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Floyd Mayweather JR Vs Manny Pacquiao: The Pound for Pound Examination


By Geno McGahee

There are two sides and both sides, both with compelling arguments, and both with evidence backing up their claims, but like any other popular debate, much of the focus seems to be on the ignorant. If you watch a newscast with protesters, they typically go for the one with the aluminum foil hat, screaming that God himself, is sending him messages rather than a rational one in the bunch. In the pound for pound boxing debate, many times you will see a writer oversell their point. Manny Pacquiao has plenty of groupies with laptops and Microsoft Word, ready to sing his praises in hopes that the Filipino Pacquiao fans give them a pat on the back and continue to check out their articles. Floyd Mayweather, JR., has his fair share of supporters with pens that also subjectively cover the debate.

Who is the best in the world?

You have to make up your own mind. If you listen to many of the crazed Pacquiao fans, you will think that Floyd Mayweather, JR., will be carried out on a stretcher before the opening bell even rings, collapsing from the mere thought of facing Pacquiao. The Mayweather, JR., die hard followers believe that the best fighter of all time is currently fighting in the welterweight division. We have to cut through the nonsense.

Mayweather, JR., 41-0, 25 KO’s, is a great fighter, but to place him into the top ten of all time, let alone the top spot is very premature. Great fighters earn their spots by beating other great fighters, and he has done that on paper, but he hasn’t done that in the ring. Many of the opponents of name were shopworn and easy prey for a younger defensive whiz with timing.

Manny Pacquiao, 53-3-2, 38 KO’s, has not beaten an elite in their prime, despite his recent great run. He has many impressive names on his record, but none of them were at the peak of their career when they stepped into the ring with the “Pacman.”

Mayweather and Pacquiao need each other. They are both in their prime and both occupy the top spot in the pound for pound ranking. It’s nice when the two top pound for pound fighters in the world fight in the same division and here they are.

The man known as “Money” Mayweather has picked his opponents as intelligently as he has fought them. He wanted to be a PPV attraction and in 2005, began some bad blood with Arturo Gatti, a popular brawler with zero chance of beating him. Gatti had to be convinced to take the fight because of the money involved and took a vicious beating for six rounds before it was mercifully stopped. Mayweather gained a lot with very little risk. The Gatti fans looked beyond his shortcomings and only saw Mayweather, a “feather fisted runner.” Floyd proved he can punch and did not run as he pounded “Thunder” into submission.

Zab Judah was the most dangerous fighter that Mayweather has ever faced, mainly because the best Judah showed up that fight night ready to win. For four rounds, Judah was winning and actually knocked Floyd down (which the referee missed). Floyd stayed tough and came back in the later rounds to expose the focus problems that plagued Zab’s career.

The rest of the career of Mayweather can be seen as one of opportunism. Fighters like Antonio Margarito and Kostya Tszyu were passed over continually for fighters like Gatti and later on, Carlos Baldomir. The choice of Baldomir in 2006 was a major disappointment for boxing fans because he had zero chance. He was too slow to hit Mayweather and if he did, he didn’t pack a punch.

The biggest fight in his career was when he took on Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya, far beyond his better years, was still the most popular fighter in the sport and was another fighter that benefited from some creative matchmaking throughout his career. In this fight, Floyd did just enough to win, not risking much, and making it through the fight virtually unscathed.

The limited British superstar, Ricky Hatton was next up and he presented the first prime and undefeated opponent since he took on Diego Corrales in 2001. Hatton lacked the skills to compete and Floyd flattened him inside of 10 rounds. It was an acceptable fight for Floyd.

A rematch was set with De La Hoya next, but Floyd would instead opt to retire. He came back 18 months later with back to back wins over notable opponents. Juan Manuel Marquez was dominated and so too was Sugar Shane Mosley. It sounds more impressive then it is.

Marquez was too small and too slow…facing the same problems that Carlos Baldomir did, and Shane Mosley, at 38, and on the shelf for over a year, had little chance to be competitive, let alone win. Mosley was a great fighter…but his time passed by years ago. He struggled with Ricardo Mayorga and Fernando Vargas in recent years. How was he going to beat Floyd…he wasn’t.

The best fight in his career was his 2001 TKO win over Diego Corrales, followed by his victory over Zab Judah. Other than that, he has fought fights where the deck was stacked very heavily in his favor. Shane Mosley (38 years old, on the shelf for over a year), Ricky Hatton (natural 140 pounder, fighting at 147), Oscar De La Hoya (well beyond his better years), Carlos Baldomir (slow & no punch), and Juan Manuel Marquez (lightweight fighting at welterweight), all have to be looked at as opportunism, Floyd’s edge was too much over each of them going in. Much of Floyd’s success is due to his talent, but also his talent for matchmaking. He knows who to fight and when to fight. He belongs to the new school of boxing, the business end of it.

Manny Pacquiao is more old school, not ducking any fights, but possibly not playing by the rules of the game. His refusal to take a steroid test has raised some eyebrows.

In 2003 was when most fans took notice. An 11th round stoppage of Marco Antonio Barrera shocked the boxing world and set the tone for the rest of Manny’s career. Barrera was still in good form then, but with 60 fights, I hesitate to say that he was in his prime.

A war with Juan Manuel Marquez, leading to a draw was next, a loss to Erik Morales, but Manny would win the trilogy via knockout in both rematches. Morales was in the same sort of situation as Barrera, a Mexican legend with a lot of fights and a lot of wars. In the second and third fight with Manny, you could see that Morales was an old man, mentally and physically, not ready or willing to cope with the monster that was headed his way.

The most notable wins of his career have come recently. In 2008, he was hand picked by Oscar De La Hoya, and beat the odds to stop “The Golden Boy,” although it is fair to say that Oscar brought nothing to the fight that night. It was the equivalent to Muhammad Ali’s performance against Larry Holmes. Despite that fact, it was enough to launch Manny into the mainstream, and they have capitalized well on that with follow up fights with Ricky Hatton (KO-2), Miguel Cotto (KO-12) and Joshua Clottey (UD-12). These three fights also represent opportunism for Team Pacquiao. Hatton and Cotto were both damaged goods going in and Clottey was notorious for shelling up when attacked. You keep the attack, he keeps the shell. Freddie Roach knows how to scout opponents.

The recent track records of both men make them even. They have both eliminated the names of the past that were lingering around and now have established themselves as the now in boxing. When they fight, there is no excuse. Both men are in their prime, on top of the boxing world, and ready to take that number one spot. As of now, who belongs there?

Floyd Mayweather, JR., has to be seen as the pound for pound best at this point. He is undefeated and doesn’t get touched in his fights. He is a defensive master with some similarities to the great Pernell Whitaker. It’s easy to foresee Manny losing than it is Floyd. Should they agree to fight, it would be up to Manny to find a way in, make the fight, and land his punches while avoiding the big punches from Floyd. The easy early pick is Floyd by TKO, late in the fight, or a wide decision over Manny. He is the complete fighter and should own that top spot, but he needs to defend it against Manny Pacquiao. No matter what I say or what a Pacquiao or Floyd groupie says, we still won’t have a definitive answer until they meet up in the ring with all of the boxing marbles on the line.

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