It is finally the week for the fight of the century between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Sports fans, and die-hard boxing fans in particular, have been waiting to say that for over five years. It has been a long, tumultuous and incredibly frustrating road to get here, but here we are.
To give you an idea of how huge this fight is, I’ll note that tickets to the fight sold out less than two minutes after they went on sale and that the cheapest ticket currently on Stubhub costs $4,500 while the most expensive is $105,305. Not only that, but pay-per-view sales are expected to come close to doubling the current record while still being sold at $90 for standard definition and $100 for high definition. Clearly, both fighters will be leaving that ring with more than enough money in their pockets. What the fans care about, though, is who is leaving that ring with their hand raised.
Before I get into the fight itself, let me begin by commenting on the five years of discussions before they reached an agreement. Regardless of which fighter you think is going to win, the one thing that became abundantly clear in the last few years is that Mayweather was avoiding this fight. There is no longer an argument against that. The only reason Mayweather is fighting Pacquiao is that he ran out of opponents that people would pay to see him fight. Pacquiao agreed to every single one of Mayweather’s demands and then had to lampoon him with a series of comments, Internet posts and even a FootLocker commercial before Mayweather stepped up to the table. Mayweather avoided Pacquiao for as long as he could and that has just become fact.
With that said, this fight is a toss-up. The defensive genius of Mayweather and his ability to make on-the-fly adjustments during a fight are things that possibly no other fighter has been better at. Logic says to pick Mayweather, a fighter who has never been defeated or even knocked down, against Pacquiao, a fighter we’ve seen get knocked out cold against a boxer that Mayweather handled with ease. However, this is boxing, and styles make fights. Just like Pacquiao has never faced a fighter with the skill set that Mayweather has, Mayweather hasn’t fought anyone with the skill set that Pacquiao has. Pacquiao has faster hands, throws better combinations and has better footwork than anyone Mayweather has ever fought. The last fighter with real hand speed that Mayweather fought is probably Zab Judah back in 2006 who, a southpaw like Pacquiao, gave him some trouble early in the fight, but Zab is no Pacquiao. Also, Pacquiao seems as determined as ever to win this fight. He rarely trash talks his opponents, but has shown a clear dislike of Mayweather that we’ve never seen from Pacquiao against any other opponent. His legendary trainer, Freddie Roach, is more than confident that they will win this fight. All of these things — combined with the fact that Mayweather didn’t ever seem to want this fight — are making me give the edge to Pacquiao. I’m picking Manny Pacquiao by close unanimous decision and to become the fighter of this generation.