Mayweather v Pacquiao – Fight Of A Lifetime
Floyd Mayweather Jnr v Manny Pacquiao
The most anticipated fight in boxing history is just days, maybe hours, away from being confirmed for May 3rd. For a number of reasons now, nearly too many to fathom, the match-up to end all match-ups has always fallen at the final hurdle.
Politics in boxing is beyond complicated and those complexities have never been rifer than during the attempts to pair off Pound4Pound kings, Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Manny Pacquiao. That failure has dogged the sport for years.
Many have wondered why it’s taken until now for such an obvious clash to take place. Surely two of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing, of the same generation, fighting in the same weight class, would have met long ago. Claim and counter-claim have been thrown by both Mayweather and Pacquiao as to who was ducking who. The original fight was scheduled over four years ago when the pair were at the peak of their powers.
After his spectacular knockout of Ricky Hatton two years previous, Mayweather had decided to retire at just 31, gloriously undefeated and heralded as the P4P number one boxer on the planet.
During those years, Manny Pacquiao would go on to cement his own legacy as one of the greatest fighters in boxing history. His incredible victories over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto caused such frenzy that a bout between the pair was thought to be inevitable. That Mayweather could never claim to be the greatest while this Filipino Phenom tore everyone around him asunder.
The reasons for the fight falling through are well publicised now. Mayweather’s demands for Olympic-style drug testing – breaking with normal protocol – felt like a pre-fight jab from ‘Money’ that Pacquiao’s ascent to the pinnacle of boxing had been compromised. At least that’s how the Filipino’s camp, and the media, had taken the slightly odd requests. Mud was slung in the weeks and months afterwards with the American accusing Pacquaio of drug taking whilst Mayweather was accused of running scared, that he was afraid of losing his ‘undefeated’ legacy. Those themes have continued over the years right up until this point.
Who would win the fight, though? It’s a hugely intriguing clash of styles. Mayweather: the sleek, stylish defensive master versus Pacquiao: the all-action, angle-defying southpaw who never stops attacking.
In the four years since the collapse of the original bout, one would argue Pacquaio has weathered worst between the pair. Impressive victories over the much larger Antonio Margarito and ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley were overshadowed by consecutive defeats to Timothy Bradley and a horrible knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez. Whilst he has won his last three fights, many have felt he has laboured and at 36, with so many iconic battles behind him, he hasn’t much left in the tank.
Mayweather, meanwhile, has been busy picking off the likes of Miguel Cotto, ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Marcos Maidana and has done so with relative ease, keeping each fighter at a distance, picking them off in boxing masterclasses, on the end of little punishment. Even at a year older than his arch-nemesis, many feel ‘Money’ is the fresher and less damaged of the two.
Pacquiao’s style is arguably the more pleasing on the eye for the neutral. A fusion of furious flurries from all angles, he rarely covers up and defends himself. Mayweather is the polar opposite. The traditionalists’ dream, he is arguably the greatest defensive technician to ever lace up the gloves. He has rarely been downed in a fight due to his head and body movement and even though Pacquaio’s speed and angular shots would trouble Mayweather, Manny’s predisposition for attacking boxing would fall right into Floyd’s hands.
Dissecting the possible outcomes of the fight are futile at this point, though; the world just wants to see two of the best fighters ever get it on and decide once and for all, who is the best of the current generation. Any last minute hitches in negotiations leading to another collapse would be devastating. Mayweather and Pacquiao have a duty, not just to their legacies, but to the sport of boxing to make this happen.