Exclusive: Expert Says Mayweather and Pacquiao’s Strengths also Weaknesses

UNCASVILLE, Conn.—Trainer and ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas finds weaknesses in the strengths of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Citing Pacquiao’s “reckless aggression,” Teddy Atlas talked to Breitbart Sports about the necessity of Pacquiao getting inside on his opponent but of the risks of Mayweather exposing him as he closes distance. The trainer of a teenage Mike Tyson pointed to the success of Chris Algieri, a lesser fighter who nevertheless landed on Pacquiao when the Filipino moved inside. He said that trainer Freddie Roach must correct this flaw in Pac Man before a much more skilled boxer than Algieri exploits it on Saturday night.

Despite Atlas’s criticism of Pacquiao’s tactics, he picks him to win the fight.

“If [Pacquiao] can limit the recklessness and the aggression, he’s got a chance to win,” Atlas judges. “But if he doesn’t he’s got a chance to be pot-shotted by right hands by Mayweather all night long as he comes in that front door.”

Just as Manny pressing the action might come at a cost, Mayweather depressing it might hurt him, too.

“Mayweather’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness: his defense,” Atlas tells Breitbart Sports. “His greatest strength—that’s how he makes his living, that’s why he’s 47-0. But he goes defensive too much sometimes. And that’s the hope for Pacquiao, to outhustle, to outwork him in those spots and be able to steal rounds by his work rate in those spots.”

The combatants share just five common opponents. Mayweather narrowly edged Oscar De La Hoya in a split-decision victory; Pacquiao picked him apart for eight rounds before the Golden Boy retired on the stool—and then retired for good. Both men dominated an aging Shane Mosley en route to decision victories. Pacquiao inflicted about as perfect a true knockout as boxing fans could ever see against Ricky Hatton; Mayweather stopped the Mancunian in the tenth round. Miguel Cotto lost a unanimous decision to Money and lost his fight to Pac Man on a twelfth-round TKO. Juan Manuel Marquez, who lost decisively on the scorecards to Mayweather, illustrates the starkest common-opponent disparity between Saturday night’s fighters. After tasting the canvas thrice in the first of his 42 rounds with Pac Man, the Mexican drew with Pacquiao, then lost two close decisions, and ultimately administered a vicious sixth-round knockout of the Filipino in their fourth bout.

With so little in the way of shared opposition, the hundred-million-dollar men elicit many theories and much speculation—with Teddy Atlas offering Breitbart readers among the most educated forecasts—on how they might match up against one another.

The pugilistic pair puts the speculation to rest late Saturday night. Mayweather currently stands as about a 2-1 favorite in the eyes of Las Vegas bookmakers.


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