MayPac predictions: Media edition (Part II)

Phil Jay 29/04/2015

World Boxing News have been busy gathering a huge collection of predictions for this weekend’s massive pay-per-view clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Personalities from the whole spectrum of the sport have given their input into the poll as we count down the days to the most highly anticipated fight of this generation when two of the best ever collide to finally decide the pound for pound king.

In this edition, more of the boxing media give their opinions.

WBC and WBA welterweight champion Mayweather, 38, and 36 year-old WBO title holder Pacquiao lay it all on the line in a $250m blockbuster match-up and below are some of the views given by those from the boxing fraternity.

Ryan Bivins (SweetBoxing) – Unless Manny Pacquiao is actively trying to counter-punch, which you can’t expect much of against a great pure boxer like Mayweather, he largely steps out of range and resets whenever someone hits him. Against larger and slower opponents who couldn’t time Pacquiao, this was not problematic. Against someone as elusive as Mayweather, who additionally has the superior reach, this could be a nightmare. Pacquiao is not an inside fighter; he prefers to jump in and out from angles when he attacks. That’s an excellent strategy when you have a stationary target, but not against a defensive wizard like Mayweather.

There’s a lot more to defense than simply covering up like your name is Joshua Clottey. Pacquiao is going to have to work extremely hard to hit Mayweather and can’t afford to bail whenever he gets tagged back. And with a sharpshooter like Mayweather, you can be assured that Pacquiao is going to eat a lot of clean punches while working his way inside. Pacquiao shouldn’t let that deter him, but old habits die hard.

To make matters worse, Pacquiao falls in over his front knee when he throws his straight left hands, making him off balance and wide open for counter shots. Pacquiao generally relies on his reflexes to get himself out of those situations, but does he have an advantage in that department against Mayweather? I think not. Overall I see Mayweather giving Pacquiao a boxing lesson in the middle of the ring. However, Pacquiao’s speed and awkwardness should help him land a few single-shot bombs that rock Mayweather.

Unfortunately for Pacquiao, his killer instinct died when he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. He’s unlikely to capitalize when Mayweather is hurt, especially considering how good Mayweather is at recovering from big shots (see Corley, Mosley & Maidana II fights). Aside from landing a bomb here and there, Pacquiao’s best chances to steal close rounds will come when Mayweather’s back is toward the ropes. Fan scorecards will likely be all over the place but Mayweather should win a comfortable 12-round decision. Nonetheless, in a fight of this magnitude, expect at least one judge to screw it up. I’m guessing we’ll see Mayweather win by split decision.

Andre Courtemanche – Mayweather will revert to his Olympic boxing days and outpoint Pacquiao in a careful measured and, unfortunately, not very entertaining performance. In the end, Floyd’s haters will say he fought scared, is chicken, etc., and Pac’s haters will say Floyd proved his dominance. Both will be right.

Thomas Schlabe (Sauerland) – Mayweather dominates the first half, Pacman will step on the gas afterwards and might catch Floyd near the end. So either a late KO for Pacquiao or a razor-thin decision for Mayweather. It will warrant a rematch, either way.

Phil Barnett – I’ll go with Mayweather SD for now, but I’m bound to change my mind!

Lucy Bennett – If the fight was taking place a few years ago I would have said Manny all the way….but now, although my heart still wants Manny to win, my head says Mayweather’s going to take it on points.

Matt Hamilton – I see this as a clear, decisive Mayweather points decision victory that might be spun into a convenient split decision victory for Floyd. This would set up what I view as an inevitable rematch, but in reality I can’t see Floyd losing more than three rounds to Pacquiao. The size differential is clear to anyone whose been in the room with both of them and this is one half of a golden handshake bout for both.

Jeff Powell – Pacman decision. Not only speed but volume of punching.

Tim Rickson – I believe that Mayweather will win on points. Pacquiao will have some early success with his phenomenal speed but Mayweather will begin to settle into his stride. He will work him out and then begin to pick him off with those amazing reflexes and accurate counter-punches of his. Although my heart says Pacman, my head says Money.

