(Second of three parts)
I was not at all surprised Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the betting favorite in his May 2 fight against Manny Pacquiao. The reasons are simple: Mayweather is undefeated, is the bigger fighter, and is a master technician in the ring.
Pacquiao is also no longer seen as invincible, because he was knocked out cold in December 2012 by rival Juan Ma-nuel Marquez in the sixth round in what was their fourth meeting.
In contrast, Mayweather remains undefeated and that is not a small feat considering the champions he beat, and also the undefeated fighters whom he handed their first losses at the championship level: the late Diego Corrales (33-0 with 27 knockouts when he was stopped in the 10th round on January 2001); Ricky Hatton (42-0 with 31 KOs when he was stopped in the 10th round on December 2007); and Saul Alvarez (41-0 with 32 KOs on September 2013 before losing via majority decision to the American).
The fight resume of Mayweather also shows he beat notable and/or accomplished fighters like Jose Luis Castillo, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Oscar Dela Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana.
The size advantage of Mayweather, especially in the reach department, will definitely be a factor in the fight.
And again, I would like to emphasize for the nth time—the present weigh-in rules, where fighters are weighed about 36 hours before the actual fight, favors the naturally bigger guys. Why? During the 36-hour period after a weigh in, a naturally bigger person can put on more weight, which can be an advantage at fight night.
Mayweather’s highest weight at the scales is 151 pounds in his fight against Alvarez. In his fight against Oscar Dela Hoya at super welterweight (154 pounds), Mayweather weighed in at 150 pounds.
On the other hand, Pacquiao weighed in at 147 pounds, the welterweight limit, in his fourth fight against Marquez.
There is a possibility Mayweather will weigh five to eight pounds more than Pacquiao on fight night. On the other hand, Pacquiao’s camp seem oblivious to the Filipino putting on much weight at fight night, because that might diminish his speed in the ring.
While Pacquiao is still perceived as the harder hitter between the two, the extra weight Mayweather may carry into the ring can help the American generate more respectable punching power.
So those expecting Pacquiao to “walk through” Mayweather’s punches come fight night better stop dreaming. That simply won’t happen! Simply look at how Alvarez got badly hurt whenever Mayweather landed clean rights on the Mexican, who by the way has a reputation for having a strong chin.
But it is the five-inch reach advantage of Mayweather that can make things truly hard for Pacquiao. While Pacquiao easily landed punches on much bigger fighters like Antonio Margarito and Chris Algieri, it is obvious comparing those two fighters to Mayweather is like comparing SUVs to a Ferrari or Lamborghini.
That five-inch reach advantage can be put to good use by Mayweather to score at will against Pacquiao. To illustrate what I am talking about, let me just quote some facts from the article Mayweather measures up with greats by Igor Guryashkin that was posted at the ESPN website.
The article used data from CompuBox, which is a computerized scoring system that counts every punch a boxer throws and lands, and the number of punches a boxer absorbs.
The article said Mayweather’s plus/minus connect percentage is plus 30, while Pacquiao’s is plus 4.7.
The article said Pacquiao connects only 12.3 percent of his jabs although the Filipino attempts twice the amount of jabs. On the other hand, Mayweather connects 41.6 percent of his jabs. When it comes to power punches, Pacquiao connects 45.3 and Mayweather 47.8 percent.
What is glaring, however, is Pacquiao’s opponents land 33.6 percent of their punches on the Filipino, while Mayweather’s foes manage to land only 18.6 percent, according to the article.
Some would argue Mayweather had difficulties with southpaws. That argument holds no water anymore, because Mayweather had an easy time against southpaw Robert Guerrero on May 2013. All the judges scored it 111-117 for Mayweather.
While there are many things stacking up in favor of Mayweather, that does not mean Pacquiao does not have a chance to beat the American. In fact, I am giving Pacquiao more than a puncher’s chance to beat Mayweather on May 2.
Conclusion: How Pacquiao can upset Mayweather)