By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
On Saturday night, Michael Buffer’s famous phrase, “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble,” will finally have some real punch to it because for the first time in a long time we have a matchup of two great boxing champions in Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0,26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 Kos).
For those of us old head boxing fans who came up in the era of such epic battles as Muhammad Ali’s with Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard versus Robert Duran, Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler and Matthew Saad Muhammad taking on the best light heavyweights of the era, Mayweather-Pacquiao is a throw back to those days.
The fight itself will be a clash of two different and distinct styles. With Mayweather, you’re going to see a guy with fast hands, good counterpunching and solid defensive skills. No one has figured out how to penetrate Mayweather’s staunch defense.
But if anyone can do it, it’s Pacquiao cPacquiao, who also has fast hands, is always moving forward throwing punches from all kinds of angles and can take you out with one punch.
The classic boxing matches that you could compare this fight to are Ali-Frazier or Leonard-Duran. It’s the classic boxer versus the pure offensive fighter who looks to come forward.
But the question that I have in this fight is how will Mayweather withstand the onslaught of Pacquiao who is more battle tested adversary such as Juan Manuel Marquez.
For all of Mayweather’s trash talk about the being the greatest fighter of all time, I’ve never seen him really get rocked to the point where he’s been knocked down. The last time somebody really hit him hard was Sugar Shane Mosely, who might have knocked him out if he had been in his prime.
Even the greatest fighters of all-time have experienced the adversity of a knockdown or being in a situation where their opponent has dominated them for a few rounds. To me what makes a fighter great is his ability to overcome that challenge to pull off the win or be competitive so at the end the fans will want a rematch.
That’s the thing that fans want to know about Mayweather. How will he react if he finds himself in danger or on the verge of losing the fight? Boxing fans want to know if he can summon the will that Leonard did when he defeated Hearns after he was behind on points.
Of course, Mayweather, himself will tell you that with his defensive skills and his ability to not get hit is the thing that’s made him one of the best fighters who’s ever laced up a pair of gloves. At 47-0 , so it’s a claim he can make. We’ll see if he can after Saturday night