Friday, April 10, 2015

Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Breaking Down the Numbers

By Michael Montero – We’re less than a month away from the most anticipated prizefight in decades. And while many are discussing the expected record-breaking financial numbers, very few are analyzing the numbers that really matter in regards to the matchup itself. Let’s take a deep dive into the numbers behind Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Punch Stats:

While CompuBox numbers don’t tell the whole story, they often provide a great way to identify trends in a fighter. When analyzing Manny Pacquiao’s punch output throughout his welterweight campaign, a clear trend emerges. The Filipino icon threw an average of 952 total punches in his first four bouts at welterweight (Cotto, Clottey, Margarito, Mosley), yet has averaged a pace of only 670 punches per twelve rounds from 2012-0214.

Indeed these numbers seem to go along with complaints from Pacquiao’s camp of leg cramps and foot injuries the past years. Some would see this as an excuse, others as validation, but either way there is no denying that Pacman’s offense has slowed down considerably.

Meanwhile, Mayweather’s punch stats have remained very consistent throughout his entire welterweight campaign, which dates back a decade. The only real difference is that Floyd’s opponents used to land around 20% of their power shots, whereas his last four opponents have averaged 30% (Guerrero, Alvarez, Maidana twice). While this may raise an eyebrow for some, it must be noted that most of those were body blows from opponents known to be good body punchers. As the old boxing adage goes, “styles make fights”.

Power at 147lbs:
The common belief among boxing fans is that Pacquiao is the power puncher in this matchup, but the numbers don’t exactly back this up. Manny has only 1 stoppage at welterweight, and that was in a catchweight bout against Miguel Cotto in late 2009. On the other hand, Floyd has 3 stoppages at 147 pounds, although many would argue the legitimacy of the Victor Ortiz knockout. When comparing knockdowns, the pound for pound king has 6 in the weight class (5 if you disregard the Ortiz fiasco). Pacquiao has 10 official knockdowns, but 3 of those against Chris Algieri last year should have been ruled as slips.

Either way you slice it, neither superstar punches “hard” at welterweight. But in terms of fighting style, it is Pacquiao who relies on power punching and overall punching volume much more than his opponent. The numbers clearly indicate that he has dipped significantly in both categories recently. And while Mayweather relies on precise counterpunching off the back foot, he has shown numerous times that when he sits down on his shots, he can indeed punch with authority.

1-MayPac punch stats
Tale of the Tape:

Both boxers campaign at 147 pounds, but it is Mayweather who is the true welterweight. As stated above, the American has fought at 147+ since 2005 and is a gym rat that walks around at 150lbs year-round. Meanwhile Pacquiao, who brings disadvantages in height (2”) and reach (5”) into this fight, has to “bulk up” to fight at welterweight, often weighing in under the division limit.

Even though Mayweather has fought at welterweight several years longer than Pacquiao, he only has three more total bouts in the division. The reason? Floyd was semi-retired from 2008-2012, fighting just four times in that span. Pacquiao began his professional career about two years before Mayweather (Jan. ’95 and Oct. ’96, respectively) and has fought 64 times as a pro, compared to Floyd’s 47 pro bouts.
Over the last two decades Manny has climbed higher up the weight scale, fought more consistently, faced the bigger opponents, and ate more leather. All of this points to Floyd entering the ring May 2nd as the bigger, stronger, and much fresher fighter.
Questions, comments, hate mail? You know what to do.

Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @MonteroOnBoxing

No comments:

Post a Comment