Would Pacquiao Have Had The Same Success Last Saturday?

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Normally, I’m not the guy that does opinion pieces. But as I did my Monday morning blog runs, I came across a consensus among some that Maidana had exposed Floyd Mayweather. Due to the success Maidana had against Mayweather, some are even saying that Manny Pacquiao would have had the same success and this is why Mayweather ducked Pacquiao.

OK. While I still think Manny Pacquiao still is one of the guys that could trouble Floyd Mayweather at welterweight, we should slow it down a bit. Maidana and Pacquiao are not the same fighters.

The obvious distinction is the stance. Maidana is orthodox while Pacquiao is southpaw. The misnomer is that Mayweather struggles with southpaws because Mayweather’s glove touched the canvas when he got hit with a shot against Zab Judah and because Demarcus Corley roughed him up a bit. While they did happen, Mayweather recovered and cruised throughout the fight. In his more recent matchups against southpaws against Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero, Mayweather had little trouble. Granted, you can’t compare Ortiz and Guerrero to Pacquiao but just because you’re a south paw doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to trouble Mayweather.

The 2008 and 2009 Manny Pacquiao was relentless and his pressure and persistence with combinations would have been a sight to see against one of the best defenses in history. But he’s not the same fighter and neither is Mayweather.

In Pacquiao’s fights with Tim Bradley and Brandon Rios, it didn’t feel like he was the same fighter that we’ve seen before his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. Brandon Rios was a statue and even though Pacquiao may have won every round, it felt different. In his rematch with Tim Bradley, it took every bit of Pacquiao’s skill to pull off the victory in a fight where Bradley rocked Pacquiao off his feet. Tim Bradley’s not known for his punching power, so to see Pacquiao rocked by a Bradley punch was rather shocking.

Back to Saturday night, where plenty of us were surprised at the success Maidana had against Mayweather. Chino’s style isn’t similar to Pacquiao’s aside from throwing punches from weird angles. Maidana concentrated on getting on the inside and when he was on the inside he went to work, whether it  was throwing body shots, clubbing overhand rights, and just about everything to let Mayweather know he was there. Maidana and his much improved jab was another reason for his success.

Pacquiao probably has a better jab than Maidana and is also faster with his hands and on his fight than Maidana, so that would have created problems for Mayweather. But would he have been relentless inside as Maidana was? Pacquiao in his fight with Bradley landed some nice body shots to slow down Tim Bradley but also ate some shots in the process. As great as Bradley is, Mayweather is much more technically sound than Bradley. Pacquiao would have definitely paid to get inside and while people think Mayweather has no power, he is very accurate and has shown the ability to stun guys like in the 12th round of his fight with Miguel Cotto.

I also don’t believe Pacquiao would have been as aggressive inside and he wouldn’t have the weight advantage that Maidana had. Maidana outweighed Mayweather 165-148 on fight night. When Cotto fought Mayweather he also had a sizeable weight advantage and Canelo the same.

Cotto did similar things that Maidana did using his jab to get inside and roughing up Mayweather but his stamina wasn’t as consistent as Maidana’s was to maintain the pressure for 12 rounds.

Pacquiao’s stamina would have been there for 12 rounds but again the weight and the inside fight wouldn’t have been the same.

All that being said, Mayweather has also looked vulnerable for the second time in 4 fights. He says it was for the fans as he did when Miguel Cotto had some success with him in 12 rounds. Then his father was back in the corner and it looked good for two fights against a smaller Guerrero and an inexperienced Canelo with what some say is an average corner. Then it’s the Maidana fight, where Mayweather says he purposely fought like he did while disregarding his father’s instructions in the meantime. Maidana also has an elite trainer in Robert Garcia.

Going in 2014, a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is still likely the biggest fight to make in boxing. While Mayweather’s defense and legs may have slipped and Pacquiao’s offense has been subdued a bit, it’s still the biggest bout to make even if its 5 years too late.

My colleague Joe Habeeb said that Pacquiao is that power pitcher that relies on his fast ball too much and once the fastball is timed, he has no answers. Pacquiao showed us that he might be that power pitcher that is declining but is learning how to use other pitches to be elite as he did in the Bradley fight.

Would that have been enough to defeat a Mayweather that although looked beatable Saturday still made adjustments to beat Maidana on the cards? Who knows? We may never know. I hate triangle theories and because this happened that had to happen. In boxing anything can happen. But I don’t think Pacquiao would have had the same success Maidana did fighting the same fight. Would he have found other methods to be successful? Sure. But I don’t think off one Maidana fight, we can say Pacquiao would have done better and beat Mayweather.