What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Floyd Mayweather Jr? Probably his undefeated 47-0 record, or maybe a couple of choice expletives. But not far behind, there’s his almost preternatural defensive boxing ability. That tremendous ability is seen as a major advantage for Money in his upcoming matchup with Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Pacman may have the superior power, but it would count for little if he can’t hit the elusive Mayweather.
That very well may have been the case back in 2010, when negotiations for the Pacquiao-Mayweather superfight first began and when Money was still at the peak of his powers. But five years on, Mayweather is more vulnerable now than he was arguably at any other point of his career. The official Pacquiao vs Mayweather betting line still favors Floyd, but it’s telling that he isn’t as highly favored as he was even a couple of weeks ago.
The fact of the matter is that Mayweather has shown his age in his last few fights, particularly the last two to Marcos Maidana. The then 37-year old Mayweather didn’t look quite as slick as he had in past fights, and it told in the stats. In their first fight, Money was hit 221 times, the most number of punches he had ever taken in a single bout. Mayweather improved in the rematch, but it was still far from his usually impeccable performance.
Mayweather is now 38-years-old, so it’s possible a little more of that speed and sharpness has eroded from his body in the last few months. Contrast that to the 36-year-old Pacquiao, who has yet to show any degradation of his prodigious hand speed. The idea of Mayweather being this boxing Houdini that can effortlessly evade Pacquiao’s punches is looking highly improbable.
However, in no way does this mean Mayweather is now the inferior fighter. He still has many other excellent qualities as a boxer that could make up for any diminished physical abilities. All of this has been pointed out to illustrate that the once impenetrable Mayweather defense is showing one or two cracks, which should make the looming superfight much more competitive than some think.