By Ludwig O. Daza
Bob Arum predicted that Manny Pacquiao will win every round of the Fight of the Century. This is a bold statement. In fact, I find Arum’s statement ridiculous. Manny Pacquiao is capable of doing that, but not against the calibre of Floyd Mayweather.
“Manny is solid but reckless,” says Mayweather who is the exact opposite of recklessness. That Mayweather’s opponents were handpicked by him, always with caution in mind of what they bring to the table, is proof of his deliberate ways. Except Zab Judah, none of those fighters put Mayweather in harm’s way. Not even Oscar De la Hoya. Yes, they were solid, but reckless? I don’t think so, except probably, again, Zab Judah. Against Mayweather, Judah was reckless to the point of being foul. No respect whatsoever to the whole persona of Mayweather, he would do crazy moves in that fight that discombobulated not only his opponent but also the boxing fans. His recklessness allowed him to glimpse a victory but which trait also cost him the fight.
Recklessness worries Mayweather, and Manny can show him some if Freddie Roach’s strategy prove ineffective as the fight progresses. Manny can revert back to his reckless ways in hopes of delivering a haywire. But it is also something that Mayweather can exploit during the fight, and Manny might end up prostrate in the canvas again. I doubt, though, that the same fate will happen. But I’m not totally discounting it.
Manny learns from his mistakes. No doubt about that. He wouldn’t be an 8-division title-holder if his mistakes, on his way up, were left un-checked. It showed in his fights after that earth-shaking loss in the hands of Manuel Marquez. Against Timothy Bradley, said to be the poor man’s version of Mayweather, Manny was cautiously busy. His feints were with bad intentions, and no longer done without expecting a counterpunch.
Mayweather, at times, had descended to the level of his opponents. He will coast along and would only elevate his game when his opponent shows disrespect, but only to pile up points. But this style also allowed worthy opponents to make a breakthrough, and a few surprised him such as Marcos Maidana, who gave a good account of himself in their first fight. Mayweather though was a different fighter in their second bout, dominating Maidana en route to a unanimous decision.
In this coming Fight of the Century, we will see both fighters at the peak of their physical and mental strengths. Both will want to dictate the tempo. A consummate boxer will be up against a durable fighter. Neither would budge an inch. This, folks, will be like the first bout of Erik Morales vs. Manny Pacquiao. The first round will be riveting, with audience gripped with suspense and drama, and emotions held hostage by movements inside the ring.
If Manny is unable to impose his swarming offense, expect the ring generalship of Mayweather to carry him through the day.