How Pacquiao can beat Mayweather
Over five frustrating years in the making, and billed as the biggest boxing match of the century, this weekend in Las Vegas the world will finally see Floyd Mayweather Jr face off against Manny Pacquiao, for the biggest $250m pot the sport has ever seen.
The bookies have the sensible money firmly on Mayweather, undefeated in 47 bouts, and arguably the greatest boxer of all time. But despite this, there are many who still believe Manny Pacquiao, a supremely talented fighter come philanthropist who’s scaled the sports ranks himself, can be the one to knock the seemingly unconquerable champ off his moneyed throne.
Oscar De La Hoya – a world title holder who’s been in the ring with them both – is one such man. Esquire got his thoughts on the imminent gladiatorial contest…
How do you see the fight unfolding?
Well, both fighters obviously have a different style, but the one fighter who could make it an interesting fight is Pacquiao. I hear he’s in tremendous, tremendous shape. Mayweather, we’re going to see him do the same thing he does in every fight. Box. Box and win the rounds, one at a time. I don’t see Mayweather trying to knock out Pacquiao – but I can see Pacquiao trying to knock out Mayweather.
For most people, an undefeated Mayweather is still the clear favourite, what do you think Pacquaio has to do beat him on the night?
He has to do is go-in with is a lot of combinations, a lot of footwork, and most importantly win the first two or three rounds. What that will do is have Mayweather come from behind and he will have to start to pressure Pacquiao and become the aggressor. And Mayweather does not like to be the aggressor. If Pacquiao can start winning those rounds, the fight can go in that direction.
Given the pair’s condition and stage of their respective careers, a lot of people are saying the fight should have happened five or six years ago. Does the timing favour Mayweather?
You can say that because Pacquiao has been in tougher fights and he’s been knocked out in the past. He’s been in the wars throughout his career, so – yes – there’s a bit more wear and tear in his body. But I feel this fight taking place now, not five years ago, is probably more exciting. Mayweather’s legs aren’t the same, he’s going to probably be more stationary in front of Pacquiao, and therefore Pacquiao is going to have a better chance at landing his punches. So while it should have happened a while back perhaps, it will be a more exciting bout this time.
De La Hoya came close to beating Mayweather in 2007
You’ve fought with both Mayweather and Pacquiao in your career, what main contrasts can you draw between them as boxers after actually facing them in the ring?
They’re both great fighters, very talented. Both with very different skill sets. Pacquiao’s aggressive, Mayweather’s a pure boxer – where he just wants to win on points. Given my experience with them both, it’s going to be one of those very close fights to fall.
The build up to the fight has been littered with delays and problems. Is it chaos behind the scenes?
I think that’s just the Mayweather-era business, which I hate. Boxing lost its value of being called a true World Champion, about caring about the history of pride and honour. It’s more of a business now, especially this fight – billed as the richest fight in history. I personally am not too fond of that type of build-up, I would prefer people talking about how exciting the fight is and forget about the business side. If it’s a great fight, the business side will just follow you.
At the end of the day, people are going to see a great fight and it’s going to be excellent for boxing, and who knows…hopefully we’ll see another one or two matches after it.
Finally, who’s going to win?
I really don’t know. My head goes with Mayweather but my heart says Pacquaio. I give Manny a really good shot as surprising Mayweather…
Esquire spoke to Oscar at April’s Icons of Dubai Golf Championship at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club