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Mayweather vs Pacquiao: 1980s Celtics vs Lakers?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Will fight fans be reminded of the 1980s Lakers vs Celtics rivalry on May 2 when boxing's two biggest titans clash, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao?

(Photo Credit LDN BOXING @LDN_BOX)

Given Manny and Floyd are basketball fans, perhaps it's befitting to make some NBA analogies to the fighters' respective styles in the ring.

Is Mayweather vs Pacquiao, in many ways, symbolic of the great L.A. Lakers vs Boston Celtics rivalry of the 1980s?

For starters, the fighters are bitter rivals and near polar opposites, like the old school Lakers and Celtic teams three decades ago.

So who would be who?

Manny Pacquiao, like the Lakers of the 80s, executes best at a fast pace. And his quick feet and fancy footwork is boxing's version of the Lakers' fabled 'Showtime' offense.

"Now you see me, now you don't."

Magic Johnson's spin move, the no-look, behind-the-back passes and the speed and explosiveness....  Perhaps it's no coincidence Manny trains in Los Angeles?

Moreover, like the Lakers back in the day, PacMan is a scoring machine. His punches in bunches would be the NBA equivalent of LA's run-in-gun.

And Pac-Man's patented moves, like his potent 'right hook/roll under' and the spellbinding feints are very similar to Kareem's skyhooks in one very important way -  You study them on film and know it's coming yet you simply can't stop it during live action. (Ask Ricky Hatton about that one... "Right hook, roll under... Right hook, roll under. Same move every time")

Exciting, fancy and fan-friendly, the highly-offensive Pacquiao, like the old school Lakers, runs rings around his opponents, befuddling them with a fast pace and striking when least expected, much to the delight of fans.

On the other side of the ring will stand Floyd Mayweather.

Similar to the old school Celtics, Floyd is a master of technique and his pinpoint accuracy is something to behold. Like Larry Bird he's a surgeon of sorts, and can find the target from 3pt range and at close quarters.

If the technique-oriented Celtics were throwbacks to the 1950s and 60s, Floyd, with his signature shoulder roll and defensive prowess, is a throwback to old school fighters like Willie Pep and Jersey Joe Walcott who turned their awesome ability to avoid punches into a literal art-form.

How clever was Pep?

"You couldn't hit him in the ass with a handful of rice" is the old adage that will stick with him forever.

But despite Floyd's Pep-like reflexes, he, not unlike the old Celtics, operates at a controlled, more methodical pace, and is quick to stifle an opponent's game plan from the very start.

And when stymied early, he adapts well under pressure, making the appropriate adjustments like Kevin McHale during a late game, come-from-behind Boston surge.

A 'thing of beauty' to connoisseurs. this style is not as pretty (pun not intended) to the casual fan as Lakers 'Showtime,' but very effective.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao

So who will win Mayweather vs Pacquiao?

Examine the Lakers and Celtics of the 1980s.  When the Lakers had Boston trying to play 'Showtime,' things didn't work out well for Bird & Co.

The winner of Mayweather vs Pacquiao will likely control the flow. 

A fast-paced, high scoring affair would favor Pacquiao while a more controlled pace will favor Floyd.

And if, during the bout, a fighter appears to be winning while fighting at his opponent's pace, don't be surprised if the tide turns. Athletes perform best operating in their own natural element.

The early rounds will be pivotal and the fighter who can set his pace and dictate the tempo will likely have a heavy advantage.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao | News


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