“You can’t find anything better than boxing because of the trials and errors, the ups and downs, the struggle when you get knocked down to get back up. Use it symbolically and interchangeably for life.” DON KING
By Alex P. Vidal
BASED on what we observed during the face-to-face meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on March 11, we can conclude that both fighters are in excellent shape.
With six weeks to go before the richest showdown ever in the history of prizefighting, both Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) and Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) appeared to be ready even if the duel will happen next week.
We don’t want to spoil the excitement of boxing fans eager to witness a donnybrook when the fight of the century unveils on May 2 in Las Vegas, but we don’t see neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao winning by a one-punch knockout.
Should there be a knockout in the 12-round world welterweight duel, it would be the result of an accumulation of punches or a volume of “finishing touches” where the referee is obliged to terminate the bout to save the crestfallen.
Owing to his higher KO percentage of 59.38 percent, Pacquiao has the upper hand if flamboyant Mayweather, who tots a 55.32 percent KO percentage, elects to engage the Filipino phenom in a toe-to-toe brawl in the first three stanzas.
Fight fans all over the world are so familiar with the styles of both fighters.
They fear that in order to save his ass, Mayweather might use the ropes and the clock to avoid a bloody brawl and to just leave his fate on the judges’ scorecards.
Intelligent fans are also aware that bull-strong Pacquiao will go for the kill in the early rounds as he is wont to do against high caliber rivals in the past like Ricky Hatton (KO2), Erik Morales (rematch KO3) and David Diaz (TKO9).
With all the sportswriters writing voluminous stories about Pacquiao and Mayweather these past weeks, fans almost have memorized even their childhood hobbies and how they treat their respective families when there are no cameras on.
A one-punch knockout victory for any of the protagonists can only happen by accident, which is a remote possibility given the solid reputation they both possess as world class fighters.
The closest that we can compare the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is with the epic war between Marvelous Marvin Hagler (62-3-2, 52 KOs) and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns (61-5-1, 48 KOs) for the WBC middleweight title at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on April 15, 1985.
Like Mayweather, Hearns was black, taller and used his footwork effectively to befuddle his rivals.
Hearns, who had earlier pulverized another Pacquiao-like Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran in 2 rounds for the world super-welterweight tiara on the same venue, predicted a third round KO victory against Hagler.
Hagler, who, like Pacquiao, did not have a solid defense, was an easy target but who carried molotovs in both fists, was the heavy underdog even if he was the undisputed middleweight world titlist in that era.
The first round of that explosive fight went down in history as the best ever with both Hearns and Hagler determined to maim each other without let up.
Due to the intensity of the Mayweather versus Pacquiao rivalry, we expect the first three rounds to be similar to the Hearns versus Hagler fisticuffs.
The end came in the third round as Hearns had predicted. But it was Hearns who ended up with glassy eyes laying flat on the mat.
Hagler did not mow him down with a single blow.
It was Hagler’s follow up that ended the argument.
As Hearns backpedaled after throwing a three-punch combination to Hagler’s severely damaged face, Hagler, with blood oozing from a wound on the right eye, chased Hearns with murderous intent.
A solid right caught Hearns flushed on the left face. While Hearns was reeling backward on spaghetti legs, Hagler made a follow up and sent Hearns to the canvas like a sack of potatoes.
If Mayweather is not careful and keeps on underestimating Pacquiao, he could suffer Hearns’ fate.
Like Mayweather, Hearns was the toast of the boxing community in the world, treated by the press and the Hollywood stars like a demigod, the same marquee status being enjoyed by Mayweather today.