Manny’s right will be crucial weapon

Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Former two-time world boxing champion Gerry Peñalosa pointed to Manny Pacquiao’s right hand to be a vital weapon in breaking down Floyd Mayweather’s vaunted shoulder-roll defense when they face off to unify the WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight titles at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2.

Peñalosa and Star writer Joaquin Henson were invited to speak about the coming Fight of the Century before the Consular Corps of the Philippines during its regular monthly meeting at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last Wednesday. Foreign diplomats from the embassies of the US, Canada, Japan and Argentina, among others, were in the audience that included Filipino consuls Perry Pe of Denmark, Oscar de Venecia of Ukraine, Jack Rodriguez of Serbia, Tony Rufino of Portugal, Betty Ang Chua of Tanzania, Lito Jimenez of Timor Leste, Fausto Preysler of Costa Rica, Josefina Ortigas de Duarte of El Salvador, Evie Costa of Togo, Johnny Rocha of Chile, Agnes Huibonhoa of Gambia, Fortune Ledesma of Monaco, Dr. George Yang of Eritrea, Vince Carlos of the Ivory Coast and Raffy Evangelista of Lithuania. The meeting was presided by Consular Corps Dean Tetsuro Amano, deputy chief of mission and consul general of Japan.

Peñalosa said he expects Pacquiao to lead off with the right hand to the head, follow up with a left straight or hook or uppercut then slide towards Mayweather’s left before the American throws a right counter while digging a right to the side of the body. “Manny’s right could be a jab, hook, cross or even an uppercut,” said Peñalosa. “As a southpaw, Manny’s right is closer to Mayweather than his left. Manny is too quick for Mayweather. I think Mayweather has slowed down, his legs are old. I saw how (Marcos) Madiana hit him when they fought last year and Maidana’s slow. If a slow fighter like Maidana can hit Mayweather, a quick fighter like Manny will find it easy to do the same.”

Peñalosa predicted Pacquiao to win and it could be by a knockout. “Manny could fight as a lightwelterweight if he wants to but fighting as a welterweight isn’t a problem,” said Peñalosa. “Remember that Manny beat Antonio Margarito in a superwelterweight fight. Manny’s an exception to the rule. He’s the only fighter in history to win world titles in eight different divisions. What drives Manny is his love for our country. He fights for all Filipinos. It’s what makes him different. That’s why he’s a hero.”

Peñalosa said there is no rematch clause but he anticipates Mayweather knocking on Pacquiao’s door after the bout. “For this fight, Mayweather’s calling the shots, including the distribution of tickets,” said Peñalosa. “That’s because he’s the lead promoter. When Manny wins, you can be sure Mayweather will want a rematch which might be an even bigger fight in terms of purses and pay-per-view income. But Manny will be calling the shots for the rematch.”

Facts and figures related to the fight were presented to the audience. The consensus was it will break several records, including the 2.4 million pay-per-view hits set by Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya in 2007, the $150 Million pay-per-view revenues for Mayweather’s fight against Saul Alvarez in 2013 and the $20 Million gate for the Mayweather-Alvarez match in the same venue. Two months ago, Mayweather was tabbed a 2 1/2-1 favorite but the other day, the odds were down to 2-1.

In the latest betting line, a $100 wager for Pacquiao to win will earn $170 while a $210 wager on Mayweather will gain $100. It used to be $100 for Pacquiao to win $235 and $275 for Mayweather to win $100. The bets dictate the odds and it’s possible that with more money placed on Pacquiao as the fight nears, the line might end up even.

A discussion on the fighters’ records revealed that while Pacquiao is two years younger, he has compiled more bouts, 64 to 47, more rounds fought, 407 to 363 and more KOs, 38 to 26. Pacquiao’s KO rate is 66.7 percent compared to Mayweather’s 55.3 percent. Pacquiao has scored 18 KOs inside three rounds while Mayweather only 11.

Based on their last fights, Mayweather’s average connect rate was 13.8 punches a round compared to Pacquiao’s 19.1. Mayweather, however, was more accurate, landing 51 percent to Pacquiao’s 34 percent. Pacquiao piles up points as a volume puncher while Mayweather is a net gainer because he’s elusive and hard to hit.

Regarding physical attributes, Mayweather enjoys a five-inch reach advantage. What is striking is Pacquiao’s wrist size of eight inches which is the same as Joe Louis and Mike Tyson. Mayweather’s wrist size is seven inches. While Pacquiao packs more power in his punches, Mayweather’s chin appears to be stronger. Mayweather has taken the mandatory eight-count only once in a fluke knockdown against Carlos Hernandez in 2001 while Pacquiao has been floored nine times. However, experts claim Mayweather has never fought anyone who’s as quick and as hard a hitter as Pacquiao.

A poll was taken on which fighter has the edge in 20 factors of consequence and the Consular Corps picked Pacquiao over Mayweather, 9 to 8 with three even. The Corps chose Pacquiao over Mayweather in power, corner, footwork, quickness, workrate, experience, motivation, stamina and artillery. Mayweather was picked to have the edge in defense, jab, accuracy, intelligence, chin, balance, mid-ring fighting and off-the-ropes fighting. They were voted even in making mid-fight adjustments, set-ups and ability to absorb blows in the midsection.

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