Beautiful. I want to thank the folks at the academy for this opportunity. I want to thank my Wife, my Mom, my Dad and my Sister for putting up with my fanaticism of boxing since the first time I watched Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 1. I want to thank my co-founder and brothers in arms Rudy Mondragon and Jose Hernandez and intern Juan Fco. I just want to thank everyone. It’s just a great time to feel grateful for everything and I think that’s the feeling that will pervade come fight night.
The science of the fight has been analyzed over and over again. What I’m talking about is the magic of the fight that is happening right now, as family comes into town, as fight parties get organized, as everyone cheers before tuning in. The happiness is feverish, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like in Vegas or in the Philippines, or in Mexico. Madness! And I welcome it, it just feels right and it feels like we’re all gathered to witness something great and purely honest.
Which is the whole sell of the fight unfortunately as money comes into the equation, suddenly putting something as concrete as PPV buys and purses to attempt quantify an event so happily anticipated.
I’m not saying that I don’t respect superfights of the past. I’m just reveling that it’s going to happen. This Saturday night. The streets will be empty in the Philippines. Vegas will stand silently by Floyd as their confidence for him is unwavering. Two men will come into the ring already champions in their own right and I hope they both come out champions.
I predict a draw. I predict it will be so hard to score rounds, and I will explicitly not be doing that on fight night. I predict both men will be pushed to the limit. I predict both men will smile at exchanges as they give one, take one, return one, miss one, maybe even get knocked down. There will be drama. There will be lots of sweat, blood and tears of the audience. But there will be smiles. I authentically believe that both these men are prepared for anything, and they will actually enjoy the fight more than the audience will. Manny will enjoy fiercely opening up the Floyd box in every nanosecond of every round. Floyd will enjoy piercing and interrupting Manny’s tempo while hiding in plain sight. There will be no clinching because Floyd knows better. There will be no warrior bravado of “come and get it” by Manny because that only wastes the precious time he has in each round. Both will push each other to places neither of them has gone before. Both will smile, and hopefully both will welcome a rematch. That’s how I want it to go down. God bless us all if it actually happens. Cheers to all fight fans everywhere!
Prediction: Fight will end in a DRAW
ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT! ALRIIIIIGHT! (Kevin Hart voice). It’s time for the most highly anticipated match in boxing history folks. Yes, it’s five years past its prime but even cold pizza still taste good, right?
Now typically when a fight is this overhyped we end up being disappointed. Not this time. I’ve got a feeling that both hardcore Stans and casual boxing fans will get satisfaction out of this one. As the great lyricist Marky-Mark once said, “Styles make fights”, and given the two opposing styles and long history between these two boxers, I’m expected this to be a JimRoss-style barnburner. With Mayweather we have the sports greatest technical boxer, a master counter-puncher, and expert in not getting hit. Pacquiao’s a quick, aggressive offensive puncher with knockout power in either hand. Pacquiao can’t outbox Floyd and Floyd can’t not engage with Manny’s speed, so make no mistake…they will fight and there will be blood. With that said, let’s get into my prediction for the fight:
Let me kill the suspense by saying that I fully expect this fight to go ALL 12 ROUNDS. Now having said that, expect the vast majority of the action to take place in the first 6 rounds. The edge in punching power and footwork goes to Pacquiao. Combined with Manny’s slightly shorter height, this means awkward angles for Floyd. You have to believe that Freddie Roach knows this and is going to attempt to use it to Pacquiao’s advantage. Pacquiao’s key to success is using that footwork and quickness to get in, throw combinations to the body, and get out. Mind you, I don’t expect Manny to hit Floyd with anything clean but he’ll look busy, appear aggressive, and score points. Although Floyd is a great counter-puncher, Manny’s height and quickness means he can land 2-3 glancing shots for every 1 Floyd is able to counter. Floyd’s high-glove-shoulder-roll defense will see most of those shots landing on the arm or back but over the course of 12 rounds they’ll have an affect. What Manny DOES NOT want to do is stay in close. You’ll hear guys like Oscar de la Hoya advise fighters to get Floyd out of his comfort zone by pressing him. Well how well did that work for Oscar? Or Ortiz? Or Hatton? Or Zab? Don’t worry, I’ll wait….
