The head of ’Matchroom Sports’ UK boxing promotions Eddie Hearn recently spoke with Fighthype.com to give his pick for a little fight going down in Las Vegas on May 2nd between the undefeated American superstar Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather(47-,26KO’s) and the Filipino force of nature Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao(57-5-2, 38KO’s).
Needless to say, this fight will be an event that surpasses all others that have come along in the last quarter-century. Everyone is chipping in with their opinions on how the fight will go and what each man needs to do in order to win. Hearn is no different and shared his opinions for us.
“I’m gonna go with…..You know at first I was thinking either a Mayweather late stoppage or Pacquiao on points. But if you push me for one I’m gonna go Mayweather late stoppage. Round eleven.”
Both men have made a habit of going the distance in recent years, but Floyd’s safety-first approach is one that pretty much guarantees him hearing the final bell. While Pacquiao has always looked to hurt his opponents but just hasn’t been able to finish most of the big welterweights he has faced since he moved up in weight.
Hearn’s is a prediction you won’t often hear, but it makes sense when you think about it. Pacquiao always looks to inflict damage and Floyd is content to sit back and react to whatever is presented to him. If Pacquiao overreaches in his efforts to land his combinations, Floyd is more than capable and has the requisite power, to capitalise and make Pacquiao slowly unravel with each clean punch he lands. If Floyd can do that continuously throughout the fight, he could definitely get a late knockout.
This fight has been called for and salivated over ever since Floyd temporarily retired from the sport in 2007 for nearly two years, at which point Pacquiao ascended to the throne of the ‘pound-for-pound’ king. Upon Floyd’s return in 2009 Pacquiao had just moved up into the 147.lb. division and had looked better and better with each performance, and as soon as Floyd showed us he hasn’t missed a step by schooling Juan Manuel Marquez in his first fight back, the calls became shouts. We’ve been talking about it ever since.
Floyd’s performances have not noticeably slipped in the interim, but Pacquiao has shown questionable form. Most obviously when he got knocked out cold in 2012 by the same Marquez that Floyd handled so easily after two years out of the ring. Is this fight now an easier proposition for Floyd than when it was first thought up?
“I think it’s a tough fight full stop if Pacquiao’s a quality fighter. I think ultimately it’s a very tough fight and Pacquiao’s gonna be desperate to win. And he will work tirelessly throughout the fight to press Floyd Mayweather. But I just think that’s why Mayweather will get the stoppage. I don’t think he’ll go out looking for the stoppage, but I think Pacquiao will be there for him every time he wants him.”
Despite him picking Floyd, Hearn does see a potential path Pacquiao could tread that would take him to victory.
“What he has to do here is press Mayweather, he has to make him work, he can’t stand off and try and box him and outfox him, and he’s got to come in[side] in flurries and then come again; two-phased attacks to make him work. That’s gonna put him in a bit of an awkward spot because he’s gonna get hit but also it’s gonna put Mayweather in a tough spot because he’s going to have to work. There’s only so much tying up on the inside that Mayweather can do in his type of fight, cuz the crowd ain’t gonna take it.”
The crowd? There will not be any regular, everyday, run-of-the-mill boxing fans inside an event where the ticket prices cost more than a brand new vehicle. I’m not saying they won’t cheer and shout but I’ve got to believe anyone who can afford to be there that night won’t be trying to create too sinister an atmosphere if they are displeased with the action, a la Golota vs. Bowe. And even if they did, Floyd has shown us again and again that no matter what is going on; what his opponent is trying, how the crowd is responding, whether a meteor smashes through the ceiling at the MGM Grand that night, he will fight his own fight. By Hearn’s and many others reckoning, that will be enough.