More than a month after the eight-division titlist was rendered unconscious by a spectacular overhand right thrown by WBO “Champion of the Decade” Juan Manuel Marquez, former two-weight world titleholder Bernard Hopkins believes a bout pitting Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao would be an uninteresting mismatch favoring the “Pretty Boy.”
During their fourth savage affair, Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) was knocked onto Queer Street by the 39-year-old Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) at 2:59 of the sixth round.
In a genuinely scary scene, “The Fighting Pride of the Philippines,” who had controversially earned a draw and two conquests over the ballooned Mexican since their first meeting in May 2004, remained motionless on the canvas for several minutes.
"That type of knockout...that was 10 fights for Pacquiao," said Hopkins, 48, a reformed ex-convict who outmanned Jean Pascal in May 2011 to earn a unanimous decision victory and become, at 46, the oldest man to capture a major belt. "The way Pacquiao got hit - he jumped into the punch trying to hit Marquez - he was knocked out before he hit the canvas. It takes a lot out of a fighter when you get hit that way. I'll be surprised if he fights more than one time, and it will probably be with Marquez - and that's the only fight that I can say that he should fight. The way he got knocked out, it's hard to recover, spiritually, emotionally and physically - mentally it's definitely a challenge."
The 34-year-old Pacquiao, who pocketed in excess of $20 million for what amounted to his second consecutive defeat, had floored Marquez in the fifth and was leading 47-46 on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the knockout.
Predictably, Pacquiao’s promoter, corruptible weasel Bob Arum, is determined to cement a fifth bout between the Filipino and Marquez for September.
Comparatively, provided the 35-year-old Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) outclasses current interim WBC welterweight king Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Pretty Boy” is expected to throw fists with Mexican superstar and WBC light middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 14.
Hopkins (52-6-2-2, 32 KOs), who could break his own mark with a win over IBF light heavyweight royalty Tavoris Cloud on March 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, detailed how Mayweather would have handled Mayweather.
"It wouldn't have been a fight where Mayweather would have had his way,” said Hopkins, who safeguarded his middleweight crown a record 20 straight times from 1995 through 2005.
“It would be easy pickings for Floyd Mayweather. I picked Floyd Mayweather to win before the knockout. Now if they fought - which I don't see happening - Floyd Mayweather would make it even easier than I predicted the first time. Pacquiao could get hit - he didn't have the best defense. He didn't overwhelm guys when he was knocking them out. He out-punched them, he outworked them, and he really beat these guys down. Mayweather keeps his chin tucked - [he has] what I consider one of the best defenses in the world. You rarely see Floyd Mayweather or Bernard Hopkins get hit with a flush three, four, five-punch combinations - and that's one of the reasons I'm still here. Pacquiao jumped [at Marquez] trying to throw a left hand and paid the ultimate price. You never throw a punch and leave your feet. He's not Superman."
Mike Cappiello, a native of “The City of Champions” who once fought for the IBO super featherweight title and retired with an impressive mark of 33-6, has the utmost respect for Hopkins.
“Hopkins is not in it for the money,” said Cappiello, the owner of Cappiello Brothers Boxing gym in Brockton. “He loves to fight.”
As an individual who “loves to fight,” Hopkins will trump Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) and remain an active boxing icon following his clash this spring.
Taking “The Executioner’s” advice, Manny Pacquiao should seriously consider Bernard Hopkins’ words and be wary of how such a ring savagery can flatten a man “spiritually, emotionally and physically.”