Boxing


Floyd Mayweather Jr. & Manny Pacquiao: 5 Common Opponents!

by Geoffrey Ciani - With Floyd Mayweather’s unanimous decision victory against Miguel Cotto this past weekend, that makes five common opponents who Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have both faced and defeated. This marks a total of a dozen fights. What, if anything, do these twelve contests tell us about a potential match-up between Pacquiao and Mayweather? Let’s take a look and examine the facts.

Common Opponent #1: Oscar De La Hoya

Floyd Mayweather Junior
DATE: May 5, 2007
RESULT: WIN SD (116-112, 115-113, 113-115)
WEIGHT: 154 pounds

Manny Pacquiao
DATE: December 6, 2008
RESULT: WIN RTD8 (80-71, 80-71, 79-72)
WEIGHT: 147 pounds

Obviously in this instance Pacquiao clearly put on the better performance. He dominated Oscar from start to finish, and this was an amazing feat considering Pacquiao had just one fight at the 135 pound limit before skipping over 140 to meet Oscar at 147. At the same time, Oscar had to compromise and go down in weight. He had not fought at the welterweight limit for close to eight years. Even if De La Hoya was weight drained and malnourished, however, Pacquiao still made a statement, if for no other reason than overcoming the gargantuan size advantage enjoyed by De La Hoya. In many ways, this represented a passing of the torch from one mega star to the next.

While Pacquiao’s victory overshadows Floyd’s when it comes to De La Hoya, Mayweather deserves his fair share of credit as well. His fight with De La Hoya remains the biggest seller in history and Floyd himself had to come up in weight to face Oscar, venturing north to 154 for the first time in his career. De La Hoya had some success in the first half of the fight using his jab and attempting to apply pressure, but Floyd’s superior conditioning and technique enabled him to easily outpoint Oscar in the latter half of the contest. Some fans inexplicably clamored for a rematch but fortunately it never happened.

The edge here goes to Pacquiao, but I don’t think either of these fights tells us much of anything about a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

Common Opponent #2: Ricky Hatton

Floyd Mayweather Junior
DATE: December 8, 2007
RESULT: WIN TKO10 (88-82, 89-81, 89-81)
WEIGHT: 147 pounds

Manny Pacquiao
DATE: May 2, 2009
RESULT: WIN KO2 (10-7, 10-7, 10-7)
WEIGHT: 140 pounds

Pacquiao still had his fair share of doubters following the De La Hoya win. After all, the generally held hindsight perspective was that Oscar was weight drained, weak, old, and “shot”. Ricky Hatton represented Pacquiao’s first true test since he moved up from 130. Or did it? Hatton pressured Pacquiao recklessly, was countered with a slew of right hooks, got dropped twice in the first round, and was ultimately finished off in brutal fashion following a lethal looking straight left that landed flush on the button. Hatton was out! It was a surreal and shocking ending that left a lasting impression on boxing fans.

Mayweather’s victory over Hatton was impressive and one-sided, but was a bit more of a measured effort that lacked the explosive dramatics of Pacquiao’s early knockout. So once again, Pacquiao gets the edge but I’m not sure it means much in the grand scheme of things.

Common Opponent #3: Miguel Cotto

Floyd Mayweather Junior
DATE: May 5, 2012
RESULT: WIN UD (118-110, 117-111, 117-111)
WEIGHT: 154 pounds

Manny Pacquiao
DATE: November 14, 2009
RESULT: WIN TKO12 (109-99, 108-99, 108-110)
WEIGHT: 145 pounds

Pacquiao’s victory over Cotto might still remain his most impressive to date. This was the fight where fans were finally sold on the fact he could compete with the big boys. He took many a flush shot throughout the contest and dropped Cotto a couple of times with power shots fired from awkward angles. Cotto was in full retreat mode by the midway point just trying to survive, and he was ultimately stopped in the final round. Critics claim that Pacquiao forced Cotto to come down too far in weight, making him compete below his comfort zone (to meet at the contractual limit of 145). Others downplay the significance of the two pound difference stating that Cotto weighed just a single pound more in his previous encounter against Joshua Clottey. Regardless of one’s stance, this was by far perceived as the toughest test Pacquiao had had to date.

Mayweather’s recent victory over Cotto appeared a tad more difficult at times. Mayweather was uncharacteristically bloodied up, and Miguel managed to tag Floyd a bit more often than we’re accustomed to seeing. At the end of the day, the difference in class prevailed, and Mayweather’s superior pedigree enabled him to win a lopsided points victory. It was a fight where many of the rounds were competitive, but Floyd was still clearly doing enough to win them. Some speculate that Mayweather let Cotto into the fight to give the fans their money’s worth in a more crowd-pleasing affair. Others maintain that Cotto simply provided stylistic issues for Floyd. Whatever the case may be, Floyd still won and won comfortably.

Yet again the edge goes to Pacquiao and yet again, does it really mean much when considering a theoretical clash between Pacquiao and Mayweather? I am inclined to say no.

