Everybody has an opinion when it comes to the May 2 superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The unbeaten Mayweather started as a heavy favourite, while the gap in the odds has narrowed somewhat since the fight was
But few are more qualified to speak about what might unfold at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas just over six weeks from now than the five men who have shared a ring with both fighters.
Nobody has spent more minutes on the end of Pacquiao’s punches than Juan Manuel Marquez, who has faced the Filipino no less than four times – losing twice, drawing one and winning once with a sensational knockout in December 2012. Marquez also faced Mayweather in September 2009 where he dropped a wide decision to the American.
It must be remembered, however, that Marquez was stepping up for a bout set with a 142-pound catchweight and then accepted an increased purse to go ahead with the fight when Mayweather arrived for the weigh-in a full four pounds too heavy.
By the time they reached the ring he was even bigger and made full use of his size advantage.
Mayweather’s larger frame was clearly evident when he faced off with Pacquiao at their Los Angeles press conference last week, but Marquez doesn’t believe that will prove much of a factor. He does, however, expect Mayweather to make it a “boring” fight and win a decision.
“In these kind of fights height and strength is not a big difference,” said Marquez. “Most importantly is who has the better mind in the fight, who launches their attacks better, and uses their defence better, which Mayweather knows how to do well and Pacquiao must improve on.
He added: “Floyd’s style and technique has given him 47 wins, so why take a risk in the biggest fight of his career? Floyd is a technical fighter who can make it a boring fight if that suits him.
“If it can be a quiet fight for Floyd then he’s going to take that and look to get a clear decision.”
Just one other of the pair’s shared opponents chooses to disagree and that is Miguel Cotto.
The Puerto Rican shares a trainer with Pacquiao these days and he says Freddie Roach’s strategy will be key to an upset.
“After working with Freddie I think Freddie is going to be huge in the fight,” explained Cotto, stopped in the 12th by Pacquiao in 2009 and out-pointed by Mayweather two and a half years later. “I’m going for Manny.”
Ricky Hatton is the only man knocked out by both fighters and he says Mayweather’s counter-punching gives him the edge.
“Manny is a great fighter but when you look at the trouble he had with the counter-punching style of Juan Manuel Marquez, he could be in serious trouble with Mayweather,” said Hatton, a former two-weight world champion. “Floyd always finds a way to win, no matter the style, and that’s the reason that I make him a slight favourite over Manny.”
Oscar De La Hoya took such a beating from Pacquiao in 2008 he retired immediately after that punishing eight-round drubbing.
Twelve months earlier he was on the wrong end of a split decision against Mayweather. It’s a fight he still feels he won.
The 42-year-old believes the Pacman of old would be nailed on for victory, but the 2015 version may fall just short.
“Today, I would have to go with Floyd,” he said. “Three years ago it would have been Pacquiao.”
The fifth and final man to have traded shots with both is ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley and he also sees the home fighter emerging victorious with the help of the judges.
“The better technician will be Floyd. He’s been fighting a lot more on the inside, and throwing harder shots. I don’t think people realise that Mayweather does have a little bit of power,” said Mosley.
“I see that Mayweather wins the fight and I think it goes 12 rounds.”