Even though he is currently preparing both Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto for upcoming fights, Freddie Roach was nice enough to play a little game of comparisons with Marcos Villegas of FightHub.
Villegas brought a board that listed nine fighter attributes (power, speed, etc.) and handed Freddie Roach some stickers. Some with a dollar sign, and some with a Pac-Man on them. Roach was then asked to decide whether Mayweather or Pacquiao had the advantage in a particular category.
I was not only impressed with how generous Roach was with his time but also with his honesty. He didn’t go with Pacquiao all the way down the board, he really gave it some thought and explained why he did or did not give his fighter the advantage at times.
So here is how the game played out:
Power – Pacquiao
“His punch power’s really really great. Floyd has a lot less knockouts than Manny and has more decision wins than Manny. Manny’s a much better puncher. At  he hasn’t been a great puncher but I think for this fight… the power is coming along really good.”
No surprises here. Manny Pacquiao became famous by battering bigger fighters with his heavy hands. Mayweather on the other hand, has a sneaky power that relies more on timing than brute force. Floyd also wears softer gloves to protect his hands, which diminishes his power even further.
Speed – Mayweather
“Well… we’re talking about movement here I think, not hand speed… movement, I think [Mayweather] is more of a runner than Pacquiao. I think he’s a little faster moving with his feet.”
This made me pause. Was this a case of Roach taking a subtle swipe at Floyd? Maybe trying to goad him into a fight by calling him a runner? I’m not sure, but either way you slice it, he gave it to Mayweather in a backhanded way.
Footwork – Pacquiao
“Manny uses his footwork in and out, side to side and the opponent is trying to guess when he is coming. Only one person in life has measured that and that was Marquez but the thing is, Mayweather won’t know when he’s coming or going because he’s never seen this kind of speed before.”
And now we’re saying that Manny is faster with his feet… but in a different way. Pacquiao does use his feet to bounce around and keep guys off balance. His awkward footwork and timing made Tim Bradley break his foot in their first fight and injure his calf in the second. Floyd has the better balance, but if you’re talking about constant movement and transitioning into leverage for power shots, sure… Pacquiao it is.
Stamina – DRAW
“These are dedicated people that train really hard. Manny’s a machine. I hear the same about Mayweather. Mayweather came to L.A. one time and was doing ‘Dancing With The Stars’. He was here like five or six days and he asked me, he came here and said ‘Can I use your gym from 1 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the morning everyday?’”
Let me stop right here. What do you think long-time nemesis Freddie Roach did? I’m assuming, since I never heard anything about this before, that he declined.
“Sure. I gave him the keys and they were very respectful. They had six days here and it worked out well.” and when asked if he left the cameras on Roach responded, “No, I wouldn’t do that. I’m not like that.”
Well, I’ll be damned. I had no idea. Anyway, Pacquiao probably has the better stamina, but Mayweather is much more efficient with what he has. A draw here makes sense.
Ring IQ – Mayweather
“Mmmm… I’m gonna have to go with Mayweather. Little smarter in the ring. I think he has a little more experience, a little savvier.”
You have to give it to Freddie Roach. He doesn’t kid himself. Pacquiao can work himself into a frenzy and throw caution to the wind. We’ve seen him have total disregard for his well being. I have never seen Floyd Mayweather Jr. look like he wasn’t in total control of what he was doing at any point in any fight. Even when his knees were buckled by Shane Mosley, his instinct was still to remain poised and get himself through the round. Even when he leans on the ropes he’s in control, rolling with punches and allowing his opponent to punch themselves out. No contest here.
Heart – Pacquiao
“He has the biggest heart in the world. He’ll die trying. Look what he’s gone through in his life so far just to survive. He had a hard hard life so I think that he has a big big heart because of those reasons.
Pacquiao has been put in plenty of fights where it took a tremendous heart to even step into the ring, let alone fight the way he fought in them. We just haven’t seen anything like that out of Floyd. The jury may be out on Floyd’s “heart” but ss Car Sagan once said: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
Chin – Mayweather
“I’ll have to give that one to Mayweather because Manny has been stopped a couple times and Mayweather hasn’t so I think that we have to give him the benefit of a doubt because even though he might not get hit that much… you are bound to get somewhere along the way and he’s never been down yet…”
We have seen Manny Pacquiao take some heavy punches, but we have also seen him knocked cold. Except for a buckle of the knees a few years ago and a slight stumble back to the corner, Floyd hasn’t been phased by too many punches. Maybe he has a good chin. Maybe he rolls with the punches just enough to take the steam off of them. Either way you look at it, he’s never been asleep at the end of a fight.
Experience – Mayweather
After waffling between Mayweather’s amateur background and Pacquiao’s having turned professional at 14 years old, Roach decided that Floyd Mayweather was probably the more experienced fighter, but it didn’t come easy. This was his toughest choice of the bunch.
At 36 and 38 years old, I believe both Pacquiao and Mayweather have all of the experience they are ever going to need in the ring. Totally irrelevant.
X-Factor – Pacquiao
Roach chose Pacquiao, “By far. Manny Pacquiao, he has that left hand that is very dangerous… if he hits you with that on the chin, the fight will be fu…uhh, the fight will be over.”
If you were keeping track you have already noticed that with the draw for “stamina”, both fighters ended up with five categories. Freddie was asked whether that meant the people should be expecting a draw come May 2nd.
“It’s the biggest fight in the world… everybody wants to see it because the competition between the two is unbelievable… because of things like this, very very equal, similar in some areas, not in others…”
I agree. I have not made my pick yet because I have this fight much closer than most in the world of boxing. A strategic wrinkle here, a bell rung there… anything can be a deciding factor in this fight. It’s because of the supreme level of competition that both of these guys occupy that Roach’s last statement rings more true than anything that came before it.
“… and that is why it’s going to be the biggest fight of all time.”
Yup. That about sums it up. One week away!