On the surface it’s understandable to see why many people feel the impending May 2 showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather is “five years too late.” When the bout was first negotiated years ago for a March 2010 date, Floyd Mayweather was one fight into his return from a two-year sabbatical, having easily shut-out Pacquiao nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. And Pacquiao had spent the previous year brutalizing Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, two of the top fighters in their respective 140 and 147-pound divisions.
Five years later, Mayweather is still undefeated while Pacquiao has taken two defeats – one dubious (Timothy Bradley), the other crushing (Marquez IV). But there just might be a silver lining in this agonizing delay if you’re Team Pacquiao. The Filipino icon’s trainer, Freddie Roach, explains why the 2015 version of Manny has the makeup to hand Mayweather his first defeat.
Which version of Manny Pacquiao would have had a better chance to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr.: 2010 or 2015?
That is an interesting question because there are obviously tradeoffs between the two versions of Manny. But I am convinced that the 2015 ‘model’ is the more formidable fighter for a few reasons.
Back in 2010, Manny was still growing into a welterweight. His first two welterweight fights were against Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 and Miguel Cotto in 2009 where he only weighed 142 and 144 pounds, respectively, and in between, he dropped down to 138 to fight Ricky Hatton. Floyd had been campaigning as a welterweight since 2005 and weighed 150 in his fight against De La Hoya so that might have given Floyd an advantage. I still like Manny’s chances in that fight but I think the Manny of today has a lot more in his favor.
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. 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 earlier years. He cannot run the ring for three minutes per round as he did in the past and he covers that up by saying he is now fighting a more fan-friendly style by engaging more with his opponents. BALONEY! He’s engaging more because he can no longer move like he used to do.
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. Manny’s footwork and hand speed are still the best in the game and though I still consider him a small welterweight, Manny now has five more years experience fighting at the welterweight level. The 2015 Manny is going to fight the perfect fight. I look at this the same as I did I when Manny fought Oscar De La Hoya. I have all the confidence in the world that Manny is going to knock Floyd out on May 2.
Mayweather-Pacquiao: At Last, a special film presented by HBO Sports detailing the road to the most anticipated fight of this era, debuts Saturday, April 18 at 12:00 a.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao takes place Saturday, May 2 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas live on pay-per-view beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.