Photo by Will Hart/HBO
On Saturday, May 2, 2015, the entire boxing world will collectively hold their breath as Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) finally step into the ring to face one another.
The bout–which will be shown live on pay-per-view, co-produced and co-distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and SHOWTIME PPV–will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
After more than six years of ballyhoo, hype and ultimately failed negotiations, we finally get to see the biggest monetary boxing fight of all time play out in front of our eyes.
On paper, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is a 12-round welterweight world championship unification bout with Mayweather defending his WBC World welterweight title and WBA Super World welterweight title, while Pacquiao defends his WBO World Welterweight title.
But if you look past all of the records, belts and trash talk, you realize that the bout pits the two best fighters of their era in a clash of styles.
Will it be the legendary defense of Floyd Mayweather that frustrates his opponent and helps “Money” steal the show, or will Manny Pacquiao turn back the clock and unleash a ferocious offensive attack on his opponent with the fire of old?
With less than one week left, read on for Round By Round Boxing‘s staff and guest predictions for the mega bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Round By Round Boxing Staff Predictions - 2020
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Lou Catalano, Senior Writer
I’ve always seen this bout as a tale of two halves–the first half will feature Manny Pacquiao doing the usual–throwing a bunch of flurries from bizarre angles and flailing around like a buzz saw.
I think he’ll take at least four of the first six rounds, and we may even see Floyd go down once. As great as Mayweather is, I don’t think he truly understands what he’s getting into here–Pacquiao is unlike any other fighter he’s ever stepped in with, which is precisely why this fight is absolutely massive.
The problem for Pacquiao will be the second half of the fight, when Mayweather figures him out and starts timing him on the way in. He’ll pelt him with straight right hands, something Manny has always been susceptible to, and he’ll be gone before the Filipino singing legend gets the chance to reset. Still, this is going to be a close fight.
You may even see a draw. If that’s the case, expect every mainstream idiot to scream “THE FIX IS IN” and we’ll all cry because our sport will have once again shat itself on the biggest stage.
I’m picking Mayweather to eek out a razor-thin decision and then sob like a toddler whose favorite blanket just got taken away. Just another fight though…
Alex McLeish, Staff Writer
Floyd Mayweather obviously knows he can’t let Manny Pacquiao be the aggressor and push him backwards. That’s why he’s looking physically bigger than we’ve ever seen him.
Pacquiao also has a way of pushing opponents back with amazing footwork, which sets him up to throw punches from angles that fighters have never seen before.
To me, Manny is still the stronger fighter, and his hand and foot speed is equal to Floyd’s, which is why I think he’ll be able to be the aggressor for 12 rounds of this fight. Punch output will obviously be a major factor, and Pacquiao needs to be able to throw as many punches in Round 12 as he does in Round 2.
Unlike Marcos Maidana and Oscar De La Hoya, Manny has the endurance to go the entire fight without dying out.
I see Pacquiao winning rounds early, and Mayweather taking over late. I just don’t think Mayweather gets enough done in the last third of the fight to get the decision.
It took Floyd Mayweather 38 years of his life and 47 professional fights to stand in front of the toughest opponent of his life, and I’m not sure he’s got enough left in the tank to handle Manny Pacquiao.
Moises Linares, Telemundo Sports Reporter
The Fight of the Century might not actually live up to its hype if Floyd Mayweather decides to go defensive master on Manny Pacquiao. Nevertheless, after watching Marcos Maidana vs. Mayweather 1, we learned that “Money” can be hurt when pressured.
Pacquiao isn’t a chump and is by far superior to Robert Guerrero, Victor Ortiz, Marcos Maidana and Miguel Cotto. I expect to see Pacquiao hurt Mayweather like we’ve rarely seen.
Pac Man will need to make Mayweather fight by throwing a large number of punches each round. Mayweather won’t win this fight by simply counter punching a man that has equaled speed and can throw punches from different angles. Mayweather’s winning streak comes to an end with a close decision in favor of the Filipino star.
Sarah Gruber, Special Contributor
To date, Floyd Mayweather has proven himself unbeatable by anyone who has faced him in the ring. So can Manny Pacquiao dethrone the king of modern day boxing? Does he have what it takes to put the blemish on Mayweather’s 47-0 undefeated record?
As a highly decorated world boxing champion, you are given certain perks, like being able to select your possible opponents, venues and other deciding factors during the fight making process. No boxing champion on this earth is given more weight in the process of fight negotiations than “Money” Mayweather himself, and rightfully so.
Mayweather’s ability to draw crowds, sell pay-per-views and his unbeaten record are all incomparable. In the fight negotiation process, in order to make the fight with Pacquiao happen, Mayweather was the A side and thus was allowed all of his standard perks. Mayweather gets to hold the fight on his chosen turf of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on his selected date of May 2.
