Countdown to showdown: perfect time to topple Mayweather?
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will finally do battle in the ring in May this year, after years of heated speculation surrounding the two legendary fighters.
Back in 2010, boxing fans around the world were teased with a dream mega-fight between the prolific punchers, but five years later that welterweight wonder-bout is set to become a reality in the famous MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Freddie Roach, experienced coach for Filipino ‘Pacman’, has extreme confidence in his eight-division world champion (an 11/2 chance with Coral to win by KO or TKO) and believes there is no better time to face ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, despite having pushed hard for the bout five years ago.
“In 2010, the two-year age difference between the fighters was not significant to either, but that’s not true today. Floyd at 38 is doing things he didn’t do in the past,” said Roch.
“Floyd is a defensive genius, but he has always depended on his legs to perform and you can see now that his legs do not have the same spring or fluidness of his early years.”
Pacquiao’s long-term corner-man insists that he has spotted a decline in the 10-time world champion’s performances, despite boasting an unhampered 47-0 fighting record during a supremely successful career to date.
“The 2015 version of Manny is more mature, smarter and less reckless than the 2010 version. He will be treating the ring like a chess board, anticipating Floyd’s moves, ready to cut him off and attack every time he creates an opening,” continued Roach.
May’s encounter, which has been dubbed ‘the Fight of the Century’, will see Mayweather (7/1 to win by KO or TKO) try to defend his unbeaten record with his unbreachable defensive abilities, as Pacquiao aims to use his rapid, powerful approach to expose his opponent to a first career defeat.
‘Pacman’ has enjoyed a rampant rise to prominence in the welterweight division in recent years, with his blistering hand speed and ferocious punching power having already been too much for the likes of ‘the Golden Boy’ Oscar De La Hoya, British bruiser Ricky Hatton and, most recently, Chris Algieri.
However, the 36-year-old has shown glimpses of weakness in previous fights, having lost on points to Timothy Bradley, following a stunning stoppage by Juan Manuel Marquez in his fourth clash with the Mexican. These high-profile losses have meant his American opposition is an odds-on 8/13 favourite to secure a points decision victory in their upcoming super-fight.
With these two champions edging towards 40 years of age, some of Pacquiao’s fiery attacking attributes may have faded with age and Mayweather’s seemingly unwavering defensive skills may be loosening up, but the talent and grit will still be deeply embedded in both battlers at the MGM Grand in May.