May 27, 2017 03:00 AM PST
SINCE 2007

Experts give Manny ‘good’ chance

By JUN MEDINA

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has a “good” chance of winning in his May 2 welterweight unification mega fight with unbeaten pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., despite being the clear underdog in the so-called Super Bowl of boxing.



This was the assessment by knowledgeable American men of boxing -- all-time great Sugar Ray Leonard, three-division world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, and veteran ESPN commentator and boxing trainer Teddy Atlas.

“It could go either way, with how fast Manny is,” Guerrero told BoxingScene.com.

Timing is crucial
“It all comes down to timing. If his timing is on, he can catch Mayweather,” added Guerrero, who has sparred with Pacquiao in 2005 in the early stages of Pacman’s phenomenal rise en route to capturing a record eight titles in different weight classes.

The Gilroy, California boxing star was the North American 126-pound champion when he sparred with Pacquiao at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in West Hollywood. Guerrero eventually won world titles as a junior lightweight, lightweight and light welterweight.

Eight years after trading leathers with Pacquiao in training, Guerrero lost to Mayweather in a world welterweight fight in May 2013.

“[Manny] does different things. You don’t have a rhythm, and he’s just so fast, in and out,” Guerrero said. “And his reaction time, my God, and those hooks. But anything can happen. And everyone knows in boxing, one punch changes everything.”

Mayweather is the clear favorite based on odds posted Monday at VegasInsider.com, where it would take a $240 bet on the WBA/WBC welterweight champion to win $100. On the flip side, a $100 wager on Pacquiao -- the WBO welter champ -- would yield a $200 return.

But Guerrero believes the fight is dead even -- a 50/50 proposition.

“I think it’s a pick ‘em fight,” he said.

‘Too close to call’
Like Guerrero, living all-time great Sugar Ray Leonard thinks Mayweather vs Pacquiao is too close to call and could go either way.

“I lean towards Mayweather because he hasn’t lost yet, he has not tasted defeat yet,” Leonard said in an interview with Access Hollywood Live, a video of which was posted on Yahoo Sports.

The 59-year-old Leonard, the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses and the first to win five titles in five weight divisions, said being unbeaten was a “big plus psychologically and spiritually” for Mayweather.

However, Leonard is giving Pacquiao an even chance to beat Mayweather because of his speed, power and overall boxing skills.

“With Pacquiao, I think he is the most incredible fighter, the most gifted fighter in the world,” said Leonard, a boxing Hall of Famer who beat fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Wilfred Benitez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler.

‘Good chance’
ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas is giving Pacquiao a “good chance’ because Mayweather’s defensive style could prove to be his own undoing.

“I think Pacquiao has a good chance, because the greatest strength of Floyd Mayweather is also his greatest weakness -- his defense,” Atlas told ESNews boxing channel’s Elie Seckbach.

“[Floyd] goes into it too much sometimes. Sometimes he does not throw enough. And he gives [opponents] a chance to get into him,” he said to Seckbach in an interview Monday.

Atlas also said Pacquiao’s hand and foot speed could enable him to break through Mayweather’s vaunted defensive shield.

“A guy like Pacquiao -- who does put punches together, who does have good hand speed -- can get an opportunity to get into him in all spots and win rounds in all spots,” said Atlas, also a respected trainer, who runs three boxing gyms for kids in New York.

“And the one thing I want about giving Pacquiao a chance is not about his hand speed only. But it’s all about his foot speed. He has the foot speed to get to Mayweather when he needs to get to him,” the boxing commentator added.