The fight is set and ready to go. Mayweather announced earlier that he had signed the contract and, in so doing, demonstrated that Pac met his every pre-fight demand. When it comes to the fight itself, the one thing he wants most desperately however – win number 48; he simply will not get. While there were reports that there is a rematch clause, other more timely reports indicate that there is no such stipulation. While so-called experts are picking the self-styled best ever to win, those who actually pay attention to details are going with Pacquiao. The lack of a rematch clause notwithstanding, Mayweather will surely demand a rematch after his sure-in-coming first official loss (in the real world, he actually lost to Castillo in their first fight).
The odds currently being posted by Vegas bookies have Mayweather as the clear favorite. The house, in posting odds and taking bets, clearly makes its own bet and the house in this case is betting heavily on a Mayweather win. Historically, Pacquiao fans have put their money where their heart is and have bet heavily on Pacman to win. Vegas bookies see Money May as a great source of income and are themselves putting their money where their, well, lust for money is.
The problem for bookies, at least as far as this fight is concerned, is that they are listening to the wrong people, including ESPN’s Dan Rafael and Teddy Atlas. There is so much hype surrounding the name Floyd Mayweather Jr. that the process involved in odds-making/handicapping for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has become flawed. In many boxing circles, one hears the constant refrain that the Mayweather train is over-hyped and under-rationalized. Whether this is envy or not, what people are forgetting is that Pacquiao has a skill set that does not just match up well with Mayweather but one that clearly, in terms of mechanics and technique, should dominate the squared circle.
Make no mistake, the fight is taking place now rather than five years ago because Mayweather and his trainers knew first-hand the danger a prime Pacquiao presented to Mayweather. In fact, they know this so well today, that after the fight was settled upon there were rumblings within the Money Team that, despite the lack of a rematch clause, if Mayweather is in fact hit with his first loss, they will demand a rematch. The rematch clause was left out for public-relations purposes as the Money Team ultimately did not want to invite the perception of weakness. Despite this PR stunt, there is a palpable fear of losing.
According to Mayweather himself, his trainers and past promoter, Bob Arum, Money May was historically steered away from lefties. Those lefties he did fight presented him with significant problems. Whether it was Chop-Chop Corley or Zab Judah, both perplexed Mayweather to the point that he had to adjust on the fly and while he was successful in so doing, it was obvious that had either fighter been of a higher caliber both may well have beaten him. Enter Pacquiao – who is a lefty but also has the ability to move from left-to-right, right-to-left, in-and-out, out-then-in and all the while throwing bombs that come from all angles as well as from below and from above. By most accounts, Pac is faster than Mayweather and as such will be first to the target.
While many are citing Mayweather’s bravery for finally taking this fight, it is clear that the only reason he signed on the dotted line was because he felt that with his own career winding down, and with a perception that Pacman had himself slowed down; thus fighting with less intensity and power, that it was now safer to go ahead and take the fight. The problem with this particular mindset is that while the power is not what it once was, Pacquiao has actually become a more cerebral fighter, one who sees the lay of the land better and as such is able to adjust more consistently to the tone and tenor of a given fight.
The conundrum for Mayweather is that his particular fighting style, the shoulder roll, is calculated to defend against orthodox fighters and is rendered vulnerable by an orthodox fighter jabbing with a different hand, and whose power punches come from the other side. Money’s reputation cannot fight for him and no odds-making bookie can make Mayweather into a new fighter, somehow miraculously getting him to parry or avoid punches coming in bunches from angles little Floyd has never seen in all his years of fighting.
Indeed, high profile critics of Pac’s chances notwithstanding, come May 2, Money May will find himself in deep water facing a fighter that has the ability to bring to the table an offensive strategy that will confuse, befuddle and ultimately undo him. For those who imagine otherwise and bet accordingly, they will surely come to regret seeing Mayweather as the Money Team’s own hype-machine depicts him. A bet on Mayweather is, for all intents and purposes, not just a false hope but a false bill of goods. Betting Filipinos around the world will break the house as they are fully poised to hear, in the aftermath of the blood-letting, Mayweather demand a rematch after his first loss. After the beat-down, one wonders what the odds will be come November.
Commentary by Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: The Daily Sports Herald Flickr License