Once-in-a-lifetime matchup

Boxing fans all over the world have been anticipating the faceoff between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Rumors of a matchup between them have circulated in the past; however, this is the first time they have completed negotiations. The result is a fight on May 2, which is predicted to draw the largest crowd the sport has ever seen.

“I have really only watched big fights throughout my life,” sophomore communication studies major Corey Langerveld said. “I wouldn’t call myself a huge boxing fan, but when a fight like this comes along, I certainly tune in.”

The fighters have both been named world champions, weighing between 140-147 pounds, in the welterweight division and their careers are expected to soon come to a close. Mayweather will enter the fight with world boxing titles and an undefeated record of 47-0. On the other hand, Paquiao puts his World Boxing Organization title up for grabs.

Bad Left Hook, a global boxing news and commentary website, stated that while Mayweather has his legacy on the line, Pacquiao has an opportunity to make boxing history.

As an avid boxing fan, I have been able to watch both fighters rise to the level that they are at now.

Mayweather, 38, is known for his great defensive skills as well as his excellent hand speed and footwork. He may not be as fast as he was in his first professional fight against Roberto Apodaca, but he still has an edge over many of his most recent opponents, such as Marcos Maidana and Saul Alvarez.

Ray Briones, a trainer at Ultimate Warriors Boxing Academy located in Ontario, Calif., is in favor of Pacquiao, but does not underestimate the current champion as he states, “Mayweather’s one of the most intelligent fighters I have ever seen.”

The pair started competing professionally only a year apart. Pacquiao made his professional debut in 1995 and Mayweather stepped into the professional world the following year, when he won an Olympic bronze medal in Atlanta. Both men have been in the professional sport for nearly 20 years and have huge fan bases to show for it.

William “The Bull” Sriyapai, four-time world Muay Thai champion from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is one of Pacquiao’s supporters.

“I would like to see an early knockout on Pacquiao’s side, but I think it might go all 12 rounds,” Sriyapai said.

Pacquiao may not have the perfect record that Mayweather has, but his strong past showings keep him in the game. The 36-year-old nicknamed “Pac Man” has a record of 57-5-2 in his professional career. His latest loss was against Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8, 2012, which was the last fight of a tetralogy between the two. It ended with a perfect counterpunch by Marquez in the last second of the sixth round that sent Pacquiao to the canvas for a devastating knockout. Pacquiao returned to the ring 11 months later to prove he was still a top contender by beating Brandon Rios.

“The only way I see [Pacquiao] winning is by somehow getting a lucky knockout shot in somewhat early in the fight,” Langerveld said.

Mayweather and Pacquiao are often seen as being equal in skill, experience and speed. I strongly believe that Mayweather will be victorious and retain his perfect record. Watching his fights and observing how he displays his defense lead me to conclude that Mayweather will adjust well to whatever Pacquiao will bring to the ring.

“He can have heart, he can hit harder and he can be stronger, but there’s no fighter smarter than me,” Mayweather said in an interview with ESPN, referring to his matchup against Oscar De La Hoya.

Mayweather has definitely proved his point is in terms of fighting smart over the years and I believe that this mentality will guide him at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas when the bell rings to commence the long-awaited fight.