Chin Check: Pacquiao, Mayweather and Berto

By Jason Bey: In order to be a great fighter there are certain attributes that a fighter has to have. Some fighters are considered great boxers and others may not possess the skill to box as well as others, yet they have power or speed or a combination of both. However one thing is for sure, in order to obtain greatness in the brutal sport of boxing, one must have a good chin. If we take a look at the ever evolving 140 - 147lb. divisions there are several dimensions to the welterweight royalty, but let’s check their chins.

Let’s start with World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. Moving up to the welterweight division seems to have benefited the Pacman in more ways than just monetary. Manny‘s chin has more than stood up to the test thus far in his welterweight campaign, in fact it is safe to say his chin is better than ever. His famous trainer, Freddie Roach had counted on the fact that not having to make weight (135lbs.) the day before the fight, and then rehydrate back up to Manny’s fighting weight of 145lbs. in 24 hrs. would do wonders for Pacquiao’s durability.

Instead Manny is able to eat as much as he wants. In fact it was revealed on HBO’s 24/7 that his physical trainer Alex Ariza had trouble getting him to consume all of 7,000 calories per day in training camp. As a result, Pacquiao has shown obvious improvement in speed, power, stamina and all around ferociousness. Never the guy to avoid exchanges in the center of the ring or anywhere in the ring for that matter, it has been Pacquiao who has walked through the punches of his larger opponents. To be honest, the last time I’ve seen Manny Pacquiao wobbled was way back in 2008 at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez when Manny was a lightweight.

Next up is Manny’s nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr. Floyd has a very good chin as well. In my opinion his chin is sometimes overlooked due to his legendary defensive skills. His signature shoulder roll and extraordinary reflexes have made it extremley difficult for Floyd’s opponents to land too many power shots. The compu-box numbers at the end of a Floyd Mayweather fight tell the story all by themselves. The guy is dam near impossible to find in the ring. Yet ironically when his opponents do land, Floyd has displayed the true heart of a champion. 34-year-old Mayweather has never been down on the canvas in his 40 fights as an undefeated professional.

Last year Shane Mosley connected early in the second round in their mega fight. Floyd was stunned momentarily, but Shane was unable to capitalize, and Floyd actually pushed forward instead of retreating despite being rocked. Shane was coming off his stunning knockout of Antonio Margarito and many suspected Shane’s power would be too much for Floyd to withstand. When Floyd actually stood toe-to-toe with Mosley throughout the entire fight and consistently backed down the#1 ranked power puncher, the gifted boxer had the respect of the boxing public.

Budding Haitian superstar, World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion Andre Berto is the #3 welterweight in the world right in line behind Manny and Floyd. Berto’s youth(23yrs.) is both a gift and a curse. His over all youthful strength and explosiveness has most likely made him a strategically avoided champion, which enables Berto’s naysayers to label him untested. However, I beg to differ due to the slugfests Berto has engaged in with several hard hitting power punchers including Juan Urango, David Estrada and former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo.

Berto is not as hittable as Manny but a lot more hittable than Mayweather. His aggressive gladiator style is fun to watch and it is obvious that Berto is a risk taker. The young champion has proven he can take punishment as well as dish it out, and he has definitely been rocked on several occasions, but has shown a lot of fortitude in the process. The young Haitian has managed to dig deep every time adversity has emerged to test his chin. While some people have called for Berto to tighten up his defense before taking on bigger challenges such as Pacquiao, I don’t see Berto changing his offensive minded style any time soon. With 21 knockouts in 27 victories, why should he?

Article posted on 30.12.2010

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