The upcoming megafight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will at the very least be a memorable event in boxing history. The sight next week of the two superstar welterweights in the ring together after five years of contentious debate to get the fight signed will make for perhaps one of the most lasting images of the sports year.
Millions around the world are expected to tune in to a boxing event that has been saturated with hyperbole and anticipation. The hype, in some ways, is highly justified. It's rare that two such accomplished boxers have waited so long to square off, and the build up to the fight has made for great entertainment.
Both boxers have a strong and dedicated fanbase, and their supporters are expected to be very vocal when the fight is over. Unlike other sports, boxing's outcomes are often left with more questions than answers, which lends itself to an abundance of opinions.
Many viewers who are not true boxing enthusiasts may watch the fight under a cloud of misconceptions. Here is a list of important things for viewers to keep in mind on May 2.
Judges Often View The Fight Differently From Ringside
There's a great deal of cynicism that surrounds boxing judges, but often the way they score a fight is far different than the way viewers see it on television. It is a very complex and subjective system, and therefore sparks heated differences in opinion. Judges award rounds based on who lands more punches and how clean the punches land, how effective the boxer is at attacking his opponent, and who dictates the tempo. Ringside judges have a better view and understanding than TV viewers over which punches are doing damage, but some still make decisions that conflict with boxing experts’ viewpoints.
Some Rounds Are Draws
There is an overriding mentality that every round requires a winner. At times, there is no clear winner of a round, and a scorecard can, and should, have a round be even if it’s too close to call. It is a misguided stance to never award a 10-10 round, and it seems to happen more often than it should. It will be very interesting to see which judges score certain rounds even.
Just Because One Boxer Looks Bruised And Battered, Doesn’t Mean They Lost The Fight
Some boxers don’t pass “the eye test,” but looks can be particularly deceiving in boxing. How one fighter looks at the end compared to the other should not determine who deserves the victory. One boxer may just barely win rounds, while the other boxer convincingly wins rounds. In this 12-round battle one boxer might do just enough to edge the other in rounds, but may look like he endured more punishment by the final bell. Furthermore, some boxers have cuts from previous fights that re-open, making them look like they withstood harder punches. Don’t be fooled by who looks better or worse after 12 rounds. One more point: One boxer might have landed better power punches to the body than the face, and statistics matter.
Watch The Feet
Pacquiao is a southpaw, while Mayweather has an orthodox stance. The difference in stances means there might be plenty of stepping on feet to set up jabs and power punches. Judge Kenny Bayless will need to be wary of footwork.
Be Aware Of Dirty Fighting And Point Deductions
Boxers have a strong understanding of the scoring system, and know how to take advantage of it. While there is a slim chance of headbutts because Mayweather is expected to keep his distance from Pacquiao by sticking and moving, it would not be a surprise if one boxer decides to deliver a low blow or a punch to the back of the head. It is often difficult to gauge the intent of the infraction, and therefore is a way to gain an advantage. A boxer may accidentally throw a bad punch, but he can also purposefully deliver an illegal move since a one-point deduction can be a small price to pay. Bayless may need to pay very keen attention to such moves because this could be a very tight bout.
Do Not Be Swayed By Theatrics
Boxers sometimes like to dance and swing their arms around to provide the impression that they are more confident than their opponent, sway the judges, and coax their opponent into a head game. A boxer’s bravado is rarely a statement about their efficiency. Don’t confuse activity with production.
Balance Is Important
Both boxers may be subjected to slips as they will be doing a lot of lateral movements and backpedaling on what will often be a wet canvas. A knockdown may be ruled a slip, but sometimes it can be an indication of a boxer’s balance problems. A slip could spell impending doom and lead to a legitimate knockdown.
Does Pacquiao Need To Do Just A Small Amount More To Win This Fight?
Since Mayweather is the champ and Pacquiao is the challenger, Mayweather may receive the benefit of the doubt from the judges. That means the very tight rounds may go toward Mayweather over Pacquiao. Some take the stance that the challenger must win convincingly to take the belt away from the champion.
There Will Probably Be A Rematch
With so much money available, and the legacy of each boxer on the line, it would not be surprising if Mayweather and Pacquiao square off again in five or six months. Whether the fight is controversial or not, there are too many people who would rather see this fight again than any other fight.
Both Boxers Are Legends Before And After They Leave The Ring
Whatever the final result, both Mayweather and Pacquiao should be proud of their careers. Both are icons and both have enjoyed exceptional careers as top pound-for-pound prizefighters. Supporters of both fighters should not jump to the conclusion that one boxer is significantly better than the other when the fight concludes—just that one was better on this given night.