Common Opponent #4: Shane Mosley

Floyd Mayweather Junior
DATE: May 1, 2010
RESULT: WIN UD (119-109, 118-110, 119-109)
WEIGHT: 147 pounds

Manny Pacquiao
DATE: May 7, 2011
RESULT: WIN UD (109-99, 108-99, 108-110)
WEIGHT: 147 pounds

For all intent and purposes this one is essentially a wash. Pacquiao and Mayweather both thoroughly outclassed Mosley without much difficulty. On one hand Floyd had the scare in round two where Mosley had him in some trouble compliments of two big right hands. Additionally you could also point out that Pacquiao managed to drop Mosley, whereas Floyd could not. On the other hand Floyd overcame adversity and persevered showing a new dimension of his game that was never before on display. Mayweather also faced Mosley at a time when Shane was perceived as a far greater threat, this following his one-sided destruction of Antonio Margarito. Of course Shane also had a rather lengthy layoff coming in, but nonetheless he was still regarded as an elite fighter when Mayweather faced him, and not so much when Pacquiao fought him, which followed his draw with Sergio Mora.

I suppose you could maybe give a slight edge here to Mayweather, but looking back now the reality is Mosley appears to have been a fighter in decline, and this showed once again in his brave losing effort when he was thoroughly outmatched by 21 year old Saul Alvarez on Saturday.

Common Opponent #5: Juan Manuel Marquez

Floyd Mayweather Junior
DATE: September 19, 2009
RESULT: WIN UD (120-107, 119-108, 118-109)
WEIGHT: 144* pounds

Manny Pacquiao 1
DATE: May 8, 2004
RESULT: DRAW (115-110, 113-113, 110-115)
WEIGHT: 126 pounds

Manny Pacquiao 2
DATE: March 15, 2008
RESULT: WIN SD (112-115, 115-112, 114-113)
WEIGHT: 130 pounds

Manny Pacquiao 3
DATE: November 12, 2011
RESULT: WIN MD (115-113, 114-114, 116-112)
WEIGHT: 144 pounds

Pacquiao and Marquez fought three times, and three times they produced incredibly close contests that could have gone either way. Officially Pacquiao earned a majority decision most recently, a split decision before that, and of course their first fight ended in a draw after Marquez rebounded from three first round knockdowns. (Incidentally, I scored the first one for Pacquiao 113-112, the second for Marquez 114-113, and the third a draw 114 apiece). This was one of the greatest trilogies in the rich history of boxing, where each and every chapter was super competitive and highly entertaining. This comes in stark contrast to Floyd’s virtual shutout victory in which Marquez was never really even in the fight.

Of all the common opponents Pacquiao and Mayweather have had, Marquez poses the most interesting case in my opinion. When you look at the others—Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, and Oscar De La Hoya—none of those four boxers fight anything like Mayweather or Pacquiao. Mayweather and Marquez, however, have some noticeable similarities in style. Both are exceptional counterpunchers with tremendous defensive abilities and exceptionally high ring IQs. Since Pacquiao has effectively battled Marquez to a stalemate after 36 rounds of action, it is interesting to note that the one clear advantage Floyd holds over Pacquiao when it comes to common opponents also happens to be the one opponent whose style most closely resembles Floyd’s.

Does this mean that Mayweather should be favored because another smart defensive fighter who counter-punched and gave Pacquiao so many issues? I do not believe so. The fact of the matter is, Mayweather and Marquez go about the art of defense through vastly different approaches. Even their counter-punching techniques differ a great deal to the point where any attempted comparisons essentially become null and void. Beyond that, because Marquez was able to endure Pacquiao’s power shots, blazing speed, and relentless pressure does not necessarily mean Floyd will automatically be able to do so, too.

We can speculate all we want, but unless Pacquiao and Mayweather actually square off we will never know exactly how these two unique and interesting styles will clash together. Any and all comparisons among common opponents are essentially meaningless, rendering this entire article virtually worthless (but hopefully at least somewhat interesting).

Unless these two mega stars get in the ring and fight we will never know the truth, and unfortunately for boxing fans, these two icons are both in a financial situation where neither one much needs the other, and to date neither seems to care much about the fans—who have enabled them to live their luxurious high profile lifestyles—by proactively putting forth the effort to make it happen! If Pacquiao can take care of business on June 9 against Timothy Bradley (which is not a given as far as I am concerned), let us hope these two pugilists can push the egos aside and do the right thing for the loyal fans of this great sport. Wishful thinking on my part? Perhaps so, but time shall tell.

I still think it’s a pick’em fight, and one that I still have an interest in seeing. But then again, perhaps boxing trainer Nazim Richard was on to something when on a recent edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio he suggested, “If it (Pacquiao-Mayweather) ain’t better than Hagler-Hearns it’s a letdown to me. I got to wait six years to see two dudes fight and I get a chess match? You can keep that!”

***

Article posted on 08.05.2012



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