The Floyd Mayweather—Manny Pacquiao fight has been dubbed the mega-fight of the last half century. Beyond the sweet science displayed by these two ring masters, the long awaited confrontation between two of the finest pound-for-pound boxers the game has ever seen has myriad layers and subplots. If the fight is half as dope as the hype that’s been generated, boxing fans are in for a spectacle of ring-gladiator greatness and a memorable evening of captivating entertainment and celebrity bliss.
Fans and media have taken the event to a next level, intensifying the drama inside of the ring by drawing lines in the sand based on personal perceptions and skewed portrayals of each fighter that are totally unrelated to boxing prowess.
Money Mayweather is clearly portrayed as the villain. He's the rich, arrogant black man who doesn’t bite his tongue, keeps his persona edgy, posts YouTube clips of his stripper harems and still stays on point like the security guard working in Manhattan’s Diamond District.
Pac Man has become the bible-toting, money throwing, hero of a nation. The boxing activist and politician with a message of love, peace and ring annihilation.
To get an expert, insightful perspective on “The Fight,” The Shadow League spoke with Quan “Coach Q” Paxton, strength and conditioning guru and one of the key forces behind Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev’s rise to light heavyweight dominance.
Paxton’s a Michigan head so he knows a little something about Mayweather’s hood. He also knows a little something about dethroning legends and that’s what Pacquiao is trying to accomplish on Saturday night.
When Kovalev ended Bernard Hopkins' legendary reign in the light heavyweight division in November of 2014, Paxton’s intense and unorthodox training and conditioning methods were acknowledged as a huge part of Kovalev’s ability to outlast an alien and unify the IBF, WBA and WBO belts.
Da Gambler: The media seems to be portraying this fight as “Good” vs. “Evil.” There’s been so much focus on Manny's "humanitarian “and political endeavors in the Philippines versus Floyd's financial flamboyance and unremorseful domestic violence history.
Coach Q: To me that’s bullshit. This is boxing we shouldn’t be judging these guys personal behaviors. Manny Pacquiao has made mistakes as well. He cheated on his wife and she was about to leave him and all that, but nobody's talking about that. And that was on 24-7 years ago. That’s when he changed and gave his life to Christ. Now he’s just a positive guy. Ok. Word is, he’s not doing that great of a job as a Filipino Congressman either , but nobody is mentioning that really.
This is a big racial, racist fight. And I say that because the white people who don’t like Floyd and the women who think he’s an abuser are rolling with Pac.
Coach Q: The brothers who love boxing and tradition and just want to see a black man do right and make history…we want Floyd. I see it in my gyms and clubs. I see the division all the time. And I constantly talk to the old school guys and they say, "this is a very racially tense fight." I didn’t see it like that initially, but when I observed the tone of different races of people, it becomes clear that this is bigger than boxing when you see who's rooting against who and who’s banking on who.
Coach Q: But to me you don't bring that up before the fight. You let these two men...two good Hall of Famers… fight. Just focus on their careers as boxers. Unfortunately as a society we love to tear a man down and build him back up. You don’t do that. Floyd gives a lot to people. The charities he does. The free giveaways. How he helps children. And he comes from nothing, just like Manny. Manny was broke and poor in the streets as a kid and so was Floyd. He’s from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ain’t nothing in Grand Rapids, but Grand Valley State College (laughter). That’s about it. So judge the men in the ring.
Floyd made his brand and made himself a millionaire and did it his way. I respect that because a lot of boxers can’t do it.
Da Gambler: What’s your desired outcome for Saturday night?
Coach Q: I want Floyd to beat him convincingly, but I want a good fight. It’s the classic counter puncher against the aggressor. I think if Manny boxes, we will get a good fight. If he just throws punches all night, Manny gonna get ate up. To me, Floyd is the bigger man and the way his body looks maaan...Floyd is in incredible shape.
Manny on the other hand, his body is OK, but he doesn’t look like he really killed it in the gym. So I’m expecting Floyd to turn back into "Pretty Boy" and let them hands go, because if he lets those hands go he can put it on Manny. But Manny is still dangerous because you don't know where he's coming from. It's going to be a great fight but I see Floyd winning by a decision
For me, I thought it was very smart for Floyd to spar with "Chop Cop" Corley and Zab Judah. That was the smartest move ever because "Chop Chop" gave him a hell of a fight back in the day. A lot of people don’t remember that fight but I do.
