Ahead ofthe mega fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Radio Maxx’s Hans Andoh looks at the two boxers involved and what the bout represents to sports fans.
It’s the most lucrative boxing promotion in history but of course we already know that and didn’t expect any less. The “fight of the century” between Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Manny Pacquiao this weekend would be the highest grossing fight in history with revenue expected to reach $300 million.
Whether or not the amount of money involved swelled with each year since the idea of a mega showdown was mooted in 2009 between two of the sports finest is a subject for another day.
Although when Floyd Mayweather is involved, a strategist par excellence, every move is a chess character been moved around the board until he yells “check mate”.
“Everything I do is calculated. Even keeping the world waiting for this fight, which would only have been worth about $60m if we’d done it five years ago.” Mayweather said yesterday at his grand arrival in Las Vegas ahead of the mega show down.
Manny Pacqiuao’s business and financial expertise cannot compare to the undefeated American but his heart and pugilistic competence cannot be questioned. Titles in eight different weight categories don’t really require Wall Street thinking.
And so it happened that when the fight was announced the purse split was 60-40 in Mayweather’s favour. A huge victory for several reasons, not least because Bob Arum was involved. Arum was Mayweather’s promoter for the first decade of the undefeated pound-for-pound king’s career, but the two underwent an acrimonious split in 2006, with each suing the other over, what else, money?
But in April of 2006 Mayweather turned down the highest purse of his career, $8 million to fight Antonio Margarito, and exercised a provision in his contract that let him become a free agent if he paid Top Rank $750,000.
Arum told ESPN’s Dan Rafael at the time that before leaving Mayweather had asked, among other things, for a $20 million guaranteed purse to fight Oscar De La Hoya.
A year later, Mayweather chalked a two-end victory by making $25 million in a fight against De La Hoya and defeating the Golden boy. How Arum felt about that can be anybody’s guess.
After buying himself out of his Top Rank contract, Mayweather took unprecedented control over his career. Rather than getting paid a large guaranteed fee up front by a promotor like Top Rank as is the norm across the sport,
Mayweather stages his fights himself and takes a cut of the total revenue on the back end.
Greg Bishop described it like this for the New York Times in 2011:
“He earns a percentage of every ticket purchased, every pretzel consumed, every poster sold. He will earn from countries that paid for broadcasting rights and the theaters where the fight is shown”.
Such a shrewd business tactic coupled with an ability to sell a fight like no other has seen Mayweather rack up $400 million in career earnings over a period of nearly two decades.
But on May 2nd, in that square circle against Manny Pacquiao, in front of 16,500 fans at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, his business strategy and all his career earnings will count for nothing. It will be about who is more prepared physically, mentally and technically.
For Pacman, it will be about desire, the desire to keep inspiring millions of Filipinos while for Floyd Mayweather a determination to see 48-0 as his fight record after 12 rounds will be the driving force.
So how does Pacquiao win this to confirm what many have believed for so long- that Pacquiao possesses the attributes to decipher the “MayVinci Code” as Mayweather calls his defensive skills.
PACQUIAO’S SPEED WILL BE KEY
Any boxer who has ever faced Manny Pacquiao whether during sparring or competitive action will mention speed as the Filipino’s foremost attribute.
And he’ll need it, not just hand speed but speed on his feet to unsettle Mayweather.
Oscar De La Hoya has a unique distinction: He won on the judge’s scorecard against Mayweather but ultimately lost a split decision in 2007. Pacquiao retired De La Hoya after eight rounds in 2008.
The conventional view of this fight is that it is a match-up of speed (Pacquiao) against elusiveness (Mayweather), but De La Hoya sees Pacquiao’s movement as pivotal.
“Mayweather has never fought a lefty who moves in and out, side to side like Pacquiao,” De La Hoya said.
“Pacquiao’s footwork is the key. Also, he has to make Mayweather open up and engage, then punch when Mayweather is punching.”
“If Mayweather fights the Pacquiao who fought me, he is in for some trouble,” the Golden boy said.
Pacquiao’s blistering speed has seen him outclass bigger opponents over the years.
Miguel Cotto, Antonio Magarito and Oscar De La Hoya are notable names. In his own words, Ricky Hatton thought he could “bully” Pacquiao with his size having done so successfully against Kostya Tszyu. He was battered and stopped within two rounds. The key?-Pacman’s speed.
The biggest challenge for Manny Pacquiao will be finding Floyd Mayweather in the ring to utilize his speed. The first Mayweather-Marcos Maidana bout proved that Floyd does not like to fight at a fast pace.
Pacquiao has to dictate the tempo and pile the pressure on Maywether from start to finish. Mayweather likes to lean to his right in his famous shoulder roll defensive technique, which puts him in the line of fire of Pacquiao’s devastating left.
If Pacquiao chases Mayweather around the ring with the aim of landing one big left, he’ll be on the receiving end of left jabs and right counters all night, as was the case in the Filipino’s sixth-round knockout loss in 2012 to Juan Manuel Marquez.
EXPLOSIVE COMBINATIONS VS SUPER JABS
Pacquiao is known for throwing loads of combinations whereas Mayweather aims to get points on the score cards with his superior jabbing skills and ruthless accuracy.
The challenge for Pacman will be to ensure that the combinations he throws are landing and scoring points because Floyd will be landing and scoring points behind his jab no matter how minimal they may be.
Floyd has landed more punches while been outpunched by his last three opponents. Perhaps the most telling is his last two fights against Argentine Marcos Maidana.
In the first Maidana showdown, Mayweather landed 230 (54%) out 426 thrown according to boxing statisticians CompuBox. Maidana threw a whooping 858 punches and landed 221 (22%).
Maidana’s 221 punches that landed are the most by a Mayweather opponent in 37 of his fights tracked by CompuBox.
Pacquiao won’t only need to throw lots of punches; he needs to score at an incredible rate if he’s to win on the score cards.
Floyd Mayweather reportedly focuses on endurance in training by sparring fifteen rounds, five minutes per round against different opponents within the fifteen rounds.
The widely held belief is that to beat the undefeated American, an opponent will have to average 100 punches per round. That is a work load that will require tremendous stamina to see through.
Marcos Maidana’s training ahead of his two duels against Mayweather centred around keeping pressure on the American for 12 rounds. He did that for the first 4 rounds and switched off, allowing Mayweather to take over until the last round.
Does Pacman have the ability to average a hundred punches per round for a 12 round championship match up?
It certainly doesn’t look beyond him but can he do that without getting hit so much in the process? That’s the question.
On Saturday, it won’t be about who’s getting more Money or who’s entering the ring first or whose name comes first on the fight’s official promotion banner.
It’s about who’s better prepared, who has the right motivation and desire, and crucially who wants it more.
Will Floyd Mayweather’s fight record be 48-0 or 47-1? Can’t Wait!
By: Hans Andoh/citifmonline.com/Ghana');