As reported earlier there is a well-defined strategy in place for Money May’s upcoming fight with Manny Pacquiao. Upon review, many see in the fight blueprint, including elements within the Mayweather camp itself, a dangerous philosophy and practical aspect that puts Money May at serious risk.
Amidst a climate of secrecy Mayweather and his trainers have been working on a strategy that involves an initial feeling-out period intended to last at least one round and perhaps a portion of round two. During this period Money May will essentially get a sense of Pac’s rhythm, track the number, speed and power of his punches including the relative position those punches are thrown from. There will then come a point where Mayweather will time Pac’s rushes and position himself to counter with dramatic authority and power.
The problem in the strategy however is that, when one takes into account Money May’s brittle hands, with his right hand particularly susceptible to injury with solid impact, and his now dubious leg strength, Mayweather will be forced to stand and fight. While Money is the world’s most accomplished defensive technician, arguably the best the sport has ever seen, his strategy is completely reliant on the proper execution of the shoulder roll. The hope is that Pacquiao will find himself swinging at air and when he does make contact it will be with only arms and shoulders, non-scoring blows.
But herein lies the rub, that is, Mayweather and his team of trainers are banking on the fact that Pacman will run out of gas as Mayweather draws him into shooting his load during the first half of each round. The camp projection is that Mayweather will let Pacquiao swing freely with the occasional right-hand pot shot on top or from underneath, then as Pac slows down Money will clean up in the last 45-60 seconds of each round. Who is judging the fight and their relative scoring philosophy will play big in determining who has done enough to win a given round. The hope is to, like Ali of old, steal a few rounds along the way.
George Forman for one sees this as risky strategy as he sees Pacquiao banking the first number of rounds making it difficult to catch up as the fight proceeds. Oscar De La Hoya sees it in the same terms as he feels that in having to fight from behind Money May will have to turn into the aggressor later in the fight thereby shifting the balance of power to a strong finishing Pacquiao.
The Mayweather camp is well advised to the dangerous aspects of a fight blueprint that puts Money May at serious risk in this regard but sees the approach as a necessary evil. The pot-shotting strategy, they will admit, will work as long as Money May’s right hand stays healthy. Forman suggested that, from what he knows about Mayweather’s right hand, it will not sustain integrity through a series of rounds where it is employed with impunity.
Another extremely risky aspect of the Mayweather strategy is the notion that Money May can draw Pacquiao into throwing such a high volume of punches that he tires out. Pacquiao camp elements including comprehensive coverage of same by a very competent and objective Philippine press corps indicate that Pacquiao is not only in good shape but is in perhaps the best shape of his boxing career. The erstwhile congressman from Sarangani Province, it has been reported, will be more than happy to oblige Mayweather in those moments where Money needs to give his tired legs a break. Pac himself has expressed glee at the prospects of destroying the vaunted Mayweather shoulder roll with high volume strategic punches.
Pacquiao has reportedly been studying film on Mayweather and is personally convinced that he has the skill-set to break the shoulder-roll and leave Money May exposed to a fast-in-coming fusillade of power punches the likes of which the self-styled best-ever has never experienced in his vaunted career. To sit back, in strategic fashion, and allow someone like Pacquiao to tee off on him is beyond dangerous, it is, to many observers, foolhardy. And while Freddie Roach admits that Mayweather has a world-class chin and the thinking power of a well-seasoned veteran, he knows that the head and body are not built to take the kind of punishment an incredibly fast and free punching Pacquiao can and will deliver.
While De La Hoya claims to have discovered the blueprint to beat Money May, through liberal use of the set-up jab, Roach feels like the strategy needs to go well beyond that. And while he remains secretive about the ultimate strategy Pacquiao will employ, it looks as if the Money May blueprint is leaving a number of holes they plan to exploit. While Roach admires the overall Mayweather skill-set he is quick to note that Pacquiao has the x-factor, or intangibles like heart that will allow him to push through any obstacle Mayweather presents.
In the end, it is this x-factor and heart of a lion that may well prove the end of Mayweather’s so admired undefeated record. If Mayweather is expecting Pacquiao to tire of pounding on him, it may well turn out to be the longest and most painful night of his life. Indeed, as the Mayweather camp divulges its fight blueprint, the dangerous aspects of same not only puts a Money May victory at serious risk, but also appears to put the health of a man who values health beyond even that of his estimable wealth at risk.
Commentary By Matthew R. Fellows