Steve Wellings – I find it hard to look past Floyd in this one, but if Manny can get past the jab and let his flurries go, in and out, then he has a chance to impress the judges. If anything bothers Mayweather then it’s speed and pressure. Speed kills and even though Manny is older now and not as consistently explosive, I’d say he can enjoy relative success. One way of combating this is with accuracy and timing, both of which Floyd possesses in abundance. Pacquiao has to be smart and exploit the openings when they present themselves.

Regarding the two corners, Roger is a calmer influence than Floyd Senior and Roach is a vastly celebrated trainer but both fighters are so experienced I don’t see either corner playing a huge role.

I think it’ll go the distance, but if anyone is getting stopped then it’s Pacquiao. A 116-112 or 117-111 points win to Mayweather sounds about right.

John Hannen – Of course there’s a case to be made for a Pacquiao win – maybe Mayweather will get old overnight, perhaps Manny will have the right tactics and be able to employ them in a ‘perfect storm’ scenario. But, un-controversially, I can’t see past a Mayweather points win. I’m just not sure Pacquiao brings anything to the table that Mayweather hasn’t already seen previously when beating a roll-call of top fighters. For such a supposedly big fight though, the whole thing seems to have flown under the radar a bit and the real shame for me – and for the health of boxing – is that it’s not a fight being built up on terrestrial TV, as opposed to being tucked away on PPV.

Paul Gibson (The Balls of Wrath) – Pacquiao has lost much of his power and some of his accuracy over the years so I can’t see any way he’ll stop Mayweather. But he still has the foot speed to get in and out of range and work rate to score well and win rounds. I don’t think he’ll win enough of them though. Floyd will weather the inevitable storms and counter at will as he has done 47 times before. The smart money is on a Mayweather UD, but I don’t have the brains God gave me so I’ll say: Money stops Manny in the 11th.

Elliot Worsell – I’m picking Mayweather to win by decision (as usual) but do so with no degree of certainty. In fact, as the fight draws closer, I see sense in backing Pacquiao’s work-rate and intensity to get the job done on the scorecards. However, how can you pick against Mayweather when nobody has come close to cracking the blueprint? I see this one going much the same way as Mayweather’s fight with Zab Judah in 2008. Pacquiao’s speed, southpaw stance and tenacity will cause Floyd issues early, but then ‘Money’ takes over down the stretch and takes a competitive decision. Close enough for there to be calls for a rematch.

Reni Valenzuela – It can be a one-sided fight either way, it depends on Floyd. If Mayweather opts to be aggressive offensively, Pacquiao will win. But if older Mayweather will “run” or maintains defense as his key weapon, Pacquiao may lose. It’s a 60/40 winning chance for the boxer whose style would prevail. Roach is immaterial in a Pacquiao win, but he shares the blame big if Pacquiao loses.

Danny Flexen (boxingnewsonline.net) Mayweather will find more space and time to fire off his accurate, sniping, hurtful shots in the second half of the fight, reining in Manny’s early lead and marking his rival up. With Pacquiao’s chase becoming increasingly ragged, Mayweather, a master at pacing himself, can increase his own output in the championship rounds to seal a close but deserved decision.

Rio Di Caro – To me, and I’m sure a lot of other people, this is a fight that should have happened many years ago, if it had happened around 2010 or earlier, I always felt that the result would probably have been a stoppage victory for Manny Pacquiao. However as this is happening now, in 2015, I decided to have a real close look at all of their fights since 2012 to see if my most recent thoughts – a win for Mayweather – are justified or if that KO of Pacquiao by Marquez had clouded my judgment.

Unfortunately, after a few hugely enjoyable hours watching their recent fights again, I have to say that whilst my heart still wants it to be Pacquiao and by that envisioned stoppage victory, however my head is of a very different opinion – Mayweather on points. Why you may ask, quite simply Mayweather’s defensive skills are sublime and his timing, well what can I say, has become more or less perfect.

Whilst Pacquiao, who has scored maybe the ‘better’ wins recently – over Rios, Bradley Jr. and Algieri – in my view is not quite the same fighter I’m used to watching, I wish I could put my finger on what it is exactly, but unfortunately can’t I hope I’m wrong, as it’s always been exciting watching Pacquiao in action – I wish I could say the same for Mayweather – and without doubt a victory over Mayweather would be the perfect way for PacMan to bring to a close
his illustrious career.

My Prediction – Mayweather by Points Decision.

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