Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Floyd aggressively brawls and Manny moves and boxes?Written by Leroy Cleveland
Conventional wisdom tells us when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2, the former will look to use his boxing ability, precision punching and defensive prowess while the latter will attempt to use his aggression, punching power and footwork effectively trap his elusive opponent and land thudding powershots.
(Image courtesy of Crown Boxing)
But conventional wisdom sometimes gets trumped by unconventional reality.
As a matter of fact, we witnessed a complete reversal of form in a fight with many parallels to Mayweather vs Pacquiao.
In 1981, the world's best fighters, also welterweights, faced one another in an epic battle for the ages. The consummate boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard, faced the explosive, hard-punching Thomas Hearns.
Prior to that bout, conventional wisdom told us that fight would be determined by the speed and boxing prowess of Leonard and the punching power and aggression of Hearns. Conventional wisdom also told us Leonard would have to outbox Hearns to win while the 'Hitman' would have to cut the ring off, impede Sugar Ray's mobility and use his reach advantage to land bombs.
What happened in that fight surprised us all.
Ultimately, the outcome was determined by the power of Sugar Ray Leonard who, from the mid rounds to the fight's conclusion in Round 14, stalked the powerful Hearns who opted to uncharacteristically move and box from a distance going forward.
Why the reversal of form?
The bout started true to form as both fighters assumed their respective roles. However, Leonard fell behind early and became desperate while Hearns, after nearly being decapitated by a Sugar Ray uppercut in Round 6, chose to play it safe and box Ray from a distance.
In that fight, we learned that Sugar Ray Leonard could brawl and press the action far better than many of us realized. We also learned when he sat on his punches, he unleashed shots with great force. As for Hearns, he was far more polished than many had given him credit for, winning most of the exchanges early on and often outboxing the boxer.
In the end, Sugar Ray would hurt Hearns in Round 13 before forcing the referee to halt the action in the subsequent round.
Will we see a 'reversal of form' in Mayweather vs Pacquiao too?
Both fighters can do it all in the ring. We've seen Floyd be an effective aggressor and Manny a poised, slick, hit-and-don't-be-hit boxer.
Don't be surprised if Floyd attempts to walk down Manny in this fight, especially if PacMan carries the first three rounds or is believed to be well ahead at any point.
Would Floyd be able to catch Manny if the latter became the matador?