In this super fight, time and location will play a huge factor into Mayweather obtaining a victory over Pacquiao. In my opinion, it seems like an insurmountable task for Pacquiao to go into Las Vegas on “Cinco De Mayweather” weekend and uncrown the king of boxing in a place where Mayweather is so highly adorned.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, Mayweather’s side was given the benefit of approving the referee for the fight.
The referee selected is no nonsense referee, Kenny Bayless, who was recently in charge of the action during Marcos Maidana’s rematch and loss to Mayweather. The reason this selection was made by Mayweather and his camp is to avoid any bullying tactics that could be used by Manny Pacquiao.
Maidana gave Mayweather a great deal of trouble during their first fight by roughing Mayweather up during clinches, and wrestling him around when he was able to close the distance. This highly physical tactic interrupted Mayweather’s offensive timing, frustrated him and thus disrupted his typically smooth flowing defense.
Pacquiao is an awkward-style southpaw, but bullying is in no way his specialty, but just in case he does get the itch to use any dirty boxing, it should be quickly ceased with Bayless in control.
Neither Floyd nor Manny seems to hold much knockout power these days, so most will agree a knockout seems unlikely for this fight. I do believe, if given a fair shake, Pacquiao has the skill set to beat Mayweather. Unfortunately, I think all of the perks provided to Mayweather will give him the advantage needed to edge out a win over Pacquiao on the judges’ scorecards.
The very deep rooted cockiness and the sheer pride of Floyd Mayweather not wanting to lose should give boxing fans a primed, hungry and more alert version of “Money May” on fight night than they have ever seen. I think Manny Pacquiao will be very well prepared but could be over slightly over anxious for this fight and thus be less sharp than usual in early rounds, but Manny should return to his normal form as the fight continues.
I believe the best game plan for Pacquiao will be to throw flurries of speed driven combinations, then cut off the ring when Mayweather moves around in hopes to beat him to an opening and get his shots off first. This game plan, if used effectively by Pac, could possibly tire and frustrate Mayweather as the fight wears on, making Mayweather look less dominant than usual.
Ultimately, I think given the odds which have been stacked against him, the best outcome Pacquiao can obtain come May 2 is a draw. My prediction is Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao by decision.
Juan Carlos Burgos, Contributing Writer
The most anticipated fight of the last 10 years finally comes to fruition. In my estimation, Manny Pacquiao must get off to a fast start. Any time you have ever seen Floyd Mayweather the least bit vulnerable it has been early on in fights.
Pacquiao must apply constant pressure using his angles, speed and power to try and dent the defensive wizard. Less of an X’s and O’s analysis, I want to see Pacquiao have a healthy disrespect for Mayweather. In past fights Manny has had the ability to put his opponents away, but seems content to not close the show. Doing this against Floyd would be a massive mistake.
Pac MUST get off first in this fight and be true to what has gotten him to this point in his career. Be a force of nature, be a wrecking ball, be a storm… be Manny.
Floyd Mayweather is a fighter that rarely gets rattled. Make no mistake about it, Mayweather will never get out of character. Mayweather is going to counter, potshot and use his tremendous defense to create offensive opportunities and throw pinpoint combinations when the time is right.
I see a close competitive fight. Pacquiao will certainly have his moments, but I believe Floyd’s underrated toughness and overall defense AND offense will carry the day and win him a close decision.
Tony Calcara, Staff Writer
There’s a line from the movie Full Metal Jacket, “You talk the talk. Do you walk the walk?” In a mega-fight that sold out in 60 seconds, we’re holding our collective breath that they walk the walk on May 2.
After years of wrangling, failed negotiations and lawsuits, the biggest fight in decades is finally upon us. As I wrote in “Rating a Possible Superfight,” this matchup has captured the imaginations of not only the hard core and fringe boxing fan, its captured the non-sports world as well. It is the biggest showdown, in size and scope, since Ray Leonard met Marvin Hagler and Muhammad Ali faced Joe Frazier. It’s that big.
The undefeated Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) possesses tremendous skills, hand speed and defensive prowess. He has mastered the art of figuring out what his opponent has in the early stages of the fight. Then making the necessary adjustments and refining his timing, he simply breaks down his opponents and takes them apart. The results are tested and proven in his record. I look for him to think defense first, gauge what Manny Pacquiao is bringing to the table early on, make adjustments, and then look to take control of the pace, effectively employing his first-class counter punching will be critical.
Pacquaio (57-5-2, 38 KOs) possess hand speed of his own. He is a relentless attacker and likes to dictate the pace and the action of his fights. Pac Man, like Mayweather, comes in well prepared. His “wild card,” no pun intended, may be Freddie Roach. There is no better trainer currently in the sport. His love and passion for Manny drives them both to be as absolutely prepared, mentally and physically, as any fighter on the planet. If Pacquiao is going to have success, he must start fast and win some of the early rounds. He must have success early by pressing the action and dictating the pace. Mayweather is not accustomed to fighting from behind. If Pacman does have early success, he sets himself up to win in extraordinary fashion.
