A Money mountain to climb in Vegas

2015-04-26 15:00

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The much-anticipated megafight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sunday morning will be a spectacle for both lovers of the sport and those simply caught up in all the hype.

Billed as the fight of the century, it will pit two of the world’s finest boxers against one another for the world welterweight title.

For fans, it will be an opportune time to finally put to rest debates about the pugilists’ relative skill and staying power. One of them, at last, will be undisputed world champion.

The American, Mayweather, holds the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association (WBA) titles, while Pacquiao, from the Philippines, wears the World Boxing Organisation crown. All three championship belts will be at stake.

But it will be the fighters’ contrasting styles that will make the bout even more captivating.

Mayweather (38) is orthodox (a right-hander) while Pacquiao throws punches from the southpaw stance (left-handed). He relies mainly on a big left hook to knock out opponents.

But this will be a difficult task for the Filipino against Mayweather, a polished and skilful fighter who is unbeaten in 47 professional fights – winning 26 of them by knockout.

Mayweather is also a sleeker boxer, who moves swiftly to avoid major blows. This will confuse the Filipino, who often cuts off the ring as he rushes towards his foe.

Pacquiao, by most people’s reckoning the underdog, has won 57 of 64 paid fights, losing five and drawing two. And Pacman seems to have a bit of a glass jaw. He is unlikely to survive a big punch from the hard-hitting Money, who has never come close to being knocked out.

By contrast, Mexican fighter Juan Manuel Márquez only needed six rounds to render Pacquiao horizontal during their fight at the MGM Grand in 2012.

The venue holds a host of bad memories for Pacquiao, as he has suffered three of his five defeats there, but it has long been Money’s home stomping ground.

Pacman is usually accompanied to fights by a large number of home town supporters, including his family members, but that won’t be happening this week.

So it’s hardly surprising that the charismatic Mayweather has remained the firm favourite to win.

He was impressive in his previous fight against Marcos René Maidana, who he beat by unanimous decision for the WBA crown at the MGM Grand last September.

Be that as it may, this fight will probably give fans something to talk about for a long time – just as the historic Rumble in the Jungle did in 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

That encounter featured Muhammad Ali against George Foreman for the undisputed heavyweight title and produced an unforgettable contest, with Ali emerging the surprise victor.

Even today, 41 years on, that fight remains the subject of intense debate in boxing circles.

Pacman, too, has a terrier-like tenacity and enormous heart – and that may prove the difference.

.?Meanwhile, the handful of tickets for the fight that were made available to the public were all sold out within seconds of going on sale on Thursday.

According to UK public broadcaster BBC, they appeared almost immediately on secondary-seller websites for as much as £94?000 (R1.7?million).

Only 1?000 tickets were made available to the public, although the venue seats about 16?000.

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