Friday, March 31, 2023  |


Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao fight picks: Round 1

Fighters Network

Floyd Mayweather Manny Pacquiao fight shopped Lbello Rchrishyde small

Finally, after several years of waiting, we’re just days away from the biggest fight in boxing as Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes on Manny Pacquiao in a RING, WBC, WBA and WBO welterweight unification. The highly anticipated encounter takes place Saturday on HBO and Showtime Pay-Per-View, starting at 9:00 p.m ET/6:00 p.m PT.

The contest pits the two most decorated active fighters: Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts), the consummate pro, who possesses unworldly quick hands and feet, exquisite skills and – as he proved on several occasions – underrated toughness. In the other corner, Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) is a Pacific typhoon whose speed is also mesmerizing. He also has devastating power, though admittedly it’s nine fights and over five years since he last scored a knockout.

In the first round of our Fight Picks, here is what the experts had to say on this weekend’s matchup:

Nigel Benn, former middleweight and super middleweight champion

Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Manny Pacquiao: As Floyd says himself, nobody has his DNA in the ring and nobody has the blueprint on how to beat him. He has dominated for years and people say he’s handpicked the opposition but, in reality, Floyd has handpicked nobody. He’s beaten 20 world champions and you can’t argue with that.

Both fighters need a victory. Floyd wants to prove, beyond doubt, that he’s the best fighter of this generation and Pacquiao wants to erase what happened in his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

I think Floyd will come out looking for a stoppage but, unlike other fights, I don’t think he’ll get everything his own way. He won’t have the same success he had against the other southpaw, Robert Guerrero, who he picked off at will.

The bottom line is Mayweather beats quality fighters and generally makes it look easy, so I think he finds a way to win this one. That’s my official pick, even though I’m a big fan of Manny Pacquiao because he’s a Christian brother like myself.

Beth Celis, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Floyd Mayweather PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: I don’t see a knockout on May 2…and if there’s no knockout, it’s likely that Floyd will win by decision.

Carl Froch, super middleweight

Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Manny Pacquiao: Time and time again we’ve thought Mayweather was going to be tested and each time he’s risen to the occasion.

Pacquiao needs to be fully fit, with a high work rate, and look to back Mayweather up consistently. He needs to take what’s given: hit the arms, hit the shoulders, hit anything he can. When Mayweather is evading shots, as he does brilliantly off the ropes, Pacquiao needs to punch down on him and avoid headhunting.

Can Pacquiao keep that up for 12 rounds? He’s been knocked out, suffered losses and, like Mayweather, he’s past his best now too.
It’s a tough fight, very interesting, and I’m privileged and grateful to be working for Sky Sports as a pundit that weekend. I can’t believe it and I’m more excited than I ever was as a little kid at Christmas.

I cannot wait but if I had to put my car keys in a bowl, I’d say Mayweather on points.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Tom Gray,

Floyd Mayweather SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: I’ve picked Floyd Mayweather to win this fight for the past five or six years and although I see no reason to change that, I do approach things with a bit more trepidation.

As of this moment, Manny Pacquiao is the man in form. I liked the look of him in the rematch with Tim Bradley and in his whitewash over Chris Algieri. He was busy, quick, accurate and bursting with power and energy. Conversely, I thought Mayweather looked distracted and almost bored against Marcus Maidana, in both fights.

Will Pacquiao be lucky enough to encounter the Maidana version of Mayweather? I doubt it. Floyd is no fool when it comes to this game and he will be a vastly different animal in the biggest fight of his life.

I don’t think Floyd will run from Pacquiao because he generally gets on his bike against bigger, more powerful men like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. I actually think fans might see a lot more boxing from Manny Pacquiao than what they might expect on May 2.

Floyd may have to get off the floor to win but by the midway point Pacquiao will have slowed down just enough to allow Floyd to time him with leads and counters. When Mayweather gets in that groove he is a complete nightmare for the opposition and I think his right lead and body punching will work wonders.

One judge will be wearing shades, that is a given, but only diehard Pacquiao fans will find a way to convince themselves that their man prevailed. Floyd scoops at least eight of the 12 contested rounds.

Mauricio Herrera, junior welterweight contender

Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Floyd Mayweather: Looking at both of them, I think Pacquiao has an edge, I base that on their last fight they had. I know Pacquiao has been knocked out by (Juan Manuel) Marquez but he came back and how he looked, it didn’t affect him. Maybe against (Brandon) Rios he wasn’t as aggressive. Mayweather didn’t look so great against (Marcos) Maidana, Maidana’s a slow guy. I think Pacquiao has speed and throws a lot of punches and he’s a southpaw, that’s gonna be tough for Mayweather. I think Pacquiao has been looking the fresher of the two lately. I think it’ll be a competitive fight but I think Pacquiao can take it on points.

Martin Mulcahey,

Floyd Mayweather PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: The heart whispers Pacquiao while the brain shouts Mayweather. I can see scenarios in which either man emerges with a victory, so this is a 60-40 fight in favor of Mayweather for me. The first four rounds are important, but even with Pacquiao taking these rounds on superior fight-lust and punch output, once Mayweather finds his rhythm and times Pacquiao the tide changes.

The difference between Pacquiao and other Mayweather opponents is that he will not get frustrated and continue to work, bringing out the best in Mayweather, making this a enjoyable fight. From the fourth round on Mayweather counters Pacquiao landing accurately, maybe scoring a flash knockdown against an off-balance forward leaning Pacquiao in the middle rounds that surprises but does not hurt Pacquiao. Mayweather’s heightened sense of distance, timing, and slightly better reflexes (but not handspeed, where I think Pacquiao is slightly superior) enables him to get to the point of attack a nanosecond faster. Thus, lading more and cleaner to win a close decision on the judges cards.

Photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank

Photo by Chris Farina-Top Rank

Viktor Postol, junior welterweight contender

Manny Pacquiao to beat Floyd Mayweather: About Manny and Floyd it’s hard to say, they both are very experienced boxers. My prediction is 50/50. I will go for Pacquiao – he impresses me as person but it is boxing. One punch can define everything.

Cliff Rold,

Floyd Mayweather PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: Both men have slowed down from their peak and that favors the more technically sound Mayweather. This could be a lot of fun in spots but Mayweather has had the better chin; a knockout for Pacquiao isn’t a safe bet. In order to pick Pacquiao, it has to be assumed he can win enough rounds to score a decision. It’s not far fetched, but I’m going with the most likely scenario.

Michael Rosenthal, THE RING Magazine

Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Manny Pacquiao: I would never pick against Mayweather, who I feel is the most skilful fighter of his generation. I think this is a more competitive fight than many people believe it will be, though. Pacquiao isn’t the dynamo he once was but he remains quick and still throws a lot of hard punches from unusual angles. I believe Mayweather will be able to cope because of his defensive ability but he’ll have to work hard to win a close decision. And, for the record, I won’t be shocked if Pacquiao has his hand raised. Mayweather by UD.

Abel Sanchez, trainer of Gennady Golovkin

Floyd Mayweather PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: Mayweather is a little too ring-savvy, Manny jumps in too much, Manny’s a pattern fighter and I think Floyd will figure it out by the third or fourth. But it’s going to be a difficult first part of the fight. The first three or four rounds are going to be difficult because of Manny’s speed. After that, I think Floyd wins a three- or four-point decision.

Round 1: Mayweather is favored 8-2 over Pacquiao.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at