Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao each have an upcoming fight on the radar, and within a span of three weeks, offering yet another opportunity to gauge their performances and see where they stand today. On April 12, Pacquiao gets his rematch against Timothy Bradley, and on May 3, Mayweather takes on Marcos Maidana. So which man will impress his fans more?
The Pacquiao vs. Bradley Rematch
The Pacquiao vs. Bradley II event is an odd one. The whole world — minus the three men who were actually paid to judge the bout — believes that Pacquiao defeated Bradley in their first encounter. Yet, Bradley had his hand raised, which means that he’s technically looking to settle the score of a fight he already won with relative ease.
Bradley is looking to hush up the critics and finally earn some respect. His “win” over Pacquiao netted him nothing. In fact, the backlash was so severe that it actually hindered his career momentum, whereas a loss against Pacquiao would have allowed him to carry on without any issue. In this way, each has a point to prove.
Since their first encounter, Pacquiao was brutally knocked out against rival Juan Manuel Marquez. He took a year away from the ring before returning with a win over the outgunned Brandon Rios. For his part, Bradley earned a hard-fought decision over Marquez this past October, after surviving a war against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Given their recent endeavors, there’s legitimate reason to question if perhaps the gap between Pacquiao and Bradley has closed, and if this time, Bradley may actually be able to earn a legitimate victory.
Worse for Pacquiao is that the circumstances from this fight offer him little way to truly shine. He needs to be even more convincing than he was in their first fight, and really needs to score a decisive stoppage if he wants to come out ahead. A close win in his favor, or a questionable one, actually detracts from his standing more than the tarnish of the unjust loss from their first fight. For Bradley, it’s the opposite — he has nowhere to go but up.
I predict that Pacquiao will get the win and set the record straight on April 12. However, it’s going to be a closer, tougher fight than the first match, which means that despite the win, Pacquiao’s performance won’t be seen as particularly impressive.
Mayweather vs. Maidana
The Mayweather Sweepstakes went on, and on, and on, for the past few months, with the fate of Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana and others left twisting in the wind. Mayweather eventually settled on the Argentinean knockout artist, and it was the right choice given these two particular options. Maidana is coming off a high-profile win over Adrien Broner, whereas Amir Khan has failed to reestablish himself as a top fighter after suffering back to back defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.
Mayweather has fought Maidana’s type before — the aggressive and hard-charging, slugger. This contrast in styles usually allows Mayweather to put on one of his typical master-level boxing clinics.
He’s simply too far skilled, too finely-tuned, too quick and intelligent, to be pinned down by most such fighters. However, there’s at least the idea, the oft-touted puncher’s chance, that Maidana could land a shot which changes the fight and changes the story of Mayweather’s entire career.
We’ve seen before that it’s possible to catch up with Mayweather, especially in the first few rounds of a fight. This is the chance which Maidana needs to exploit. He needs to come out with a furious assault to try to make his mark, or else he faces the same fate as all others — a heavy dose of jabs and lead rights, thrown from a safe distance, which gradually discourage you, slow you down, and end your evening via shutout unanimous decision defeat.
Expect Mayweather to seamlessly play matador to Maidana’s bull, and go onto the exact type of aforementioned victory. It won’t be an unusual sight for Mayweather, and it won’t be amongst the best wins of his career, but the sheer level of dominance over the guy who just beat down Mayweather’s supposed heir apparent will be impressive nonetheless.
Pacquiao and Mayweather will both come out victorious in their next matches. I expect Mayweather to be more clearly dominant, and without the comparison of a controversial first fight, to come out farther ahead than the Filipino icon.
At which point, we’ll be the ones left twisting in the wind, for what must be the 10th or 12th time over a period of four or five years, wondering if we can ever quit all of this relatively meaningless verbal comparison and analysis and finally see an actual Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight in the squared circle. Hope you’re not counting on that.