by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum sincerely believes that eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao will win by a knockout or a convincing twelve round decision over undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the face-off in the “Fight of the Century” at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 2.
In an interview with BoxingScene.com/New Standard and Viva Sports, Arum said he thinks the Mayweather fight “will be a replay of the Oscar De La Hoya fight” in which Pacquiao mauled “The Golden Boy” and forced him to quit while seated on his stool at the end of the 8th round.
Arum said that if Pacquiao doesn’t knock out Mayweather he will - “win by a convincing twelve round decision. In other words not even a doubt who wins the fight.”
He said that like the De La Hoya fight, Pacquiao will have to use the same strategy of going at Mayweather from different angles with flurries of punches and move in and out.
However, Arum commended Mayweather pointing out that “he’s always in shape and hasn’t had a drink in his life” meaning liquor.
He said that contrary to rumors that the people of Al Haymon, Mayweather’s manager was offering Pacquiao’s sparring partners more money to stay away from the Wild Card Gym, they have “no problems with sparring partners. Freddie Roach with the help of Bruce Trampler (Top Rank’s Hall of Fame matchmaker) has lined up sparring partners that have the same style as Mayweather.”
In the latest development in the on-going war over sparring partners Roach has revealed that he had enticed a so-called “secret sparring partner” from Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas to help Pacquiao prepare for the multi-million dollar fight although he didn’t reveal the identity of the sparring partner.
One of the identified sparring partners of Pacquiao who will show up at the Wild Card Gym on Tuesday, former amateur standout Rashid “Speedy” Ellis (13-0, 10 KO’s), will fight Colombia’s Victor Gonzalez (12-9, 11 KO’s) in Puerto Rico in an eight round bout on Saturday.
The issue of sparring partners cropped up following a report by photographer Chris Robinson that Mayweather had knocked out an unidentified sparring partner last week with a body shot.
Strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza who was fired by Roach and is now working with Mayweather confirmed the report telling us “its very true. He knocked the guy out.”
Ariza pointed out that Mayweather has around 15 sparring partners including 27 year old southpaw super welterweight Zab Judah (42-9, 29 KO’s) who had fought and lost to Mayweather some years ago and 40 year old super lightweight Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (42-22-1, 25 KO’s).
Referring to the cordial atmosphere at the press conference Arum remarked “I think everybody was blown away by the magnitude of this event that nobody wanted to lower themselves to take away from it. We never had a press conference like this with the red carpet and hundreds of media from around the world. Nobody wanted to act like a jerk.”
Meantime 2012 “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia whose three successful fighters that year were Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire who was named “Fighter of theYear”, Marcos Maidana and his brother Mikey Garcia said the Pacquiao-Mayweayher fight which features the two best fighters in the world will be “very interesting.”
He said “I’ll be honest with you. Its very difficult to prepare for Manny. He has power and speed and I’m sure Freddie (Roach) has worked something out.”
Garcia echoed an earlier caution from Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez who told Pacquiao he needs to win by a knockout because if it goes the distance Mayweather could depend on the judges to hand him the decision.
Among the Hollywood celebrities who showed up at the Wild Card Gym to wish Pacquiao “good luck” yesterday was multi-titled actor-director Robert Duvall.