Pacquiao is not the same fighter anymore, says Mayweather
MANILA, Philippines - Boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he thinks Manny Pacquiao is as dynamic as he once was, but isn’t taking chances heading into their May 2 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Speaking with FightHype, Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) says that the 36-year-old Filipino boxer Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) has lost a step following his 2012 knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
“He may not be the same fighter, but this is a guy that I cannot overlook,” Mayweather, who himself turns 38 on Tuesday, said. “He got here somehow and some way. You never take nothing for granted because anything can happen. But as far as me being nervous or worried, absolutely not, but I'm always cautious and smart.”
Mayweather, who has won championships in 5 divisions, says the departure of strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, who was credited with making Pacquiao an explosive fighter until his abrupt departure in 2012, is to blame.
He also discredits Pacquiao’s most recent performance - a six-knockdown thrashing of WBO junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri in November - saying that Algieri was a “kick boxer” and that he didn’t even know his name.
“Once Alex Ariza left, he's a totally different fighter,” said Mayweather, who now employs Ariza. “You know, I don't have anything bad to say about Freddie Roach, I don't have anything bad to say about his team, but I believe in myself and I believe in my skills, and I got here somehow and some way by believing in my skills and believing in my talent.”
(RELATED: Mayweather: 'We forced Pacquiao to fight')
Mayweather has scarcely been threatened in his 19-year fighting career, having never suffered a legitimate knockdown and having lost just one card in his career, during a 2007 split decision victory over Oscar de la Hoya.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, has scattered five losses throughout his career, including knockout losses to Rustico Torrecampo, Medgoen Singsurat and Juan Manuel Marquez, plus decision losses to Erik Morales and Timothy Bradley which Pacquiao later avenged.
Mayweather holds an inch-and-a-half height advantage over Pacquiao at 5-foot-8, with a five inch superior reach advantage at 72 inches. Still, Mayweather thinks it’ll be a combination of factors that give him the edge on fight night.
“I don't really think that height plays a key for him. I think with me it plays a key because I use a little bit of everything. I use my reach, I use my height, I use my movement; I use different techniques, whereas he's not as versatile as Floyd Mayweather. I think that's the difference between us two.
“I think he's a very exciting fighter. I think he's also strong, but I think that this is a different league. I mean, this is a guy that can box going forward, this is a guy that can box going backwards, a guy that can counterpunch, I can tie you up, I can slug if I have to, but my thing is always working smarter, not harder.”
Pacquiao's own trainer Freddie Roach admitted that his fighter had lost some of his killer instinct over the years, saying "he feels it’s enough to beat the person, you don’t have to kill them or knock them out."
Mayweather says he feels that it was Pacquiao, not himself, who was pressured into making the fight happen due to financial concerns. Pacquiao has had issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the Philippines in recent years.
“The great thing about my career is I did it my way. A lot of guys are forced to do things that they don't want to do. I honestly believe that, at this particular time, even if Pacquiao didn't want to fight, he has no choice because his back is against the wall. The reason why his back is against the wall is because he needs the money. I don't. Every property that I have, from Miami to LA to Las Vegas, is paid for.
“The only thing I know is to win, so is losing in the back of his mind? Absolutely! Why? Because he probably lost 3 or 5 times before, so losing is in his mind. Losing is not in my mind because the only thing I know how to do is win.”
Mayweather himself had issues with the IRS, paying $5.6 million in 2010 for unpaid taxes for 2007, and was hit with a $3.4 million bill for unpaid 2009 taxes in 2011.