Can Manny Pacquiao break Floyd Mayweather’s mythical defense on May 2nd? This seems to be the biggest question mark of the fight. No one is asking if Floyd can handle the Pacquiao power and speed that has overwhelmed fighters like Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya. No one is asking if Manny can avoid the Floyd’s counter-rights. No… it’s all about that defense.
What is it about Floyd Mayweather’s defense that has everyone so fascinated? It doesn’t necessarily make for crowd pleasing fights. It’s not something that casual fans can recognize and break down with any sort of ease. It’s certainly not something that one would associate with “action”. What is it?
Everyone loves a mystery. Forty years after the fact, people still write and wonder about where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is. They are still searching for Amelia Earhart’s airplane nearly 80 years later. In boxing, Floyd’s “shoulder roll” is right there with Hoffa, Earhart, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Until someone disproves the legend, it will continue to fascinate for years to come.
Can Manny possibly have an answer? No one can be sure, but he and Freddie Roach sure seem to think so. During today’s press conference Freddie Roach put it simply:
“We are in the toughest fight of our life; we’re fighting the best fighter in the world and we’re gonna kick his ass, I’m sorry but good luck Floyd.”
The only other “bold prediction” that was made regarding what happens inside of the ring came from Manny Pacquiao himself when he declared the following:
“He has a good defense but I’m not worried about that, I can easily break that defense.”
47 have tried; 47 have failed. This cannot be ignored. Manny is a much smaller fighter than Floyd. Manny doesn’t have the reach. Manny has a history of struggling specifically with counter-punchers and pure boxers. Manny can’t avoid counter-rights. Why in the world should we believe that Manny Pacquiao would have the answer that guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Márquez, Shane Mosley, Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana and 42 other guys did not have?
No one on Mayweather’s record is anything like Manny Pacquiao. Manny is compact and powerful. He’s fast and active. He is aggressive and comes at fighters from strange angles. His awkward style broke Tim Bradley’s feet. Juan Manuel Marquez’s perfect punch notwithstanding, Manny can absorb impressive amounts of punishment without being deterred. He’s a southpaw. Floyd’s previous opponents have all possessed some of these attributes, but none of them had all of them. Pacquiao does.
I’m not going to pretend to have the answer to Floyd’s “shoulder roll” and it’s way too early to for a thorough fight breakdown. This isn’t about that. This is about justifying expectations. Manny Pacquiao is a better fighter than anyone Floyd has faced. He brings the single most unique combination of skills that Floyd has ever seen.
Am I saying that Manny Pacquiao has everything it takes to actually break the “Divinci Code” that is Floyd’s legendary defense? I do believe that it is a real possibility but even if he doesn’t, I can guarantee that Manny’s “wrong answer” will be more unique and entertaining than any others that have come before it.
On May 2nd, we will see if Manny Pacquiao can erase “Floyd’s Shoulder Roll” from the same list that contains Bigfoot, Atlantis, DB Cooper, Stonehenge, etc.