The four corners of the ring are Floyd’s comfort zone, so the idea that getting close to him and trying to bully him is going to work is asinine. That type of strategy opens fighters up to getting caught and there’s no better person at catching fighters slipping than Mayweather. Pacquiao is a great boxer but he’s not going to outbox Floyd. Yes Pacquiao has knockout power but he’s not going to knock him out. What he can do is use speed, quickness, and complex angles to score points in the early rounds. If he connects with enough body shots early on then maybe he can slow Floyd down enough to land something substantial in the later rounds. We’re certainly not talking about a knockout but tempered aggression and ring generalship early on, with clean punches in the late rounds could give him a decision.
So with that being said, I have a better chance of hitting the Devil in the face with a snowball than Manny does of winning a decision against Floyd $ Mayweather. The key point to emphasize here is that unlike Manny Pacquiao and the 47 other fighters who’ve come before him, Floyd Mayweather doesn’t have to prepare for Manny Pacquiao. Manny Pacquiao has to prepare for Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao has to engage Mayweather. He’s not long enough to keep Floyd away with a jab and catch him coming in. In order to score points Manny has to close the distance and land shots. There’s no one better at avoiding contact in close range than Floyd which means that as that distance closes, Manny opens himself up to shots. Although you can argue (as I do), that Floyd hasn’t had a legitimate KO since Ricky Hatton, that don’t mean he’s no punk. Go ask Canelo Alvarez if you don’t believe me. Or better yet, go ask Shane Mosley or Miguel Cotto’s face.
Floyd typically starts slow which I don’t expect is going to change for this fight. That means the first round will be a feeling out process, rounds 2-3 we’ll see some action with Manny landing a few shots, and rounds 4-5 will have Floyd making his adjustments and popping Manny with head shots as he tries to close the distance. By round 6 Floyd will have figured out two things: Manny’s timing and his achilles heel. My guess is that the latter will be the left hook. At this point, we can expect a boxing clinic. Manny’s lacked discipline in past fights which means he will have no problem breaking from Roach’s game plan. As he comes in hot looking for the knockout in the later rounds, Floyd’s going to take that opportunity to punish him. Although you won’t see the same level of exchanges between the two fighters, you will see more clean power shots landed by Floyd as the fight gets into the later rounds. By the end of round 12, expect a majority decision for Mayweather and Manny’s face to look like Hamburger-Helper. Now if you’re reading closely I know what you’re thinking, “why the majority decision?”. Well, because it’s in Vegas. Vegas is in Nevada and judging in Nevada SUCKS!. Not as much as…New Jersey (Fred Armisen’s Gov. Paterson voice), but still pretty bad. I don’t expect that either fighter really wants this to go to the judges so after round 6 expect Floyd to put on his boxing clinic and Manny overextend himself looking for the knockout. But if Manny thinks he’s about to TKO on Floyd Mayweather…he gone learn today! Overall, expect a pretty entertaining fight with Floyd once again proving his dominance.
Prediction: Mayweather wins by majority decision
In 2005, the seminal scientific study by Faurie and Raymond concluded that left-handers may have an advantage in fights but only when the number of left-handed fighters in the sport is low overall. The next year, Mayweather fought Zab Judah, the only quick-handed southpaw Money has faced in his career. The result: a Mayweather win by unanimous decision. So was Faurie and Raymond’s study disproven? More than likely not; probably because Mayweather is not an average fighter… he is as big of an outlier as anyone we have seen and general conclusions typically do not apply to outliers. But what can we learn from the Mayweather-Judah fight that may provide some insight into what we should expect for this Saturday’s fight? If you re-watch the Mayweather-Judah fight, you can see that the four first rounds were easily won by Judah with quick right jabs and sweeping left hooks. I had never seen Money look so dazed and uncomfortable. However, starting round 5, you notice Mayweather’s brilliant boxing IQ start forming a plan and figuring out Judah. From then on, it was a master performance by Mayweather that garnered his win by unanimous decision. His boxing IQ is at an outlier level and though he may have physically slowed down a bit, his IQ has not. I expect a similar slow start by Mayweather this fight around. Like Judah, Pacquiao has a 4 round window to put the hurt on Mayweather to cause a KO or even injure Mayweather enough to slow him down. The window for Pacquiao may actually be less than 4 rounds because Mayweather has been working with Judah as his sparring partner for this fight. I fully expect Pacquiao to come out the corner looking for that knockout in the first 3 rounds. There is a small chance that Pacquiao will land a decisive punch and silence all of Money’s entourage in those first three rounds. But more likely than not, Mayweather will use those three rounds to figure out Pacquiao and take this to 12 rounds for a split decision. I don’t expect Money to take down Pacquiao in less than 12 rounds because that would not make sense businesswise for Money as he is probably thinking about the purse of a potential rematch with Pacquiao. As much as I’d like to see Pacquiao win, I can’t go against the outlier… at least not until I see him regress closer to the mean.
