“My head is for Mayweather but my corazon (points to his heart) is with Pacquiao.” That line is not from a crazed fan or a Filipino but from Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Oscar Dela Hoya. HBO is known for producing the famous 24/7 series before each mega fight following the drama of rival training camps. This time they decided to forego that and went with ‘The Legends Speak’ interviewing the people who know both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao best: the five men who have stepped into the ring with both of them. All of them have more than made their mark in the sport of boxing: Oscar Dela Hoya was interviewed together with Shane Mosley and individually: Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. Additional panel interviews were made with George Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Bernard Hopkins in the same feature.
Pundits can analyze all they want but no one has a more credible take than members of the elite fraternity of fighters, especially those who stepped into the ring with Pacquiao and Mayweather. Not surprisingly George Foreman was the only one to predict a Pacquiao win. Foreman as a fighter had that similar powerful punches aggressively going for KOs like Pacquiao, which he believed would overpower Mayweather.
They called it all 4 previous opponents chose Mayweather (Cotto abstained) including the most accurate description of Dela Hoya above. That’s essentially what happened. The consensus was if Mayweather’s style was imposed it would be boring and a more calculated fight. Floyd’s style of backpedalling and throwing the occasional counterpunch doesn’t inspire excitement. He throws punches not to hurt his opponent but more to outscore them.
IF Pacquiao’s style was imposed, if he were to win, there would have to be at least one knockdown. This usually happens from a barrage of punches that end up destroying and finishing his opponents.
Quality NOT Quantity
Mayweather stole the first round with his jabs but even then he was already clinching when cornered. In boxing fighters clinch or hang on to their opponents for several reasons. Foremost as a defensive move to immediately stop the other fighter from throwing punches. Its also used to rest, it allows both fighters to stop giving and taking punches AND even moving around.
In spite of the elite level of fitness, Mayweather was actually clinching throughout starting from the opening round. So that’s also an indication that Pacquiao’s punches were doing damage that early. I gave 2nd and 3rd rounds to Manny by virtue of the harder/ heavier punches landed not the quantity AND Floyd’s clinching.
4th & 6th rounds to me were very obviously in favor of Pacquiao. Floyd actually turtled up meaning he was covering his head & body with gloves to block MP’s punches. Floyd turtled up at least twice in each round. This would mean that MP threw at least 5-6 punch combinations (even more). Assuming they were blocked on the head at least 2 or 3 of them landed flush in the body, which SHOULD be counted as points.
In my eyes, they alternated in taking rounds. Mayweather would score from clear counters. Sometimes Mayweather would score a rare lead left hook. Pacquiao would take rounds from stronger punches and left right hook combinations. As evidence of the greater damage caused Mayweather’s lip was bleeding by the 7th round. Pacquiao’s face was clear of any swelling or cuts even after the 12th round.
In spite of all the criticisms, I feel Manny did what he was supposed to. He used his jab, landed to the body and thrown a lot of combos. He was also able to use his footwork and dart in and out, although Floyd was sometimes able to negate this with head movement and CLINCHING. There were at least 4 times in separate rounds when Floyd was visibly hurt, staggered by punches.
At no time did any of Floyd’s punches visibly affect Manny. There’s no doubt Floyd landed more punches. There’s also no doubt that Pacquiao’s fewer punches caused MORE damage. That’s why on my own scorecard I actually had it in favor of Manny 7 rounds to 5: 115-113. Shane Mosley scored the fight the same way I did in favor of Pacquiao. Evander Holyfield, another heavyweight great echoed my scoring from a PDI article.
The official judges, however, saw it differently all in favor of Mayweather. Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements gave Pacquiao 4 rounds 116-112 while Dave Moretti had a very unrealistic 118-110. Even father and coach Floyd Mayweather Sr. thought the fight was closer, “I told Floyd he needed to do a lot more because we know some judges are crooks.” in an article from PDI front page.
The judging / scorecards is not really all that surprising. Boxing is a sport where someone like Mayweather could backpedal for 12 rounds, throw a few counter punches, hardly damaging his opponents and STILL win the fight.
The argument that he landed more punches is there. But clearly Mayweather came out more damaged from Pacquiao’s fewer punches landed. It’s also clear that Pacquiao threw more punches and was far more aggressive.
Boxing’s Demise: MMA’s Rise
Dana White was very much into boxing way before he took over the UFC, currently the most successful MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) organization. By instituting and modifying the judging system and rules he was able to think of ways that rectified what’s wrong with boxing, which turns off fans. Mayweather is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the sport. His style of not engaging his opponent, running away more than attacking doesn’t excite fans. What was supposed to be the Fight of the Century became a cat and mouse game.
Some changes are clearly seen; the smaller gloves make for harder punches. Fight analysts have attributed the higher KO rates in the UFC to this. Fewer rounds (5 mins long) compress the action and increases pace. 3 rounds are typical with 5 for main cards and championship fights.
More important than these are the modifications to the scoring and judging system. ‘Octagon control’ is taken into account. One of the ways of defining Octagon control is ‘Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike’. The rules also state: ‘Fighting area control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout.’ Essentially, White and the UFC created a system where backpedaling or running away from your opponent is discouraged.
The effect is there are far more exciting fights in the UFC where fighters face each other and engage. There are more knockouts; there are also submissions, which is also the equivalent of stoppages…all within 15 minutes.
The success and growth of the UFC has been astronomical with teams and TUF houses in Brazil, Canada, Australia and even China. In fact UFC 186 with Faber vs Edgar and Pinoy UFC fighter Mark Muñoz (vs Barnatt) will be on May 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fight of the Century between Pacquiao and Mayweather while earning record numbers in pay per view, ticket sales, disappointed fight fans. How exciting is it to watch a fighter use his footwork, bob and weave to elude punches? When Floyd did manage to land punches he hardly hurt MP. The supreme irony is that Floyd won the fight, preserved his unblemished record and yet people hate him now more than ever.
Throughout the weigh ins, the walk out and even AFTER the fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. was booed by fans. Oscar Dela Hoya wasn’t only speaking for himself or Filipinos but all fans around the world when he said, “My Corazon is with Pacquiao.”
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