Manny Pacquiao, 51-3-2 (38 KOs), General Santos City, Philippines Vs. Floyd Mayweather, 41-0 (25 KOs), Las Vegas, Nevada
Title: World Welterweight Championship
Betting Odds: Manny Pacquiao (+120), Floyd Mayweather (-150)
Over/Under: Under 11.5 Rounds (-135), Over 11.5 (-105)
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Fight Preview: Boxing superstars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are primed for a blockbuster collision that will put boxing back on the front pages. This matchup has struck a chord with fans. Pacquiao-Mayweather has it all: two charismatic and dominant fighters, bad blood, and incredibly high stakes. The winner of this fight puts an undeniable stamp of greatness on his career that places him in rarified air.
The odds represent reality in this case. We have two super-talented fighters at their peaks, which gives way to any number of possible outcomes. Pacquiao is 31 and Mayweather is 33, but neither man has demonstrated any signs of erosion. Mayweather is about 2 inches taller that Pacquiao at 5’8,” with a 5-inch advantage in reach. The outcome of this fight, however, lies beyond mere numbers.
Manny Pacquiao was having an awesome career, but then managed to somehow kick it into yet another gear over the past two years. As recently as 2008, he was struggling with Juan Manuel Marquez in a junior lightweight bout. Now, he’s dominating welterweights with ease. This career-renaissance has not come about by happenstance. Pacquiao is still a whirlwind offensive force, but has improved his right hand greatly, while developing an expert knowledge and execution of ring geometry.
Mayweather was retired for about 2 years while Pacquiao became the best in the sport. Since returning, he has been absolutely masterful in dissecting Marquez and Shane Mosley. He is boxing in terrific form. His defense is still great, he controls distance beautifully, and he unloads punches suddenly that land with crystal-clear flushness. He’s not undefeated after a decade at the world-class level because he’s not great.
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The rap on Mayweather is that he has taken easy fights for the better part of the last decade. While not as battle-tempered as Pacquiao as a result, he might be a tad fresher. At the same time, Mayweather has fought enough tough fighters so that he won’t be bowled over by the moment or his opponent. Mayweather’s skills are pure, even if his ledger lacks a series of hallmark fights. Pacquiao has been forced to defy the odds more than Mayweather, winning several fights where he was the underdog. Mayweather, conversely, has not ever fought as an underdog. If that means Manny has risen above more difficult conditions, so be it.
Scotty's Pick to Win: It might be fallacious to handicap this match among the lines of which fighter’s set of skills are the most effective and compelling. We’re accustomed to seeing these fighters in dominant form, with their skills in full bloom. In this fight, both men will struggle to duplicate the dominance shown against their recent opposition. Pacquiao’s effectiveness has never been tested against a boxer of the highest order like Mayweather, while “Pretty Boy Floyd” has never been forced to tame a super-dynamo like the Pacman. Things that work against good fighters don’t always translate when facing great fighters.
In fights like these, supreme boxing skills usually make their mark first. It is not difficult to imagine both men being respectful in the early going, with Mayweather scoring more points from long-range. Pacquiao is the last fighter to dutifully pursue a losing strategy. Expect him to amp up the action in the middle rounds.
Mayweather will have his hands full in the second half of the fight, as Pacquiao will begin to throw caution to the wind and bully his way inside. Mayweather will catch him coming in, but will be forced to take a lot of punishment to the head. This will be Floyd’s first real gut-check. He will have his face swollen and be forced to call on all his inner resource to soldier through the punishment that Pacquiao will bring to the table.
Pacquiao is an abnormally furious welterweight force, but his power is probably a little compromised at this weight. A hurtful hitter to be sure, Manny is nonetheless fighting in his seventh weight class. An accumulation of punches could create a knockout for Pacquiao, but he will probably be unable to blast Mayweather out with a shot or two. In other words, he will be forced to do what no man has ever done in order to score a knockout—consistently breach one of the best defenses in recent boxing history.
Maybe Pacquiao can score a late knockdown, but he might just have to outscore Mayweather for the win. This could very easily happen and come as a surprise to no one. I just think the more likely outcome is one where Floyd puts enough early rounds in the bag, hangs on through a difficult second-half, and crosses the finish line with his nose ahead.
The fight will be excellent, with each man having his moments. It just might be one of those situations where we don’t get a slam-bang conclusion, but rather a more up-in-the-air ending that leads to more questions than answers. The decision will be narrow, possibly split, but I like Mayweather in a fight close enough to warrant a rematch. In addition, I think the fight will last the full route, making the “over” a good bet. Lay the –150 on Floyd Mayweather to win and –105 on the “over.”
Each week, Big Scotty L makes picks on upcoming boxing matches in an attempt to make a punching bag out of his bookie. Scotty is a GREAT boxing handicapper who offers tremendous insight on the fights and his knowledge isn't just limited to boxing matches in the USA. He has a broad knowledge of international fights as well.
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