The millions of viewers from around the world who will be watching the Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao mega-fight on Saturday in Las Vegas will no doubt be expecting a decisive victory in what is arguably the most anticipated boxing event in decades.
Boxing, however, doesn’t always satisfy its fans. When the scorecards are read, it’s quite possible that the result will be a draw. While it might seem unexpected and like a devious ploy to lure more viewers into paying to watch a rematch, a draw might also be more plausible of an ending than one might think.
Here’s a look at reasons why the May 2 fight at the MGM Grand may end in a draw.
Mayweather is among the best defensive boxers of his generation, but Pacquiao is among the hardest hitting welterweights in years. It would not be surprising if Mayweather is the more active boxer and connects on more punches, but Pacquiao finishes with a higher percentage of power punches landed. Such a scenario could pose an understandable dilemma for judges: award a close round to the busier fighter, or award it to the boxer who landed harder punches?
The first of Pacquiao’s four fights with Juan Manuel Marquez ended in a draw, and this fight is expected to be just as tactical. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao may have too much respect for the other’s talents to take serious risks, prompting more caution and trepidation with their fighting strategy. Neither is expected to take a lot of chances with their punch selection, which means that this fight seems destined to go the distance. The chances are very slim of a knockout, and even a knockdown seems improbable, so don’t anticipate a 10-8 round.
Similarities With Another Famous Welterweight Draw
In 1993, two welterweights of similar styles fought to a draw. Pernell Whitaker, a highly elusive boxer with quick hand speed, appeared to have out-pointed power puncher Julio Cesar Chavez, an accomplished veteran. Just like this Saturday’s fight, it will be another dual of defense vs. power punching, and an American vs. a foreigner. Want another similarity? There’s an undefeated boxer, who is extremely protective of his record, facing a highly determined and accomplished challenger.
Boxing And Controversy Go Hand-In-Hand
The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, which most experts expect to go 12 rounds, could provide for clearly one-sided rounds, but that does not mean judges will decide rounds like everyone else. Going back to Chavez-Whitaker, judges appeared to believe that Chavez was the more aggressive boxer, and therefore deserving of winning tight rounds. Sportswriters, meanwhile, seemed to believe that Chavez failed to land significant punches as Whitaker ducked and weaved his way to a supposed win. Sports Illustrated had the two boxers on their cover, with the headline “Robbed!” and the caption reading, “Pernell Whitaker whips Julio Cesar Chavez in a dubious draw.”
Less Aggressive, Aging Boxers
Mayweather is 38 years old and Pacquaio is 36 years old, and neither is coming off particularly inspiring performances in their last fights. Pacquiao earned a convincing victory against Chris Algieri in Macau, China, but it was just the 20th career fight for Algieri, and the first time he had boxed outside of the New York area. Meanwhile, Mayweather seemed to have been hit hard by Marcos Maidana, who had previously suffered losses to Devon Alexander and Amir Khan. Do Mayweather and Pacquiao, two superstar boxers nearing retirement, want to subject themselves to an all-out brawl? Probably not. It wouldn’t be surprising if the late rounds are marked by inactivity, which might increase the chances of a contentious scorecard.
But Still Two Great Boxers
Retirement talk aside, there is also this basic premise entering the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight: both boxers are quite good, and neither seems to have a clear advantage in any specific category. Just as Mayweather is capable of landing power punches, Pacquiao is capable of avoiding Mayweather’s attack. Both boxers have enough experience to know how to make adjustments. They also have trainers who will be honest with them, and tell them when they desperately need to win late rounds.
On The Other Hand…
Mayweather and Pacquiao have a combined 111 total fights. The undefeated Mayweather has never had a draw, and Pacquiao has only two. That means 98.1 percent of their fights have ended without a draw.