The first showdown between boxing legends Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao didn’t quite live up to the hype. “Money” Mayweather kept his unblemished record intact and both fighters got paid, but did anyone truly win?
Boxing bettors who backed Manny Pacquiao sure didn’t. Anyone using a boxing betting guide probably should have known not to bet hard on the underdog here, but the upside was so alluring.
Fans and bettors arguably came away as losers in this one. Floyd Mayweather Jr., in more ways than one, most certainly did not.
He earned a relatively dominant decision, while simultaneously topping the last remaining legit challenge in his way.
Pacquiao was his only peer left that he really had to tame and with an elite defensive showing, he lulled viewers to sleep, got past “Pac Man” and cemented his legacy.
Both fighters regressed from there as far as media attention and individual accomplishments go. Mayweather resorted to weird fights like taking on MMA superstar Conor McGregor and Manny Pacquiao would later lose his WBO welterweight title to Jeff Horn.
Regardless, neither of these fighters have anything left to prove. They’re both distinguished champions and at 42 and 40 years old, respectively, could fade into the abyss that is retirement and nobody would chastise them for it.
But that just isn’t who they are.
Because of Pacquiao’s interest in attempting to hand Mayweather his first loss and Mayweather’s desire to always make more money, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2 could actually happen. I know a lot of people wonder if it’d even matter at this point or if we’d get a better fight.
What I want to know is if Pacquiao could actually shock the world and win. He wasn’t able to do that the first time around and the odds are he’d need to score a knockout to make it happen.
But could he? Maybe, and here’s three reasons why.
Manny’s Power is Still There
If you go back and watch the first fight between these two guys, there are several spots where Manny is either set up to get some good shots in, or he actually gets them. In rounds 4-5 he is in position to do some damage, but Mayweather is such an amazing defensive fighter that this tiny window evaporates quickly.
Pacquiao reminded us again of what he’s capable of three years after this bout, when he TKO’d Lucas Matthysse. I know, doing that against Mayweather is something else entirely, but Pacquiao still packs a powerful punch and doesn’t have 39 career KO wins for nothing.
The knockouts have waned over the years for both fighters, but if Pacquiao gets this rematch and is to win, that’s probably the route he needs to take.
Manny Knows Floyd Better Now
It’s one thing to be a great fighter, win titles, have an amazing record and have the talent to go toe-to-toe with one of the best talents in the industry. It’s often another to actually capitalize on all of that and take that guy out.
This is one big reason why boxing upsets at a really high level can be hard to come by. We even saw it not too long ago when Canelo Alvarez and GGG faced off. Controversial or not, the first fight ended in a draw. The second time around, though, we finally got a winner.
But it didn’t come via knockout.
My guess is that will need to happen for Manny to score a win in any potential rematch, but the nice thing is he’s danced around the ring with Mayweather for 12 full rounds now. He knows firsthand how he likes to fight, what types of angles he prefers to take, how much he’ll actually box and what openings he might leave.
If Pacquiao learned anything from the ample amount of time he spent in a ring with Mayweather, he could use it to his advantage and potentially exploit a major flaw to Mayweather’s game that nobody has been able to yet.
After all, Mayweather is notorious for getting off to slow starts in bouts. If his defense isn’t locked in and he leaves an opening, who is to say “Pac Man” couldn’t get him with one good punch?
Age is a Heck of a Thing
Finally, the simple fact that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is older, boxing less than he did in his prime and prone to diminished skills may open the door to one big punch that kills his mystique.
Of all the things that could give Manny Pacquiao an edge in a rematch, this is the big one for me. As you age, your vision can worsen, your reaction timing isn’t as good, and your general athleticism can regress.
Mayweather is a fiend when it comes to quickness, endurance, toughness and mental aptitude. You’d have to be to constantly absorb punishment, all too often know where to be and what angle to take and to outsmart your opponent with such glaring accuracy.
Pacquiao isn’t the better fighter, but he could end up being patient enough to exploit the one weakness even Mayweather doesn’t seem to be embracing; that father time catches up with everyone.