Well, it’s official. We got it. Signed, sealed, delivered.
Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) – two of the greatest boxers to ever put on gloves – will square off at the MGM Grand on May 2.
Boxing fans – and sports fan in general – have been clamoring for this fight for seemingly the last decade. While many people are happy it’s finally going to happen, an unsatisfied taste remains for others.
This fight is happening five years too late, they say.
Mayweather, still unbeaten, is 37. Pacquiao, who dropped a pair of fights in 2012 to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, is 36.
“I actually think there’s a lot less between the two of them,” pro boxer and analyst Paulie Malignaggi said of Mayweather and Pacquiao on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I personally think there’s guys out there that will beat them. But at the same time, they’ve still shown themselves to be very high-level competitors. They’ve got world championships. Both of them hold world championships. They both still continue to win at a high level. So having said that, this is still a very, very good fight.
“Now, the five-years-too-late argument, hey man, sometimes things happen,” Malignaggi continued. “Negotiating a boxing match or a paid combat event is not like scheduling a fight after school with the neighborhood bully. It’s far more complicated than that. So sometimes things get in the way.”
While neither fighter is still in the prime of his prime, there’s a sense that Pacquiao has slipped even more than Mayweather in recent years.
Is that fair?
“If you really look at their recent opposition, I think Floyd Mayweather’s opposition is easily better than Manny Pacquiao’s opposition,” Malignaggi said. “Nothing against Chris Algieri or Brandon Rios or Tim Bradley. Tim Bradley’s got a pretty good resume. Brandon Rios (and) Chris Algieri . . . are good fighters in their own right, but nonetheless, if Floyd Mayweather had chosen to fight those opponents, they would have totally disintegrated in the media. Mayweather, I think, has actually chosen the tougher, stronger opponents. (Marcos) Maidana is a very tough fighter. Canelo Alvarez keeps showing us how good he is.
“They’ve both got strengths and weaknesses in their own right, Mayweather and Pacquiao do. But to compare the opposition in that way – it’s obviously a matter of opinion, but I believe Mayweather’s opposition has clearly been better.”
Either way, this fight will feature two contrasting styles: Pacquiao’s offensive attack versus Mayweather’s defensive approach.
“A lot of times, it puts guys on their heels because he’s so offensive and he’s getting off those rapid-fire, power combinations,” Malignaggi said of Pacquiao’s style. “Having said that, when you’re up against a fighter who’s as intelligent as Floyd Mayweather, he sets traps for that kind of over-aggression. So I think Pacquiao’s aggression has to be kind of controlled and tapered off.”
That said, Malignaggi believes Pacquaio has to be aggressive early. Mayweather, Malignaggi said, likes to spend the first two or three rounds getting an opponent’s timing down. Once he does that, he’s able to disarm his opponent and break him down.
Pacquiao can’t let that happen. He’s got to tag Mayweather early – and hard.
Malignaggi, however, isn’t sure that he will.
“I’ve said it for five years: Floyd Mayweather wins this fight, and I still stick by that,” he said. “I still agree with that. I just think he’s got too varied of an arsenal. At the end of the day, all fighters do certain things very well. Great fighters have certain things they do very well. I think Floyd Mayweather does more things very well than does Manny Pacquiao. Manny Pacquiao does a handful of things very well, and he’s able to force the fights into going into the direction where he’s going to be able to use those things that he (does) very well.
“Mayweather is the opposite,” Malignaggi continued. “He does a lot of things very well, but one of the things he does very well is taking away what you do well. So once he takes away what you do well, he’s going to start doing what he does very well. At the end of the day, once he disarms you, you may end up with a boring fight. You may end up with a one-sided fight. That’s where Pacquiao has to come in and not allow that to happen.”