Duke Debates: The case for Manny Pacquiao

Zach Brendza | Associate Editor

Manny Pacquiao may not be the favored fighter going into his fight with Floyd Mayweather on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but that doesn’t mean the result is predetermined.

The odds out of Vegas, according to Odd Shark, have Pacquiao as an underdog, ranging from +175 to +225, depending on what site you check. In short, if you put $100 on Pac Man, you would earn a payout between $175 and $225. This isn’t exactly a David versus Goliath situation, but Mayweather is heavily favored.

But if you’re a gambler, you like Pacquiao to win this. While I personally don’t roll the dice much, I like Manny to win this fight. If there was ever a fight for him to win, it’s this one.

Acclaimed boxer Oscar de la Hoya weighed in on Mayweather-Pacquiao in a column published in the Los Angeles Times. In addition to being one of the best boxers in the ‘90s, De La Hoya fought both Money Mayweather and Pac Man, and his money is on Mayweather. If there are close calls, he thinks they’ll go to Floyd. Hell, his face is on the side of the MGM Grand. But while he likes Mayweather, you just can’t rule out Pacquiao.

In the weeks leading up to this legacy fight, De La Hoya is leaning more to Pacquiao, and the boxing world should be as well. Since losing back-to-back fights in 2012, the eight-division world champion hasn’t lost. Prior to losing to Juan Manuel Marquez and a very highly contested decision to Timothy Bradley, his record is 54-3-2 (38 KOs).

Pacquiao’s last KO came in 2009. In the same vein, Mayweather’s last knockout came in 2011, one of 26 on his career with an overall record of 47-0. It has been four years since either combatant won a fight without a judge’s decision. At the ripe age of 38, something tells me that Mayweather or Pacquiao, 36, won’t be knocking out his counterpart. With that said, this fight will likely go the distance, all 12 rounds. The key for Pacquiao isn’t the end, it’s the beginning.

Mayweather is a historically slow starter, gearing up his attack in later rounds of a fight. If Pacquiao can get some good short in on him early, in the first two or three rounds, it could disrupt Mayweather’s calculated attack, and more importantly, the result. The only way for Pacquiao to win this larger than life fight is to get Mayweather out of his comfort zone and keep him there.

The Fighting Pride of the Philippines will need to be near perfect to defeat the undefeated, self-proclaimed “the best ever,” Floyd Mayweather. But it’s unlikely, not impossible. While he is the underdog going into Saturday night’s fight, Pacquiao needs no more fuel for the fire to take down Mayweather.