Monday, May 4, 2015

Analyzing Mayweather-Pacquiao

There was much anticipation leading up to a fight that was titled the “Fight of the Century” Mayweather vs. Pacquiao that took place on May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.  An encounter that took nearly six years to come to fruition as during that time the two fighters became the two best pound for pound fighters in the world.  This was the defining fight for both fighters respective careers in the eyes of many.  All the anticipation that led up to Mayweather-Pacquiao however, may have ultimately resulted in a bit of a letdown for some. 

In many ways the fight was a quintessential Floyd Mayweather Boxing lesson. Mayweather’s lateral movement, ability to dictate how the fight was fought, defense, and precision timing with his offense was the story of this fight. As has been the case in previous Mayweather bouts, a focal point of his offense in this fight was his ability to throw jabs and land straight right hands. Mayweather’s ability to keep the fight in the middle the ring was also a key factor.

Although Manny Pacquiao would have moments periodically throughout this fight, particularly when he was able to land counter punches and get Mayweather against the ropes. What was absent from his attack was his ability to use angles to set up his offense and to throw punches in a swarming style that makes it difficult for opponents to counteract. As I stated prior to this fight it was crucial in my eyes that Pacquiao bring the fight to Mayweather at a fast pace and maintain that pace for the entire fight.

This fight was instead fought at a pace that allowed Mayweather to dictate how it was fought and to more or less pick his shots and win rounds as a result. Pacquiao’s inability to use angles to set up his offense, choosing instead to come straight in at Mayweather played right into Mayweather’s hands.

Even though Pacquiao was able to have his best rounds in rounds two, four, and six when he was able to land punches a bit more frequently, he was simply unable to throw and land at a volume that may have allowed him to have more success in this fight. As I stated following the fight on social media when fights are fought in a manner as this fight was, it will always favor a fighter with a style like Mayweather’s who likes to pick his shots. Simply put, Pacquiao needed to be more active and needed to make Floyd Mayweather uncomfortable in order to have success in this fight.

At the end of the day the fight ended up being what Boxing fans have become accustomed to seeing from Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather dictating the pace, picking his shots, and showcasing his superb defense to earn a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision. Official scores were 118-110, and 116-112 on two scorecards all in favor of Mayweather. Unofficially, I scored this fight nine rounds to three in favor of Mayweather or 117-111 in points.

Although some may have anticipated more of an action fight given what was at stake for both fighters as well as the expensive price tags that consumers were asked to pay both for those who were attending the fight in person at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as well as those who paid $100 for the pay-per-view telecast, it was not surprising to this observer to see a tactical fight. Even though this fight ultimately was lopsided in Mayweather’s favor, it was still a competitive fight between two highly skilled boxers who are both future Hall of Famers.

As for what will the fallout of this fight will be from a financial standpoint, it will likely set new pay-per-view and live gate attendance records as was expected when this fight was announced. To what degree the financial success of this fight will be is unknown as of this writing, but I believe that it will ultimately prove to be the most successful Boxing card in the sport’s history.

As for the fighters themselves, it will be interesting to see where both fighters go coming out of this fight. In regard to Pacquiao, who only landed 81 of 429 total punches in the twelve round bout, revealed after the fight that he suffered an injury prior to the fight to his right shoulder and essentially fought the fight with one hand. Although some may criticize Pacquiao for going ahead with the fight with an injured shoulder when perhaps it may have been better for him to postpone the fight, this observer believes it was more Mayweather’s ability to dictate how the fight was fought more so than Pacquiao’s injury. Pacquiao did however, state that he hesitated to be more aggressive due to only having one hand.

Despite the injury, Pacquiao was still competitive and did manage to have his moments. As for what is next for Pacquiao, who lost the WBO world Welterweight championship to the unified WBC/WBA champion Mayweather in this fight, we will have to wait and see what the impact of the injury to his right shoulder will have in terms of when he will fight again. It will be interesting however, when Pacquiao does return to the ring to see if he will continue fighting in the 147lb. Welterweight division or if he will choose to move down in weight to the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division.

Even though Pacquiao came out of this fight on the losing end, he is still one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world and is still one of the sport’s biggest marquee draws. A loss in this fight will not have too much of an impact on Pacquiao’s marquee value. It is simply a question of what Pacquiao will do next. It is logical to assume that we will not get an answer to that question until Pacquiao’s injured shoulder has fully healed.

As there is a question of what Manny Pacquiao will do next, the same question also surrounds Floyd Mayweather. For his part, Mayweather, who landed 148 of 435 total punches against Pacquiao stated following the fight that he intends to relinquish all the world championships that he currently holds. The WBC/WBA Jr. Middleweight world championships as well as the WBC/WBA titles he holds in the Welterweight division including the WBO title he just won from Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather has stated that he will fight in September in what will be the last of a lucrative six-fight deal with Showtime, will be his final fight before retirement. It is anyone’s guess who Mayweather’s opponent might be come September, but an interesting storyline that will accompany that fight when it takes place will be Mayweather’s attempt to match Rocky Marciano’s undefeated mark of 49-0. 

Whether or not Mayweather can equal Marciano’s feat is a question that will be answered in time. If the planned fight in September will indeed be Mayweather’s last and if he should emerge from that fight still unbeaten it will cement his legacy and put him in an exclusive group of fighters to have retired undefeated that include such fighters as Marciano, Ricardo Lopez, and Joe Calzaghe to name a few. We will see in time if Mayweather can add his name to the list of retired undefeated world champions.

As for what the future holds in terms of pay-per-view Boxing events, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was only the second time that rival networks HBO and Showtime joined forces to co-produce a pay-per-view card. Although this card, much like the networks first collaboration in 2002 with the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson Heavyweight championship fight will likely prove to be a financial success in terms of pay-per-view buys, it is unclear whether the networks will continue to collaborate from time to time.

In the eyes of this observer it will all boil down to whether the right time, circumstances, and fighters are present for HBO and Showtime to continue to co-produce cards. If circumstances allow however, the two networks working together will ultimately benefit the sport overall.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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