MayPac | Head-to-Head Comparison of 5 Common Opponents Preview

Mayweather Pacquiao - John Garita
Photo edit by John Garita/RBRBoxing

We know this much: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will finally touch gloves on May 2, marking the culmination of an incredibly long journey around and toward each other.

Fans have been calling for this fight for five years. For over half a decade, pundits have debated about who would have the advantages, and who would ultimately come out on top. We’ll finally be able to throw the debates aside and watch the real thing unfold in just under a week.

Until then, we can only hypothesize what will happen. By now you’ve already probably read several predictions, previews, breakdowns and tales of the tape. The hyperbole has kicked into high gear. You’ve no doubt read about Floyd beating a polar bear to death in training camp, only to get knocked out and left comatose by Zab Judah the following day.

Manny Pacquiao has had such severe cramps that his left calf muscle reportedly exploded during a quiet jog one morning, but he promptly returned to camp and flattened seven guys with one right hook. To expedite the healing process in his legs, he uses a salve made of children’s tears and holy water. It costs $11,000 dollars a tube and it’s illegal in most countries.

Suffice to say, by the time the fight starts, we’ll be so tired of talking about it that even the sight of Justin Bieber won’t sicken us, because we’ll know it’s time to roll. But until then, all we’ve got is the hype. But rather than break down Manny’s head size and Floyd’s punching power, we’re going to take a look back at the five common opponents these two have faced, to see if there’s anything there that we can take away.

All five opponents will eventually be in the Hall Of Fame. Floyd’s record against them is 5-0 with one knockout, while Pacquiao’s is 6-1-1, with three knockouts and one knockout loss. Let’s break them down, starting with the Golden Boy himself.

1. Floyd Mayweather
Oscar De La Hoya
154 lbs – May 5, 2007
Result: Mayweather by Split Decision

Floyd Mayweather Oscar De La Hoya - Al Bello Getty Images
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather took on the villain role in his 2005 fight with Arturo Gatti, and he showed that he could play the heel exceptionally well. It was no different with Oscar De La Hoya, who was easily the biggest pay-per-view attraction in boxing for years. It was a battle of the best fighter in the sport against the most popular.

Mayweather came into the fight as the lineal 147 pound champion after schooling Carlos Baldomir and simultaneously putting about 10,000 fans to sleep in the process. He was the clear “B” side, so he agreed to move up in weight to De La Hoya’s realm, the Junior Middleweight division.

De La Hoya had long been a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, but was clearly on the decline going into the fight. He was just 2-2 in his last four before Mayweather and many people could argue that one of the wins, against Felix Sturm, was an absolute gift decision.

Still, boxing analysts argued that Oscar’s punching power and size advantage would give him the edge over Floyd. They appeared to be right, at least for a few rounds. De La Hoya used his fantastic jab brilliantly in the first half of the fight, keeping Mayweather at the end of it and then firing away when he got his man trapped in the corners.

But eventually, Floyd’s combinations and movement flummoxed Oscar and he pulled away with a tight decision victory. Mayweather sobbed openly after the fight, and the win catapulted him to his own pay-per-view successes.

Manny Pacquiao
Oscar De La Hoya
147 lbs – December 6, 2008
Result: Pacquiao by RTD Round 8

Oscar De La Hoya Manny Pacquiao Ethan Miller Getty Images North America
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Manny Pacquiao had fought twice in 2008, going through hell and squeaking out a razor-thin decision over nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez at 130 pounds, and then jumping to 135 and beating the living piss out of David Diaz.

After that, Larry Merchant suggested the idea that boxing’s best fighter (Mayweather was in the midst of retirement) should take on its most popular. De La Hoya was looking to fight Miguel Cotto, but Cotto was stopped by Antonio Margarito, opening the door for Pacquiao to step in.

Pacquiao had to jump two weight classes to do so. To be clear, he started the year as a Super Featherweight and ended it as a Welterweight. De La Hoya agreed to come down to Welterweight. He shocked many observers by being already at the 147-pound limit weeks before the fight.

He was actually two pounds under the limit at the official weigh in. Many people questioned whether or not Oscar had overtrained. It turned out that it wouldn’t matter much. De La Hoya was taking on an absolute machine in the prime of his career. While Oscar looked like he was fighting in waist-high mud, Manny bounced merrily all over the ring, landing damn-near every single punch he threw.

And he threw a whole lot of them. Oscar’s face was reddened and swelling even after the first round, and it only went south from there. Even De La Hoya’s trainer Nacho Beristain, the brilliant coach who helped Juan Manuel Marquez become Manny’s toughest foe, seemed in awe. Pacquiao, who was a severe underdog for the fight, absolutely destroyed De La Hoya and ended his illustrious career.

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