by Emmanuel B. Villaruel
The Freeman April 13, 2015
Manny Villaruel of Cebu’s ‘The Freeman’ regales us with a look at the 5 common opponents that Money May and the Pacman have faced. Oscar Dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosely and Juan Manuel Marquez are undoubtedly all a cinch to enter Boxing’s Hall of Fame, and they have one thing in common: they have all been in the same squared arena against today’s hottest and most revered boxing gladiators: Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. While it is said that styles make fights, these encounters will show a general view of how the two stack up against a common protagonist in offense and defense, in stamina, boxing IQ, in the ability to adjust to the opponent’s arsenal of tricks, and more. Here’s the writer’s take on how Floyd and Manny fared against this star-studded quintet.
The boxing world is literally at a standstill, with the fans eagerly waiting for the megabuck showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr, considered a lock to obliterate pay-per-view records, revenue and live gate sales.
Already ensured of a place in the Hall of Fame, the greatness of these two brilliant boxers is being measured in the manner by which they deal with and eventually blare the victory trumpet over their high-profile rival in the course of their journey to stardom.
It’s only the first time that they are going to slug it out inside the ring, but it’s an interesting thing to note that Pacquiao and Mayweather have common ground, having fought against not only one, but five of the best fighters of their era that greatly define their respective careers.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most memorable ring battles of Pacquiao and Mayweather, and how they fare against the same opponents of legendary status in the mold of Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Most probably this will help not just the experts, but also the mere fans in coming up with a more sound analysis and a better insight on the possible scenarios when two of the biggest and brightest stars in the boxing constellation today collide on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Against Oscar De La Hoya
Mayweather agreed to move up from 147 pounds to 154 to take on De la Hoya in May 2007. The undefeated American then proved that size doesn’t matter, using his excellent defensive skills and superior speed to eke out a split decision win De la Hoya.
While Mayweather labored hard to victory, Pacquiao, in a masterpiece of a performance, completely dominated the bigger and taller De la Hoya in December 2008. The Pacman moved up two divisions just to challenge the ‘Golden Boy’, but what he lacked in size he made up for his big-fighting heart. His non-stop, two-fisted attack was too much for De la Hoya to handle. With a busted face and a swollen left eye, De la Hoya quit on his stool at the end of round eight in a painful defeat that eventually sent him to retirement.
Against Ricky Hatton
In the clash of the ‘Undefeated’ in December 2007, a dominant Mayweather pummeled Hatton into a 10th round submission. Hatton was the aggressor from the start, but he eventually lost steam ffrom incessantly chasing Mayweather around the ring. Mayweather capitalized on the opportunity to finish off Hatton off in round 10.
Pacquiao was far more impressive when he fought Hatton in May 2009. With his jack-hammer fists at work, Pacquiao knocked down the British star two times in the opening round, first with a right hook and then with a solid combo. A powerful left by Pacquiao sent Hatton into the dreamland for good in round two. Referee Kenny Bayless didn’t bother to count upon seeing Hatton wallowing in pain on the canvass.
Against Miguel Cotto
Coming off spectacular wins over De la Hoya and Hatton, Pacquiao further galvanized his road to greatness by decimating a gritty but overmatched Miguel Cotto in November 2009. Throwing punches like machine-gun fire, Pacquiao floored Cotto twice and turned his face into a bloody mess before finishing off the battered Puerto Rican with 55 seconds left in the 12th round.
Three years later, Mayweather jumped to light middleweight to slug it out with Cotto. He did absorb some punishment from a very game Cotto, but Mayweather held his ground using his speed and accuracy. When the dust settled, Mayweather came through a unanimous decision victory, but not without some bruises and a bloodied nose from a hard fight against the relentless Puerto Rican champion.
Against ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley
Mayweather and Pacquiao both came up with lopsided unanimous decision wins over ‘Sugar’ Shane, albeit in different fashion. Mayweather had to withstand a second-round scare before getting rid of a tough Mosley. Mayweather found himself in big trouble after absorbing solid rights from Mosley in round two, but he bravely weathered the onslaught and went on to take complete control of the bout the rest of the way.
In sharp contrast, Pacquiao was in full command from the start until the end. After being knocked down by Pacquiao in the third round, Mosley was never the same again.
Against Juan Manuel ‘El Dinamita’ Marquez
Against Marquez in September 2009, Mayweather’s all-around savvy as a fighter was evident. His defense was at its best, and he was simply too fast and too frisky for the Mexican dynamite. After decking Marquez midway in round two, Mayweather deftly worked his way out to outbox Marquez, who would later suffer a cut over his right eye, and a bloody nose. Using his quickness and trademark defense to parry Marquez’s attack all throughout the 12-round skirmish, Mayweather safely cruised to a resounding win.
Pacquiao and Marquez, on the other hand, figured in one of the fiercest rivalries in the annals of boxing. Pacquiao triumphed in two of their first three meetings by the closest of margins. (Ed’s note: the first was a controversial draw.) Each decision was wrapped with controversy though, with Marquez always claiming he was robbed of victory.
That resulted to a fourth bout between the arch-nemesis in December 2012. Pacquiao wanted to prove something, but Marquez shocked the world with a devastating sixth round stoppage of the eight-division world champion. As he went for the kill in the middle of a heated exchange, Pacquiao was a bit careless and in the process got hit by a power-punch of Marquez that him sprawling on the mat in a very frightening sight for his legion of fans. It’s a major weakness that Pacquiao needs to figure out as he heads into the biggest fight of his life.
Mayweather is not really known for his power. All these years, he has managed to keep his unbeaten record intact (47-0) because of his ring craftsmanship, accurate counter-punching and superior defense. He is also too quick and clever that no one has so far succeeded in beating him.
On the other end, Pacquiao is known not only for his ability to unleash power shots at will, but also for the unpredictability of his punches. He throws punches in flurries and in all angles that is oftentimes hard to handle for any opponent he is faced with. Since his devastating loss to Marquez, he has evolved into a more complete and wiser fighter, although many still doubt whether the fire in him is truly back. That is something that remains to be seen.
In summary, their varying skill-sets make the much-awaited megafight more exciting and interesting. A highly defensive fighter with slick boxing skills going up against a relentless, double-barrelled punching machine. Many experts have already said their piece about the possible outcome of this $400-million battle-for-the-ages. You may also take your pick on this one. But if you ask this corner who among the two legends will eventually come out banging the drums and spraying the victory champagne, it would be safe to say that let’s just wait and see until the big day.
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