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Apr 29, 2015
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As we continue to look forward to Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight Day (kapit, Pilipinas, apat na araw na lang!), we’ve narrowed down the innumerable musings running in our head down to five burning questions—the answers from which, we believe, will ultimately decide the outcome of this monumental encounter.

Image via Manny Pacquiao's Instagram page

As you chug down that beer on Sunday, the fates of these two larger-than-life pugilists could be decided by any one of these crucial factors. We hope you've got your viewing itinerary all straightened out, bros!


WHO'S GOT THE BETTER STRAIGHT LEAD PUNCH?

The straight lead is essentially a straight punch minus a set-up jab. To an orthodox fighter, the straight lead presents a direct angle wherein he can land squarely on a southpaw, and vice versa. No doubt, it's going to be a night of straight lead shots, potentially at a frequency higher than the amount of times than Buboy Fernandez asks for extra rice.

Who will connect with it more frequently and cleanly in the early rounds will be telling signs to where Fight of the Century is headed. If Manny can tattoo Floyd with the left hand the same way he refurbished Oscar De La Hoya’s face, Pacman nation can rest easy. But if it’s Floyd who gets it going with his right, like he’s done against his lefty victims—Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero—the Pambansang Kamao is in for it.

Both are armed with fearsome straight leads but what's giving us hope is Freddie Roach saying that he has worked exclusively on his ward’s left hand to heighten its venom and get the edge. We’ll probably get to see where the more potent straight lead will come from as early as Round One.


HOW WILL FLOYD'S SIZE ADVANTAGE COME INTO PLAY?

Image via Floyd Mayweather's Instagram page

Former Pacquiao associate and current Mayweather strength and conditioning henchman Alex Ariza has repeatedly insinuated that there’s no way Manny can deal with Floyd’s physical superiority, conveniently forgetting his former boss' fights against Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto.

We see three possible scenarios playing out:  

1) An extra-large Floyd cornering the Pacman into the losing end of a man-versus-boy type situation, reminiscent of a puffed up Nonito Donaire succumbing to the muscle-armored Jamaican Nicholas Walters or a bloated Juan Manuel Marquez being toyed around with by the taller, heavier, and faster Mayweather. This Team Pacquiao nightmare could come to fruition if Floyd puts on additional mass and poundage and still manages to retain his vaunted speed.

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2) A slowed-down version of an extra-large Mayweather getting picked apart by the Pacman. Floyd’s speed could suffer if he overly relies on adding heft to try and overwhelm his smaller rival, thus allowing Manny to run circles around him.

3) Manny offsetting his size disadvantage with sublime footwork and tremendous work rate. The Pacman’s perpetual movement versus Floyd’s physicality will certainly set up a hotly contested finish.

Scenarios number 2 or 3 only, please!


WHO CAN STICK TO THE GAME PLAN WHEN THE HITS COME POURING IN?

Both Mayweather and Pacquiao were never keen on watching videos to study their opponents but they adjusted their habits for this fight. The two superstars fully grasp the enormity of their showdown and have, no doubt, devised an airtight game plan. But as Mike Tyson once said: "Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth."

Image via Manny Pacquiao's Instagram page

The one who can bring their respective whiteboard strategies to the actual mat—in spite of the memory-wiping blows—should be able to get the leg up in the competition. Here are some of these crucial strategies:

Manny

1) Floyd loves throwing an extended left jab towards his opponents’ midsection, if Manny sees him about to pull the trigger on it, unleashing a right hook upstairs will keep Mayweather in check.

2) When Mayweather’s on the ropes, Manny should position himself on Money-May’s right side before unleashing a barrage of heavy blows. That way, he won’t be vulnerable to a straight right counter off of Mayweather’s shoulder roll.

3) Never throw one punch and stay in the same area afterwards. If Pacquiao does that, Mayweather’s counter right will connect. A good way to neutralize the cobra-like Mayweather right is to let multiple punches fly incessantly. It’ll give Floyd no choice but to simply back away.

Money

1) Throw as many right hands from different angles as possible when Manny gets aggressive. Pacquiao on hunting mode is a sucker for right straights and overhand rights. Just watch Round Four of Pacquiao-Algieri. There, you’ll see Manny eating right hands as if Algieri’s gloves tasted like Mommy D’s adobo.

2) Manny is susceptible to body shots. Floyd can take a page out of Marquez’s book, particularly the chapter where El Dinamita knocked Manny down for the first time with a looping right that was set up by a good hammering of Pacquiao’s midriff.

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WHO CAN KEEP HIS PROMISE OF GOING FOR THE KO?

Floyd has vowed to stop Manny in their meeting. His camp has been openly saying that they’ve been working on increasing Lil’ Floyd’s punching power as they plan to put Pacquiao to sleep, thus the wood chopping sessions.

But Floyd is already 38, has a history of hand injuries, and despite a loaded training regimen, he may still lack the pop to land a shot that could separate Manny from his consciousness. However, Floyd doesn’t need too much power to take Manny to La-La-Land, precise timing and positioning can do that for him. Mayweather of course know of this, and he will surely use Marquez’s KO of Manny as his blueprint to victory.

Image via Manny Pacquiao's Instagram page

On the flipside, Manny hasn’t halted anybody since his TKO win over Cotto in 2009, justifying observations that his destructive KO power is long gone. But as we saw last November against Algieri, if Manny lands flush, he’s still a devastating puncher.

If Manny has one last KO victory left in his fists, May 3, 2015 would be a good day to let it out.


CAN MANNY'S FURIOUS WORK RATE TOP MONEY'S MEASURED PRECISION?

Manny’s massive volume attack should give him a chance to score enough telling blows to be competitive with Floyd’s marksmanship. The judges will then have to choose which of the two offensive outputs is sexier: Manny’s sustained bombardment or Floyd’s selective sniping.


Video via HBO Boxing

The ring officials are going to look at a lot of things in making their $400 million decision, but one vital factor that could sway their vote is how each fighter will react after getting tagged with clear-cut punches. If Manny gets discouraged and ceases his relentlessness after meeting Floyd’s right hand several times, he’ll be in a deep hole. But if he doesn’t get deterred and his tenacious assault shapes Floyd into a gun-shy counterpuncher, Manny will undoubtedly claim the sweetest win of his storied career.


FHM's Itaga-Mo-Sa-Bato Prediction 

Nope, we’re not making any predictions here. Mayweather-Pacquiao is too big of a fight to put idol Manny at the risk of getting jinxed. All we’re going to do is wish our Pambansang Kamao the best of luck. Prepare your hashtags, bloodthirsty netizens! #LabanManny! #SugodManny! #PusongPacquiao! #GoManny!

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