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Who will win? Pacquiao or Mayweather?
The basic truth of the matter is that there is no right or wrong answer.
Until the two ultimately face each other to settle the score inside the boxing ring, this will be an ongoing argument in barber shops, boxing gyms, boxing forums, and everywhere in between.
It's a matter of preference and opinion, and is the very reason why there's so much clamor for this fight. Several people stand by their passionate beliefs, while others simply insist on witnessing two of the greatest answer the lingering question in the ring--while they are both still in their prime.
Pacquiao's opponent on June 9, Timothy Bradley said:
"Mayweather is smart. He’s a very smart fighter. He’s very fast. He’s clever at what he does. He’s the best at it. That’s why I think he’s better than Pacquiao. I mean, I would love to see the fight. Pacquiao, I think, will still give him a great fight. But I just think that Mayweather is very smart, man. He’s a very smart, intelligent fighter."
I have not the gall to question Bradley's expert opinion. Bradley is a high character guy, and is a World Champion who has mastered the art of the sweet science through years and years of practice. Yes, Mayweather is indeed a true genius inside the ring. Real recognize real.
However, it's tough to discount Pacquiao's will―when it's there.
Pacquiao's speed and power are well recognized. He's not a slouch when it comes to boxing skills either, despite some chinks in his armor. He has weaknesses, yes. Juan Manuel Marquez has shown how to rattle, and frustrate him and take him out of his rhythm. But when he's completely focused, and determined, he's nothing short of a phenomenon in the ring.
The knock on Pacquiao is that Mayweather can outsmart him. This is true, especially if you judge Pacquiao based on his 2011 campaign. It's just that it's hard to discount the fact Pacquiao has the ability to get things together, when he's completely focused.
I do believe Pacquiao was not completely focused in 2011, and had plenty distractions that took him out of his optimal fighting capabilities. That's not an excuse, just an observation.
Styles do make fights, but when the guy is clicking, he has shown the ability to force his style on his opponents. His victories over Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, and Marquez weren't flukes (the second win vs. Marquez is debatable). It's a mere credit to Marquez's own brilliance together with trainer Ignacio Beristain, that they figured out a near perfect gameplan to beat Pacquiao in their third fight.
If a 100% and focused Pacquiao (a Pacquiao we have not seen in a while in my opinon) shows up to fight Mayweather when the time comes, I truly can't say Mayweather beats him. Flip a coin. This fight can go either way.
I definitely believe this fight will happen, and that it is essential for the sport of boxing for it to happen. It's that rare time when boxing can showcase it's true essence as practiced by two of its greatest, who could not be any more different in their approach of the sweet science. A lot of things that generate chatter in sports are built around exaggerated hype. Not this.
And while many have been suckered into being concerned about drug testing, money split, and comparisons regarding this fight, my concern lies elsewhere. I wouldn't even worry about each fighter's focus when this fight comes. These are two elite athletes. Nothing can get them any more focused than the scent of a true challenge.
My main concerns for this match-up would be two things: First, the size of the ring. And last, the size of each fighter's heart when things don't go their way.
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- dSG -
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