Boxing preview: keys to victory for Mayweather and Pacquiao (winner poll)

Don’t get me wrong. A loss for Pacquiao wound sting, but it won’t destroy him like it would Mayweather. He will one day be president of the Philippines.

Floyd Mayweather (left) and Manny Pacquiao in their last faceoff at the weigh-in on Friday.

SAN DIEGO, May 2, 2015 – The unprecedented build-up, the hype, the trash talk and the anticipation is nearly over. Following Friday’s weigh-in, boxer Manny Pacquiao said, “Tomorrow, the fans deserve a good fight.”

The fight drama is hours away for undefeated Floyd Mayweather (47-0-0, 26 KOs) and eight-division champion Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) The fight will be televised in the U.S. by both HBO and Showtime, the highest priced pay-per-view event ever. Communities Digital News will host a live online chat starting with the televised undercards at 9 p.m. ET.

Prediction: who will win Saturday, Mayweather or Pacquiao?

The scrappy veteran Pacquiao and the technical genius Mayweather have one goal, but their keys to victory lie down different roads. What does each fighter need to focus on in order to win this dramatic high stakes bout with the world watching?

Keys to the Fight

Skills Pay The Bills: Speed has always been Pacquiao’s friend. Pacquiao marries speed with power, applied to his ability to throw a punch from any angle, even when his feet aren’t really under him. He doesn’t need to come straight at his opponent.

This is critical when facing perhaps the best defensive boxer ever. If Pacquiao is in classic form, he can neutralize Mayweather’s ability to elude punches to do damage without subjecting himself to much damage in return. Even if Pacquiao’s skills are declining, his speed and power plus his experience remain formidable.

Floyd Mayweather shows off the shoulder roll in his fight against Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime
Floyd Mayweather shows off the shoulder roll defense in his fight against Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime

The Best Offense is a Good Defense: The quote “The best defense is a good offense” is often said about football or basketball. But it was originally said by heavyweight prizefighter Jack Dempsey. Floyd Mayweather has turned this quote upside down. Mayweather has made a lot of money focusing on technical skills. No one has found a way to get inside Mayweather’s legendary defense. He presents opponents the smallest possible target. He uses impressive reflexes to stay out of the way of oncoming punches.

Boxing 101 for new fans watching Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

It doesn’t matter how hard you punch if you can’t hit the target. Pacquiao will have the same problem every other fighter does in landing punches on Mayweather. If he can employ his speed and launch from unusual angles successfully, he has a chance. A small chance.

Power Punching: Pacquiao’s last knockout came in 2009 against Ricky Hatton. Mayweather’s last knockout was a sucker punch against Victor Ortiz in 2011. A knockout is far from assured for either man. A solid unanimous decision is what both fighters should shoot for with no apologies.

Manny Pacquiao training in Macau, China this week. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank
Manny Pacquiao training. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank

The Killer Instinct Factor: It’s an ongoing question: has Manny Pacquiao has lost his “killer instinct?” Pacquiao’s genial nature outside the ring confuses observers who have a hard time reconciling it with his persona inside the ring. He is a genuinely nice guy.

In recent fights, he suffered from distractions. Those distractions were blamed in part for his stunning 2013 knockout loss to Juan Manual Marquez.

Read all “Ringside Seat” Mayweather vs. Pacquiao coverage

This time the stakes are too high. Pacquiao put aside everything to train. He characterizes the fight as one for country and God, good versus evil. Pacquiao, a sitting Congressman in the Philippines and a national hero, is carrying his nation on his shoulders. Pressure can motivate a fighter or crush him. Pacquiao seems to thrive on it. He has enjoyed the build-up to the fight, laughing and joking in media appearances.

Mayweather is focused and deadly serious. No funny stuff with Dr. Phil on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, no jokes at appearances. He has always worked hard in the gym and stays fit 365 days a year no matter what else is going on in his life, even legal distractions in the past.

Floyd Mayweather salutes his fans at a rally Tuesday in Las Vegas. Photo: Courtesy HBO.
Floyd Mayweather salutes his fans at a rally Tuesday in Las Vegas. Photo: Courtesy HBO.

Who’s Got the Most to Lose? Without a doubt, Mayweather would suffer a loss far harder than Pacquiao. He is proud with reason of his undefeated record. He wants it to be his defining legacy as TBE, “The Best Ever.” The myth of the zero on his record sits front and center. Mayweather doesn’t care how he wins, as long as he wins. Boring fights. Ugly fights. As long as they notch a victory, it’s all good to Floyd.

In contrast, Pacquiao has no fear of a loss. He already has five losses. It has not damaged his box office appeal or hurt his career. He is “The People’s Champion,” beloved by his countrymen and successful in areas other than boxing. He is a celebrity with charisma and always a draw for any fight.

Don’t get me wrong. A loss for Pacquiao wound sting, but it won’t destroy him like it would Mayweather. He will be president of the Philippines one day. What are Floyd Mayweather’s plans after retirement? No one knows, probably not even Floyd. This might say more about the significance of the fight than pay per view numbers or how much tickets are selling for on the secondary market.

Next: Ringside Seat’s predictions for the fight

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

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