Sean Zittel from Thaboxingvoice.com recently met with one of the more high-profile members of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s ‘Money Team’ ensemble in super middleweight prospect J’Leon Love(19-1, 10KO’s), to discuss how Floyd’s preparations were going for his upcoming May 2nd meeting with Manny Pacquiao(57-5-2, 38KO’s) in Las Vegas.
Floyd(47-0, 26KO’s) is edging towards a half-century of uninterrupted victories and his long-awaited meeting with Pacquiao is his most significant yet. Due both to the time the fight has taken to materialise and the genuine belief of many that the little Filipino may actually be the one to beat him. Three of the four world welterweight titles will be on the line, raising the stakes even more, and amidst contrasting reports from the Mayweather camp that the main man has been dishing out and on the receiving end of knockdowns during sparring, Zittel began by asking Love what Floyd has looked like during preparations.
“Floyd has done this what, 47 times? I think that this is another page we’ll tear out and add to the accolades. Greatness man. Dude is going a lot harder than I’ve seen him go before, and he’s always been going hard. I think he knows that this fight is it. He’s coming down to the last two fights of his career, and he’s gonna try and go out with a bang I think. I just see him straight focused; doing what he got to do.”
Floyd is contracted to two more fights with the Showtime television network and after their agreement is over it is unclear whether he will hang up his gloves for good. Love seems in awe of the man. He helped Floyd prepare for his 2012 bout with Miguel Cotto and so is intimately acquainted with how Floyd formulates both his physique and his strategy for a big fight. Well, all of Floyd’s fights are big really, but this one is on a different plain altogether, and it appears he is prepared to strive for the task. He is looking to demonstrate how good he really is.
“So many people are doubting him, so many people think that Manny Pacquiao has a chance, and so I think he just wants to set the record straight; this dude is nowhere near his level.”
If you’ve ever heard Floyd speak about his own place in the sport you will know this fairly reflects his mentality, but Love is by no means diminishing the talents or achievements of the man who will stand across from his mentor on May 2nd.
“I think Pacquiao is a great fighter, I mean shit, he’s not Manny Pacquiao for no reason. I’m trying to get to that level, so I’m not gonna ever try to downgrade a fighter like a Manny Pacquiao. The guy is great, a great fighter.”
I’m sure there are other examples, but this was the first time since this fight was announced that I’ve heard a member of Floyd’s circle say anything positive about Pacquaio. But as you may well have suspected, this unexpected praise does not equate to him winning the fight in Love’s opinion.
“I think Floyd Mayweather wins, I think Floyd will dominate him being that Floyd is just more intelligent. I think Manny Pacquiao makes a little more mistakes than normal, and he’s always gotten away with them. Got caught by Marquez, it happens, came back strong and with Floyd Mayweather you can’t make those mistakes.”
When Juan Manuel Marquez left Pacquiao face-down on the canvas, unmoving for a number of minutes in their fourth meeting at the end of 2012, it was partly due to Pacquiao himself jumping forward in pursuit of his own knockout victory. A costly mistake, and it is the presence of errors that seems to be separating these two fighters in the lead up to their meeting. Floyd makes remarkably few, always balanced and ready to counter, and only striking when a clear opportunity opens up.
Pacquiao casts aside the prudent measures of keeping himself safe when he unloads two-handed attacks at his opponents and most of the time it works beautifully, but the one time it counted against him he crashed and burned spectacularly. The feeling is if Marquez can do that kind of damage -even if it took him three and a half fights- then a fighter of Floyd’s calibre should be just as able to take advantage of even the tiniest slip-ups from Pacquiao.