Where Mayweather has struggled, at times against Jose Luis Castillo, Miguel Cotto and Marcos Maidana in their first bout, is when he finds himself flat footed, toe to toe, and with is back against the ropes. His fights against Castillo still leave many screaming that he lost. Cotto bloodied him and Maidana almost ran him out of the ring in their first encounter. Standing flat footed and not using his legs is a one way ticket to a long night.
Without question, Pacquiao’s Achilles heel is the dreaded counter puncher. Opponents like Juan Manuel Marquez gave Pac Man fits. Who would have ever believed they would see Pacquiao face down and motionless in December of 2012? I’m also concerned that Pac has not had a knockout since stopping Cotto in November 2009. It’s been that long. For whatever the reason, the knockout punch has been missing from his arsenal for nearly six years.
My prediction is that, unless Floyd’s legs disappear and he cannot move like a stick stuck in the mud, he wins the fight. I expect first class counter punching, check hooks, and right hand leads picking off Pacquiao as he tries to attack. Great defense will win out against great offense. Mayweather’s brilliant defensive prowess, and his ability to make adjustments, will carry him to victory.
Lamont Roach Jr., Undefeated Lightweight, Golden Boy Promotions
Nick Arce, Undefeated Featherweight, Golden Boy Promotions
Mike Reed, Undefeated Welterweight, Top Rank, Inc.
I think that the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight will live up to the hype. I believe that it’ll be a back-and-forth fight with Pacquiao winning the early rounds and Floyd making his adjustments in the ring as always (winning the middle rounds).
I think Pacquiao’s experience of being in dog fights will give him the will to pull out the championship rounds.
I’m glad the fight finally happened because competition is the biggest reason I box. To me, what’s boxing if you aren’t fighting the best out there?
Kevin Rivers Jr., Undefeated Super Featherweight, Golden Boy Promotions
Floyd Mayweather will outbox Manny Pacquiao and win. If Pacquiao charges in too recklessly he might end up going to sleep like Ricky Hatton did.
Maweather wins, but, expect an exciting fight.
Brandon Glass, Contributing Writer
This fight boils down to whose footwork is going to be the sharpest on May 2.
Manny Pacquiao’s footwork allows him to dash in and out of range while simultaneously throwing hard punches. While I believe this to be his biggest advantage, I see it as his greatest weakness. The power of his punches is what allows him to employ his footwork this way, instead of moving laterally, like most boxers, because this usually backs his opponents up. It’s also his greatest weakness because his opponents rarely see how off balance he is as they are usually blinded by his blistering hand speed and combinations.
Floyd Mayweather’s footwork is orthodox in nature by using lateral movement to circle his opponent, keeping them in the middle of the ring. His speed, reflexes, and his accurate punching demonstrates a masterful application of ring generalship.
What we’re going to find out: Are Mayweather’s speed and reflexes still sharp enough to avoid and counter Pacquiao while he’s dashing in or out?
Mayweather seems to have a blind spot for left hands, whether it was Cotto’s jab or Judah’s straight left. It figures that would be the obvious punch to look for from Pacquiao, but I think the right hook is the key to Pacquiao winning by KO.
The way he sets this punch up with a leading straight left to blind stationary opponents, then shifting his weight to bring the right hook across and sometimes behind the opponent’s guard is devastating. They never see it coming most times. This could actually penetrate the seamless shoulder roll defense Mayweather has perfected.
It might also be used as a lead punch to counter Mayweather’s jab (like Floyd’s own use of the check hook) as he moves behind this punch when not leading with the signature straight right. If this lands often, it could lead to an early night. Especially, if Mayweather over extends on his punches or lays against the ropes or in the corner–as he’s done so frequently with lesser opposition.
Mayweather’s straight right is obviously his signature punch, but it’s his severely overlooked ability to work the body that I think will prove to be the most important tactic in this fight. Mayweather’s jab to the body was crucial in dismantling Diego Corrales during their 130 pound title fight. Mayweatber working the body and using that hard left jab, will help to stunt Pacquiao’s dashing technique, while also wearing him down for the later rounds.
If Mayweather’s on his game–as I believe he will be–he will take advantage of Pacquiao’s dash technique, which often leaves him off balance and completely open to counters. Juan Manuel Marquez has demonstrated this technique many times in his four fights with Pac Man. Pacquiao has also never seen a right hand he hasn’t eaten, so I expect Floyd’s reach speed and reflexes help him to exploit Pacquiao’s off-balance flurries and may even lead to a nap for the Filipino congressman.
