A good jab plays an important role in a match against any boxer, however it is one of the most crucial weapons against a great defensive strategist like Floyd Mayweather. A properly utilized jab can keep an in-fighter at bay, but Floyd is a classic out-fighter and he is more skilled at picking his punches than most fighters. Manny Pacquiao’s jab is precise enough to keep the points contest that Mayweather usually wins close, and he has enough pop in his combinations to floor him. With his jab, Pacquiao could exploit one of the weaknesses in Mayweather’s vaunted defense, his tendency to drop his left hand. Mayweather lowers his hands at midrange to trick his opponents in to throwing punches. He then deftly dodges those punches by leaning backward or deflects them with a shoulder roll, and throws counterpunches to score points with the judges. He has this particular move down to a science. But some fighters, like Oscar de la Hoya, have been able to take advantage of this habit with a quick, stiff jab. In the seventh round of their fight in 2007, de la Hoya hit Mayweather with a series of jabs to the head and body which caused Floyd to twist and elongate his trunk with his feet planted instead of continuing to roll and dodge punches. Then, Oscar cornered him on the ropes and attacked his body with a flurry of power punches. Floyd is beginning to slow down as all fighters eventually do with age, and he has taken more punches in his last four fights than he ever has in his career. Though Pacquiao has also slowed, he could exploit Floyd’s lowered hands in two different ways. He could use his jab as a setup for his best punch, the straight left, and he could use that jab the same way that Oscar de la Hoya did, as a way to herd Floyd towards particular spots in the ring. Pacquiao has the hand speed, the foot speed, and the boxing acumen to fight either way.
Manny Pacquiao stands as one of the greatest punchers of this generation. He was voted Fighter of the Decade for the 2000′s by the World Boxing Council because of his powerful combinations. Although his most dangerous punch is the straight left, Pacquiao gets a lot of power on his right jab in combinations. He knocked Shane Mosley down with a classic one-two combo in 2011, but the second punch hit mostly glove, so the right jab did the most damage. His jab by itself could be a problem for Mayweather, but in congress with the rest of Pacquiao’s arsenal, it should spell disaster. Pacquiao has refined his punching style over the years. Before, his only great punch was the straight left (a punch that has been devastating to fighters who use the Philly shell by itself), however he has worked the aforementioned jab and a right hook into deadly punches too. Because Floyd Mayweather uses the Philly shell defense, he is more susceptible to the right jab, the right hook, and the straight left from a southpaw fighter. Floyd struggled against Zab Judah, another southpaw, who did not have a enough stamina to finish him in 2006. A converted southpaw boxer, Miguel Cotto hit Mayweather with the jab. They hit him through circling and attacking Mayweather from different angles. Boxers who use the Philly Shell exclusively are vulnerable to fighters move in and out and attack laterally. Pacquiao will use punching combinations and good footwork to keep Floyd planted in his shell defense. When he attempts to pivot after rolling to his right, Pacquiao will throw that right hook and follow with a straight. If he lands that combo, the fight may end early. If Manny can not knock Floyd down with his exceptional hand speed and punch placement, then he will use those punches to make the fighter uncomfortable by controlling the fight.
A staple of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight is his dominance over opponents through dictating the terms of the fight. He uses the entire ring to his advantage and forces them to pursue him while he counters. Floyd almost never trades punches with boxers because he effectively rolls out of traffic, ducks punches, and pivot out of traps. But, as he has slowed, he has also been caught in more disadvantageous situations during boxing matches. He has been caught in more slugging exchanges lately, been cornered in the ring, and been held against the ropes more too. And unfortunately for Floyd, Pacquiao is exceptional when he has a boxer against the ropes. His hand speed and power overwhelm most guys almost immediately, and the few fighters that he does not knock out he summarily outscores on the judges’ cards. Pacquiao controls pace through putting offensive pressure on his foes. He will use his right hand over the top of Mayweather’s defense and then follow with small flurries to push him to problem areas in the ring. Those flurries give Pacquiao points on the judges cards, and getting Floyd Mayweather into places where he can launch that destructive left hand give him an opportunity to put him away.
Manny Pacquiao will be successful where no other boxer been because he has a unique skill set that separates him from those other challengers. He has a good jab that will exploit the weaknesses of Mayweather’s primary defense, he has the footwork to set up his power punches, and he can potentially move Floyd where he wants him with his style. Manny Pacquiao will defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2nd, and his power, hand speed, and ability to control the fight will be the reasons that he is victorious.