Five reasons Manny Pacquiao will beat Floyd Mayweather

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Manny Pacquiao pushed for the better part of a decade for a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr, but many believe he will regret getting one; the American is favoured to remain unbeaten. However, the Filipino absolutely can win the fight, and here are five reasons why he will.

Read Steve Luckings's counterargument here: Five reasons Floyd Mayweather will win

Also see: Breaking down Manny Pacquiao's last five fights

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1. Speed

Manny Pacquiao possesses great hand speed than Mayweather and his pace is complemented by razor-sharp accuracy, allowing the “Pac Man” to unload crisp, punishing combinations. Mayweather also has impressive hand speed but, given the two fighters’ styles, Pacquiao is more likely to let his go.

Pacquiao’s hand speed will not only be vital to scoring points and winning rounds, but also to forcing the usually composed American out of his counter-punching comfort zone. Pacquiao will set the foundations for victory if he dominates the early rounds and forces Mayweather to become the aggressor.

2. Aggression

Mayweather’s strategy will be based on his impenetrable defence, peek-a-boo jab and counter-punching brilliance. Pacquiao’s aggression has served him well in a 64-fight career that includes titles in eight weight divisions. Previously, when Pacquiao has acted as the aggressor, he has generally prevailed. Mayweather is a different beast to anything the Filipino has faced before, but if Pacquiao can maintain 12 rounds of unrelenting aggression he may just put Mayweather in a spot of bother.

3. Southpaw

Take the two previous points – speed and aggression – and put them into a left-handed fighter, and not just any left-handed fighter but arguably the greatest of his era and the result is terrifying. Pacquiao’s southpaw stance could be the key to breaching Mayweather’s guard and blunting the American’s weapons.

Mayweather’s shoulder-roll-based defence naturally excels against orthodox opponents, given his own orthodox stance, and he has sometimes struggled against southpaws.

With Pacquiao’s set-up, Mayweather is unlikely to use his jab, which is one of the best in the business, with as much authority as he normally would to set up the straight right.

Instead, Mayweather is likely to paw with it and use it as a range-finder, although that is unlikely to prevent Pacquiao from coming forward.

Whether it is a chink in Mayweather’s defensive armour remains to be seen but it does point to an awkward night’s work for the 38-year-old American.

4. Marcos Maidana

One year and a day before #MayPac, Mayweather was given one of the toughest fights of his career, against Marcos Maidana, with Mayweather awarded a majority decision many thought the judges should have given to his Argentine opponent.

Full credit to Mayweather for drawing on his reserves and finding a way to win, but Maidana laid out the blueprint on how to unsettle Mayweather when he achieved some success in shutting down the angles, trapping Mayweather on the ropes, throwing clubbing punches and trying to drag Mayweather into a brawl.

While a champion in his own right, Maidana has limited skills, as was evident in their one-sided rematch, and is an inferior fighter compared to Pacquiao. The Filipino is likely to implement a strategy similar to Maidana’s but possesses a far more dangerous set of tools.

5. Decline

Much has been made of what might have been had this fight taken place when originally intended, five years ago. Both men were at the peak of their powers and it would have been a difficult fight to call.

In the intervening years, Mayweather has extended his win streak while Pacquiao has had two defeats, which makes Mayweather the favourite for May 2.

Despite those setbacks, against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, the past five years have arguably been kinder to Pacquiao.

The knockout by Marquez in December 2012 was brutal and we can almost ignore the prior defeat to Bradley in a split decision as nothing short of a scandal. But looking at Pacquiao’s last three fights in terms of results and performance, he has looked back to his devastating best.

The power may not be what it was circa 2009, but the aggression and hand speed remain. He dismantled Bradley in their 2014 rematch following a crisp performance against Brandon Rios in November 2013.

Pacquiao’s most recent outing, against the previously unbeaten Chris Algieri, was a near-perfect display. All that was missing was the knockout, but Algieri did have to get off the canvas six times to take the fight 12 rounds.

In Mayweather’s most recent outings his footwork has slower, and that is key to his tactics.

He put on a defensive masterclass against Saul Alvarez in September 2013 but laboured five months before that against Roberto Guerrero, and he was positively troubled in his first encounter with Maidana, almost 12 months ago.

Only at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will we see if Mayweather is truly in decline. If that proves to be the case, Pacquiao could mark a “1” in the “Money” man’s loss column.