Almanac Boxing – Mayweather v Pacquiao: Trying to hit smoke

Money – Pretty Boy – The Best Ever


It is impossible to hit smoke.  You might disperse it but it makes no difference.  You can move and wave at it but smoke envelopes you and penetrates you.


Floyd Mayweather moves like smoke.  When he sees an inch of an opening, his punches are smoke, breaking through the defence.  He is obscenely accurate.  Opponents don’t see the punches, they feel them.


Defensively, Mayweather uses imperceptible shoulder movement and upper body movement, taking short steps forward and sideways.  He slips punches without effort.


Mayweather is right there in front.  He can’t be hit to the head or body.


The only time Mayweather has been knocked down was in 2001 by Carlos Hernandez.  It was barely a knockdown.  Through 47 fights, Mayweather has never been seriously hurt.


Even when Shane Mosley belted him with a big right hand, Mayweather jittered, took a misstep.  Mosley whacked him again, driving Mayweather backwards.


Mosley pounced.  Mayweather stayed in range.  Nothing else landed.


Mayweather has a solid chin.  Despite several close decisions, he hasn’t looked like losing a professional fight.


Minimalist by movement, built by smoke.  Reflected by mirrors.  Mayweather is unbeaten wizardry.


I have never seen a boxer so sublime, so unhittable.  His anticipation is extraordinary, as is his accuracy.  Mayweather is the best pure boxer, hit and not get hit, I have ever seen.


As a lightweight, he was routinely knocking people out.  He hasn’t carried that power to welterweight, and seems much more content to win easy points decisions.


He’s not the most exciting fighter to watch.


He’s also an impossible loud mouth, obnoxious.  Mayweather flaunts his wealth and taunts his opponents and denigrates past champions.  This part of his persona is too consistent to be an act.


While his record is filled with a lot of great fighters, he’s been exceptionally managed.  When Mayweather fights, everything is in his favour.  He might’ve fought the best but they were usually older or shot as fighters.  Younger opponents are obviously overmatched, which is hard because Mayweather is so good.


He is 38-years old with a record of 47-0 with 26 knockouts.  He’s short, standing 173 centimetres.  If he wins two more fights without a loss, he’ll equal Rocky Marciano’s unblemished record.  Marciano remains the only heavyweight champion in history to retire undefeated.


Mayweather, despite not being a heavyweight, wants to retire on 49-0 too, which is why he’s been padding his record all these years.




Manny Pacquiao is a declared living treasure in the Philippines.  He’s a two-term congressman.  Life wasn’t always so grand.  He grew up in poverty, beginning his professional career at 16 and weighing about 45 kilograms.


He’s short too at 165 centimetres.  His first 34 fights were in the Philippines and Thailand before he came to America, fighting as a super-bantamweight.


Through boxing he became rich.  For several years he was the best fighter in the world.


But he is fallible.  Pacquiao has a stellar record, 55-5 with 38 knockouts.  Of his losses, he’s been knocked out three times.  He explained one loss on the fact he hadn’t eaten in days, and was using the money he earned from the fight to feed his family.


He used to be a two-bit fighter, throwing a right jab followed by a left hook.  He was limited until he hooked up with Freddie Roach.


Their partnership took time but Roach turned Pacquiao into an unbeatable, swarming battalion.  Pacquiao’s jab was swift like a flick of the tongue.  He developed a snapping right hook and a deadly straight left.


He started knocking men out or beating them up.


When Pacquiao was the best fighter in the world, the world wanted to see him fight Mayweather.  Negotiations began.  It was five years ago.


Mayweather was tough on the negotiations.  He accused Pacquiao of using performance enhancing drugs and insisted on Olympic-style drug tests.


Pacquiao sued Mayweather for defamation and won.  In disgust, he refused the testing.


They began fighting with lawyers and words.


The world waited.  Mayweather offered Pacquiao $40 million to fight.  Pacquiao refused.  On Sunday, Mayweather will earn $120 million.  Pacquiao will earn $80 million.


The world waits no more.


Is it good against evil?


Though a fight like this barely needs a moniker, one is easily bestowed.  Mayweather is brash, arrogant and disrespectful.


He he has belted women and spent time in prison for it.  It makes him a grub.


If Mayweather was playing a team sport, chances are he’d be banned for life.  Belting your partner in front of your kids is unforgivable.  But this is boxing, where virtually no standards is the standard.


And there are miracles in the ring.  Plenty of former champions and fighters have served time in prison for armed robbery, assault, rape and murder.


Boxing seems to be the only redemptive sport for violent men.  It matters not what you do, so long as you can fight and you’re not in prison.


Everyone deserves a second chance.  But second chances carry baggage.  Which is why Mayweather might be favourite to win but isn’t a fan favourite.


The richest fight in the world


Pacquiao is a high-pressure southpaw.  He is a swarmer, a volume puncher.  He is nothing like anyone Mayweather has ever fought.  Mayweather, for all his unflustered cool, is nothing like anyone Pacquiao has ever fought.


Mayweather isn’t a hard hitter.  He doesn’t force the action, preferring to counter-punch and throw flashy combinations.  He’s 38-year old.  That’s old for a fighter and he has been less active in recent fights.


Pacquiao is 36-years old but he will dictate the pace.  He has the better power but his big punches might not find Mayweather’s chin.  He won’t stop throwing them, which will open up his chin.


Four fights ago Pacquiao ended up on his face, bleeding into the canvas, after being knocked out in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez.  His chin is not as sound as Mayweather’s.


If anyone gets knocked out or stopped, it’ll be Pacquiao.


Despite the vulnerability, don’t expect a knockout.  Neither man has knocked anyone out for years.  Pacquiao has gone nine fights without a knockout, Mayweather five.


Most people expect it to go the distance with Mayweather winning on points.  He’s too skilled to get beat up and too skilled to try and knock Pacquiao out.


Don’t blame Mayweather if that happens.  It is how he fights.


But I want this fight to be compelling.  I want these men to understand their responsibility to ensure the richest fight in history is one of the best fights in history.


It must live up to the hype.


About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Chalkdog says

    Pub in deep west of Melbourne offering “American and Malaysian snacks” during fight. Sums it up for me. I hope it lives up to the April.

  2. Chalkdog says

    Damn autocorrect. Spruik not April.

Leave a Comment