(First of three parts)
Fellow The Times columnist lawyer Eduardo Tolentino said it right in his column on March 6, 2015 that the Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks fight was one of the most hyped fights in modern history.
But up to this day, I cannot forget how boxing fans like me were taken for ride by some boxing “analysts” to believe that Spinks had a chance to defeat Tyson in their heavyweight unification fight on June 27, 1988. When fight night took place, a hapless Spinks folded up and was knocked out in 91 seconds. Crap! And all that I was expecting, because of what some boxing “analysts” told fans like me, was Spinks put up a decent fight even if he loses. Even Muhammad Ali believed Spinks had a chance of winning. So much for believing the legends of the sports when it comes to fight predictions!
Now, I’m not saying Manny Pacquiao will be mercilessly decimated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2. But to believe that Pacquiao can knock out, stop, or even score a wide decision win over the American, as some sports or boxing writers want us to believe, may be asking for the moon.
While it is easy to be impressed by what we have heard and seen from the training camp of Pacquiao in Los Angeles so far, it is hard to get accurate information on what is transpiring in the camp of Mayweather. There were previous rumors that Mayweather was knocked out by a sparring partner, which turned out to be not true.
Then there was news on Tuesday that Mayweather was reported to have sustained “hand and facial injuries” in his training, according to the article “Mayweather Working through Hand and Facial Injuries in Training Camp” posted at boxingnews24.com the same day.
Turns out, based on the article, that nothing was structurally wrong with Mayweather’s hands and the facial injury was simply a split lip. The hand injury of Mayweather seemed to be scratches or bruises, perhaps sustained from hitting the heavy bag too hard.
In Pacquiao’s camp, meanwhile, The Times reported in its Sports page on Tuesday the Filipino is nearing peak condition. The article “Pacquiao nears peak condition” quoted Pacquiao as saying “Freddie [Roach] and [conditioning coach]Justin Fortune have been holding me back a little to prevent me from over-training and peaking too soon. I feel great and I am very excited for May 2.”
So it is obvious both fighters are pushing themselves very hard for their historical May 2 megabout. This is good for fans!
But will the current pre-fight hype live up to expectations on fight night?
That is the big question.
I must admit—my heart wants Pacquiao to win, but my head believes Mayweather still has the edge here.
To me (at least), it is very hard to ignore how Mayweather actually faced better opposition in his last three fights.
In the first place, Robert Guerrero had good skills and was a southpaw (like Pacquiao), while Saul Alvarez was a bull- strong super welterweight. And it is foolish to overlook Maidana’s high knockout percentage and his ability to take punishment.
On the other hand, Pacquiao’s last three opponents, Timothy Bradley, Brandon Rios, and Chris Algieri cannot be rated alongside Guerrero, Alvarez and even Maidana. Bradley and Algieri have very low knockout percentages, while Rios has poor defense.
But then, we cannot overlook the fact that Mayweather is coming off two hard fights courtesy of Maidana. And hard fights can sap some of a fighter’s vitality that could affect the performance in his next fight.
On the other hand, Pacquiao had an easy time against Algieri, and this gives the Filipino more physical and psychological reserves to push himself harder in training and during the actual fight.
Those abovementioned arguments, however, are merely theories and boxing analysts (and even boxers turned analysts) could go wrong in their theorizing.
(Part two: Why Mayweather is the betting favorite)