Prediction: Mayweather wins by split decision
Reference: Faurie, C. and Raymond, M., 2005. Handedness, Homicide and Negative Frequency-Dependent Selection. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 272,25-28.
Juan Fco. Santillán
So it’s finally here. We are a day away from the ‘Rumble to get Humble’. Finally, Floyd will be defeated. That’s right, I’m going to be bold and put my money on Manny ‘Take-your-Money, Mayweahter-I’ll-Take-the-Win’ Pacquiao to win this match. Floyd will literally ‘roll with the punches’ as Manny gives it a go looking for a knock-out punch. He won’t get it, but I think he’ll put Floyd on the mat twice. Am I crazy? Maybe. But if anyone is ever going to take Floyd out, it’s this man and it will be tomorrow. Unless, of course, Oscar De la Hoya makes a comeback. How’s THAT for crazy?
Prediction: Pacman wins via split decision
The moment we have all been waiting for. I have been debating with friends and family for more than 5 years. It is finally here. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Financially speaking, this is the biggest fight of all time and it is this boxing generations fight to watch. Period. Quick recommendation to my hardcore boxing heads out there: Watch this shit at home! Away from bars, as we will see many non-fans all of a sudden become boxing experts. Watch this fight in your queen/king chair and enjoy!
Two fighters that Pacquiao has fought will let you know what Floyd needs to do to win: All four Marquez vs Pacquiao fights and both Pacquaio vs Bradley matches. These are the texts that show how boxers have outboxed Manny as well as made him miss, and exposed his vulnerabilities against pure boxers. Where was Pacman’s knockout power and killer instinct against Marquez (3rd and 4th fight in particular) and in both fights with Bradley? Remember how Bradley lifted Pacquiao off the ground with one punch? Imagine what Floyd, the Defensive oriented, technician boxer, with the highest IQ in boxing, can do to Manny Paquiao.
The first round will be a classroom round. Both fighters will feel each other out, with the last 30 seconds, as we have seen Manny in his last few fights, pick it up to try and take the round. He will take the first round, maybe the second and third as well. Classic Pacquiao to take early rounds and classic Floyd, to study and figure you out. The difference between these two is their ability to adjust. Pacquiao can make adjustments between fights (Learned from his KO defeat to Marquez to not lunge in and be vulnerable to the right) whereas Floyd can make adjustments DURING A FIGHT. This is key. Pacman kept getting smacked with rights, rights that eventually put him out cold against Marquez. Why didn’t he adjust? Because Pacman does not have that contextual ability as Floyd does. Period.
Middle rounds expect Floyd to set traps and do his classic lean, make Pacman miss, and counter him with a straight right. Using his ring generalship (call it running or dancing, this is real skill, unlike De La Hoya against Trinidad, now that was running!) to frustrate Pacquiao by making him miss and not settle in. Floyd will control the pace of the fight, which means he will be in control and not fatigue. In following Floyd’s pace, this will tire Pacquiao. By the 8th round, Floyd will be easily picking Pacquiao apart, working his way to an 11th round TKO victory.
Pacquiao has a small chance of winning. This is possible if he hurts Floyd at any moment of the fight. His power is an x-factor that can change things up. Also, Pacquiao can collect points by overwhelming Mayweather and not letting him get settled. This can disrupt Floyd’s pace and game plan. But, at age 36, and multiple wars in his career, I can only see Manny maintaining this kind of pace for 5 rounds max.
Floyd will make adjustments, control the pace and distance, and work his way to breaking Pacquiao down. Those rights by Floyd will prove to be the difference. Gorilla Productions, thanks for reinforcing my point with this video (See Gorilla Productions Home Page for Video).
Prediction: Floyd Mayweather wins by 11th round TKO