Latest news out of the Las Vegas-based Mayweather camp is two-fold as the game-plan or blueprint for the coming Pacquiao fight emerges while trainers and body-guards alike are miffed at the recent UFC-sourced series of insults.
According to camp insiders the game plan for the May 2 fight is rather simple and straight-forward. Recent media sites have been running with the story that, as per Floyd Sr’s comment, Money May will go after Pac’s body. Insiders see this as Floyd Sr’s attempt at disinformation as they would never, ever go public with their game plan. While for some the reference will get lost in its subtlety, the plan, quite simply, is for Floyd Jr. to think his was to victory. That is, the expectation, per recent Pacquiao and Roach references, is that Pac will come out swinging and establish an unusually quick pace. Mayweather is being counseled to let the first round play out and thereby get a first-hand sense of Pacquiao’s relative speed and power. Money will then kick into a more proactionary mode as he works off of what Pac is offering up. The emphasis in camp has been establishing Mayweather as the classic counter-puncher. The fact that Marquez knocked Pacman down twice in their last fight has played heavily in this camp.
In camp special emphasis has been placed on Pac’s tendency to over-commit and leave himself open to quick counter-shots. Alex Ariza, former Pacquiao strength and conditioning trainer, has been quick to underscore Pac’s in-fight tendencies in this regard and despite Floyd Sr’s selfish attack on Ariza, the conditioning coach has indeed played a pivotal role in camp. As Money times Pac’s aggressive rushes the hope is that he can discover for himself Pac’s rhythm and thereby seek to set him up with strategic feints followed by quick right-hand pot-shots and quick side-to-side movement exposing the undefended left or right side of Pacquiao’s head and torso. Upon exposing Pac’s head and body the camp is working on rapid left-hooks to the body followed by sudden left hooks to the head followed by well-placed power right-hands to the head.
It is in this fashion that come rounds four or five, Mayweather will have established control with sudden bursts of fire-power. Because Mayweather’s legs are not what they used to be trainers have been emphasizing the importance of the shoulder-roll as it will enable the self styled best-ever to find strategic rest as well as overwork Pacquiao who will hopefully tire of throwing punches and perhaps get a little frustrated along the way. The fight plan is as simple as that but with the intangible that is Pacquiao’s heart, there is the recognition that Money needs to be in shape to work this plan for twelve full rounds and adjust where necessary along the way. By all Mayweather camp accounts, as the fight blueprint emerges, despite somewhat brittle hands and loss of leg strength, Mayweather looks to be in top-notch condition.
A second less important and political bit of news is coming out of the Mayweather camp. It would appear that camp elements are not well pleased by the recent calling out of Mayweather by UFC elements and the piling on by one Dana White. The feeling is that UFC brass and fighters are taking liberties with Mayweather and are demonstrating their envy of him personally rather than engaging in an objective assessment and appreciation of Mayweather’s skills and what he has done for combat sports. The constant haranguing of Mayweather and of boxing generally is seen as disrespectful as boxing laid the groundwork for every success UFC has had in recent years.
Off-the-record sentiment is being expressed that if given loud-mouthed UFC fighters were to actually find themselves in a genuine, hood-driven street fight, the relatively civilized and rule-based octagon would give way to the genuine article and the typical loud-mouthed UFC braggart would find himself in a discomfort zone crying for momma. Dana White himself has become relative invective within these circles as he is a boxing guy turned MMA guy forgetting what positioned himself for a shot at the big time in the first place.
All the politics and rancor between the Mayweather Camp and UFC aside, as the fight blueprint emerges, Pacquiao, Roach and their erstwhile fans worldwide can know what to expect come May 2. While Mayweather will not be running, it looks like he will stand and fight, hoping to counter-punch his way to victory.
Commentary By Matthew R. Fellows