I love Manny Pacquiao. He is my favourite fighter of all time. I was inspired to start writing about the sport of boxing after witnessing the Filipino icon’s 1st fight with legendary Mexican Erik Morales, which was one of most brutal but beautiful 36 minutes of boxing in history. The 35 year old Congressman has a back catalogue of timeless classics that I will watch with my 1st born son when the time comes. I will also introduce him to the genius of Floyd Mayweather. Although instead of taking in the action, I will do something more interesting- like paint my kitchen and watch it dry, or put two identical washing machines on the same cycle and see which finishes first. I’m being flippant, forgive me, please.
Floyd Mayweather Jnr is probably the greatest defensive boxer in the history of the sport, and he definitely deserves his place among the all time greats such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong and Muhammad Ali to name a few. I am trying to learn to love and appreciate the boxing mastery of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. I really am.
The problem is- I just do not care for his unpalatable prizefighting style. I find his fights boring and forgettable. I have never managed to watch any Mayweather bout more than once- boredom always breaks my will in the later stages of the second viewing. In contrast, I have watched Manny Pacquaio’s many classic contests countless times, because although Floyd Mayweather is far superior to Pacquiao in pure boxing terms, he cannot hold a candle to the Filipino when it comes to excitement and inspirational performances.
Put simply, Floyd Mayweather is too perfect. He has been a flawless fighter since his 1st professional contest, no doubt a consequence of being in a lifelong boxing clinic with two world class former fighters and trainers in his uncle Roger and father Floyd Mayweather Snr. At 37 years old, Mayweather is ageless. This is due in part to his defensive mastery, and also to his reluctance to really engage his opponents in a combat situation.
Ultimately, he has never taken any proper physical punishment throughout his entire career. You cannot argue with his counter punching strategy, it fits his style perfectly well and it makes sense for Mayweather to play to his strengths. Anyway, for the fans who continue to religiously buy his bouts on Pay-Per-View under the pretence that he will ‘give the fans what they want to see’ should be well aware by now that Floyd’s pre fight rhetoric of putting on an ‘exciting’ fight is very far removed from the reality. His press conference buzz-words are always betrayed by his actions on fight night- the booing from the bored crowd in the arena every time he is in action testifies to this.
However, Pacquiao has paid the price for the pleasure he has given to fans over the years. At 35 years old, he is now noticeably showing the inevitable wear and tear caused by a career engaging in multiple wars with the greats of his era such as Marquez, Morales and Barrera. Between those three luminaries Pacquaio has had 9 career defining fights. Officially, Pacquaio has only lost two of them, to Marquez and Morales respectively. Yet to my mind, he lost both the 3rd and 4th fights to Marquez, although I think the knockdowns he scored in 1st and 2nd encounters should have been enough for him to emerge victorious in those contests.
Throw in the demolition jobs of Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and the murderous beating he meted out to the much bigger and taller Antonio Margarito in 2010 it is easy to see why Pacquaio ran away with the ‘Fighter of the Decade’ award. Similarly, Floyd Mayweather in the last fourteen years has embarrassed a roll call of Hall of Famers with his boxing brilliance and his career is still yet to suffer a blemish. It really is unbelievable what both men have accomplished in the sport. Their dominance of the welterweight divisions defies logic as Mayweather, who walks around at 150lbs, is probably a natural Lightweight whereas Manny Pacquaio should belong in the Featherweight divisions.
Whilst I will never be compelled to offer any resistance to the contention that Floyd Mayweather is a far better boxer than Pacquaio, there simply is no doubt that Manny Pacquaio is, by a country mile, far superior offensively and in terms of the raw excitement and emotion of his performances.
On one hand, I obviously favour Pacquiao. But on the other, I fully appreciate the magic of Floyd Mayweather. This is why I cannot understand how the two must be mutually exclusive to boxing fans. Its seems you are either a diehard fan of Manny Pacquaio or an ardent apostle of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. Rarely is the dichotomy of support broken by fans who really love and appreciate both men for what they are: Boxing legends and all time greats of the sport.
The caveat to this is that regardless of whom we choose to blame for the fight failing to materialise we must learn to love both men for their incredible contributions to the sport, because the whole of the boxing world will miss Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather Jnr when they are gone.
Thanks for Reading.
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