Photo by Will Hart/HBO
Zuri Lopez, Contributing Writer
The Fight of the Century, the one we have all been waiting for, is finally here. I still find it hard to believe it is taking place, but once the bell rings, it’ll finally sink in.
I see Manny Pacquiao starting off very strong from the moment the bell rings. He’ll be aggressive in hopes of hunting Floyd Mayweather down. It’ll be interesting to see how Mayweather reacts to Pacquiao’s speed, and to his southpaw stance.
I see Mayweather boxing the whole night, and I don’t think he’ll be doing any major adjustments. I really hope this fight will live up to all the chaos it has created, because I definitely want to see some action, along with everyone else.
Pacquiao will be using his speed and footwork, and will be on Mayweather’s case all night. I think he will come to put pressure on Floyd and will back him up to the ropes as much as he can.
But, as we all know, Floyd can literally adapt to any style, so I don’t think he’ll have much trouble adapting to Pacquiao’s.
Tevin Farmer, Super Featherweight Contender, DiBella Entertainment
I’m definitely going with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I think he’s much strong, faster and smarter than Manny Pacquiao. I give Pac Man four rounds and Mayweather eight.
Pac has shown that he can be beat, but Mayweather doesn’t know how to lose yet.
Even though Mayweather is older, I still think that in the ring he’s much younger than Pacquiao.
Omar Martinez, Photographer
Manny Pacquiao by 12-round decision.
Art Hernandez, Photographer
Floyd Mayweather via split decision.
Mykal Fox, Undefeated Lightweight
Floyd Mayweather wins because of effective counter punching. Mayweather will take advantage of the fact that Manny Pacquiao flies in with his hands down like a day one fighter.
Pacquiao is a sucker for a right hand.
Dusty Hernandez-Harrison, Undefeated Welterweight, Roc Nation Sports
Floyd Mayweather wins a “boring” decision over Manny Pacquiao, 116-112. After the fight, Freddie Roach says, “Manny came to a fight not a track meet.”
Vinny Paz, 5x World Champion
It’s going to be impossible for Manny Pacquiao to beat Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather in 12 rounds or less.
Gabe Rivas, Senior Analyst/Managing Editor
Part of the intrigue of the unification fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is not only that both fighters are multi-division champions whose place in the Hall of Fame are already safely secured, but also the fact that their styles can mesh very well.
Mayweather is the counter puncher par excellence. His counter right hand is second to none and his shoulder roll defense is often imitated, but never mastered the way he has.
Pacquiao is an offensive phenom. To go from Flyweight all the way to nearly stopping an albeit past-his-prime Jr. Middleweight in Antonio Margarito–and to even look at the referee for mercy–is scary. He also destroyed Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya with similar ease.
However, and this is probably on the minds of many who are going with Mayweather, Pacquiao has not looked the same since being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez. Also, Pacquiao has been in several wars and one wonders how much gas will be left in the tank against Mayweather, who has remained undefeated without taking a lot of punishment.
Even if the fight had happened in 2010, I might have still given a slight lead to Mayweather, whose size and reach advantages would have still played a role against the face-first approach of the Filipino icon. I can imagine Mayweather landing counter right hands much easier than I can imagine him being knocked down or out.
So, I’m picking Mayweather (seven rounds to five), but with one caveat: anything can happen.
There are several possibilities in the fight: Mayweather could make it boring and win on the outside; he could also start early and even back Pacquiao up in the later rounds; hell, we may even see a knockdown of Mayweather himself or even a stoppage.
Still, the safest bet is a decision win by the undefeated Welterweight and Junior Middleweight champion of the world.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
I’m relieved that we’re only a few days away from Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao actually stepping into the ring. Many folks thought this day would never come, but here we are, on the verge of seeing two all-time greats tangle.
To make thing interesting–and competitive–Pac Man has to come out aggressive from the opening bell and trust his attacking instincts. He can’t let Mayweather turn this into a thinking match. If Pacquiao shows any sign of hesitation, he’ll have fallen into the trap of trying to land the perfect shot all while Mayweather racks up points–and rounds.
The first five rounds will be critical. Pacquiao must make Mayweather work, push him back and fire from different angles. I think he’ll have some success early in the fight, but as Mayweather settles in, he’ll start to outbox Pacquiao.
From what we know about both men, I have to think that Mayweather will be able to adjust to any early issues he may have with Pacquiao’s speed and angles, and separate himself in the second half of the fight. I don’t think this will be a snoozer by any stretch of the imagination, but I also don’t think we’ll see a multiple knockdown classic.
Lastly, we have to address the magnitude of this fight and whether or not people will be let down. The only way this fight can live up to the hype is if Mayweather gets knocked out and his lifeless body gets carried away to heaven by doves. And that’s just not going to happen.