Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will forever be intertwined. Regardless of whether they actually fight or not, just by virtue of them dancing around each other for three years, the two will always be linked in boxing lore. How will they be remembered? Well, unless something drastic happens over the next 12 months, they will likely be remembered as two of the greatest fighters from the same generation to never fight one another.
The really interesting thing about this pair’s so-called rivalry is the certainty with which each boxer’s supporters believe that their guy is superior to the other. Pacquiao’s fans, no matter what anyone says or does, will always believe that in his heyday the Filipino star could have won this Super Fight. Similarly, Mayweather’s fans, regardless of their guy’s undeniable resistance towards actually making this a reality, firmly and unequivocally believe that Pacquiao would have had no answers for their guy.
Both sides raise interesting points. Mayweather is one of the greatest counter-punchers of all time; counter-punchers, particularly really good ones, have always given Pacquiao a lot of trouble. That being said, a lot of Mayweather’s domination stemmed from him being so much faster than all of his foes; Pacquiao, in his prime, would have negated that advantage to at least some degree.
Alas, this is all speculative. But given the fact that we may never see this thing materialize, speculation is all we really have at this point.
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During a recent interview, boxing legend Bernard Hopkins decided to weigh in on the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather debate. And as is the case with everyone who weighs in, he didn’t hold anything back.
“It would be easy pickings for Floyd Mayweather. I picked Floyd Mayweather to win before the knockout. Now if they fought - which I don't see happening - Floyd Mayweather would make it even easier than I predicted the first time."
Of course, it is worth noting that in the very same interview Hopkins then suggested Pacquiao would in fact give Mayweather a decent fight – thereby contradicting that whole ‘easy pickings’ sentiment.
"It wouldn't have been a fight where Mayweather would have had his way. Pacquiao could get hit - he didn't have the best defence. He didn't overwhelm guys when he was knocking them out. He out-punched them, he outworked them, and he really beat these guys down.
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"Mayweather keeps his chin tucked - [he has] what I consider one of the best defences in the world. You rarely see Floyd Mayweather or Bernard Hopkins get hit with a flush three, four, five-punch combinations - and that's one of the reasons I'm still here. “
And as is standard operating procedure whenever anyone talks boxing these days, Hopkins also offered his take on what sort of lingering impact Pacquiao’s loss to Marquez will likely have.
"That type of knockout...that was 10 fights for Pacquiao," Hopkins said. "The way Pacquiao got hit - he jumped into the punch trying to hit Marquez - he was knocked out before he hit the canvas. It takes a lot out of a fighter when you get hit that way.
"I'll be surprised if he fights more than one time, and it will probably be with Marquez - and that's the only fight that I can say that he should fight.
"The way he got knocked out, it's hard to recover, spiritually, emotionally and physically - mentally it's definitely a challenge."
At the end of the day, Hopkins was always a heavy Mayweather supporter so you have to take his comments with a grain of salt. That being said, it’s still pretty interesting that he doesn’t think this would even be close.