"Chop Chop" was a really good southpaw and he's still in great shape. A lot of dudes don’t want to fight "Chop Chop" now. He's rough, rugged and he doesn’t mind standing toe to toe. He's a real veteran. I thought Floyd's choice of sparring partners was waaaaay better than Manny's.
I want to see Floyd go down in history. Man, the dude has been a great champion since 1996. That's really something to say. Most people don't remember but I do because I'm from Michigan as well. How can you not respect and support a guy who's trying to change history and set the bar higher for these younger fighters. That’s what it’s all about
Da Gambler: What has to happen for you to consider it “a great fight?”
Coach Q : A great fight is 6 to 8 rounds of non-stop, back and forth action. Manny wins a round then Floyd wins a round. If Manny thinks that by watching the Zab Judah fight he can learn how to beat Floyd then he is wrong because Floyd was a different fighter then and he matured as a boxer with every fight and gets smarter to the game.
Coach Q: Manny takes a lot of risks that’s why everybody is saying Manny might have three good rounds before Mayweather just mops him in the last eight rounds. Manny has to box to win. He should have watched the Miguel Cotto-Mayweather fight. Manny's philosophy should be “let me box, let me try to set him up with some traps. Let’s just go to war.”
Coach Q:I think that's his best chance but Floyd is on his game and wants to go out with a bang and from what I been hearing from dudes in the camp out in Vegas is that he trained like a monster during camp. I’m talking 700 crunches a day, seven miles running a day. He was chopping wood…all that. He had dudes working with his camp sign disclaimers promising that they’ll give him 150 percent every day at camp That's crazy. That's also off the chain genius…to push them.
Da Gambler: What do you think about cats who say Floyd dominated a “weak” era in boxing?
Coach Q:That’s not his fault so people shouldn’t ridicule him for that. Except for Pacquiao, Floyd fought everybody out there, in their prime, whereas Manny fought everybody at a catchweight. Do your homework.
Pacquiao hasn’t fought a dude where he had to make adjustments. Everybody he fought, he went in there, slaughtered them and went home. Except for Marquez. Marquez is a very interesting dude because “Money” comes out of retirement and mops him up easily in a 12-round shutout. I don’t think he won one round. And we were all like, "wow" because Marquez is still a tough chico. Nacho always has his boys ready to fight. But Pacquiao fought him four times. Really? I'm interested in seeing the game plan that Manny and trainer Eddie Roach have for Floyd because Roach has failed several times. He always loses to Floyd.
Da Gambler: If Manny Paquiao is the winner on Sunday. What happened?
COACH Q: That means Manny took Floyd out of his game and Manny took a risk and landed a hell of a punch, because that’s what Manny Pacquiao does. He takes risks. Pac Man can only win by a knockout because as far as pure boxing goes, I think Floyd is a smarter fighter and to me Manny takes too many risks coming ahead and I think that the only way he can win is to catch Floyd slipping. But Floyd has been hit hard and rocked before so It’s possible. Manny is going to want to get in there and slug it out, but Floyd doesn’t have to he can just box him. Floyd has a six-inch reach advantage. That’s a lot. And he’s bigger than Manny, so Manny has to take two punches to give one. We will see how that works out for him. If Manny plays checkers he’s going to lose because Floyd always plays chess. Floyd's a tough guy to bet against because I’ve made so much money betting on him
I never met a fighter like Floyd who can just break a dude down after three rounds and just know your movements and how to catch you. And I’ve never seen a boxer just go hard to Manny's body and we know Floyd likes to go to the body and to the head and go to the arms. He hits all around you and sets you up. If Manny can jab he has a hell of a chance but he will have to jab all night. He’s not disciplined like Floyd though and after a few rounds he will probably start trying to throw bombs.
If all of the stars align and both fighters can muster an A-performance from their boxing primes and both fighters are committed to the artistry and savagery of war and not just getting out of there with a phat purse, then we could see a fight for the ages. Anyway you flip it the sport of boxing needed a savior and this fight and the charismatic, controversial, almost mythical figures involved has put world championship boxing back at the top of the food chain. If only for one night.