courtesy of Gorilla Productions and HBO boxing)
-In 2009, Manny knocked around the tough Brit’ Ricky Hatton and his sharp left hook put Hatton away for good in the 2nd round. He followed this up with a 12 round domination of Miguel Cotto, that ended by technical knockout. In 2010, Pacquiao scored a sensational unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito with dazzling hand speed, combinations, and outstanding upper body movement. Poor Margarito had a swollen face from round 4 on and a fractured orbital bone by the end of this fight.
-In 2013 He routed Brandon Rios. Then in 2014 Manny proved he was robbed ( several pundits thought Manny deserved the decision) in his fight against Timothy Bradley in 2012, and secured a unanimous decision in the 2014 rematch by gaining just enough of the edge on Bradley in all of the late rounds. To see some highlights see below. (courtesy of jay c on youtube)
Stay tuned for Part two when we check out Floyd’s story. In Part three the projected outcome.