World's richest boxing bout to pack a punch tonight

Nov 30, -0001

LAS VEGAS: The hotly anticipated welterweight bout between undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. and 2-1 underdog Manny Pacquiao on Saturday offers an intriguing contrast in styles which most pundits expect to last the full 12 rounds.

American Mayweather is widely regarded as one of the best defensive practitioners of all time while his ability to out-think opponents and adjust strategy midway through fights is unparalleled among contemporary fighters.

However, the 38-year-old is also viewed by some as too cautious, and the level of entertainment he provides in the ring for the fans has very rarely reached lofty heights.

In Pacquiao, Mayweather will face the greatest challenge of his career, a Filipino southpaw who relies on lightning-fast hand and foot speed allied to an all-out, aggressive approach featuring unexpected angles of jabs and punches.

Yet Pacquiao's offensive style has occasionally gotten him into trouble and the wily Mayweather will be looking to lure the Filipino into traps whenever he can in what is expected to be biggest-grossing prize fight of all time.

"This is going to be an exciting fight," said Mayweather, who has a perfect 47-0 record with 26 knockouts and is acknowledged as the world's best pound-for-pound boxer.

"Our styles are totally different. He is very, very reckless. Every move I make is calculated. I'm always 5-10 steps ahead of my opponent.

"Pacquiao would be a better fighter if he wasn't so reckless. It's a gift and a curse. He's won a lot of fights by being reckless but being reckless can get you knocked out."


Pacquiao's experienced trainer, Freddie Roach, disagrees.

"Manny is not reckless at all," said Roach, 55, who has been voted trainer of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America on seven occasions. "Everything we do is planned out and it's part of the game plan."

Roach has guided Pacquiao to a 57-5-2 record with 38 knockouts and he wants his fighter to cut off the ring whenever possible while staying in front of Mayweather as they duck and weave at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"I think we can outpoint him and win a 12-round decision," said Roach. "If the chance for a knock-out comes, it will be a bonus."

Both Mayweather and Pacquiao, 36, are in the twilight of their careers but veteran boxer Bernard Hopkins is confident they will deliver a bout worthy of its billing as the 'Fight of the Century'.

"You're going to get your money's worth, back and forth over the first half of the fight while Mayweather tries to figure him out," Hopkins, 50, who defended the middleweight crown a record 20 times from 1995 to 2005, told Reuters.

"I believe Mayweather's got the experience to do that. If he can figure it out, he wins by a decision. But it won't be easy."


Floyd Mayweather

Manny Pacquiao

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