A few years back, we asked the now late, great boxing historian Bert Sugar whether Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao would eventually fight. In fact, it was the last question we ever asked the esteemed boxing journalist [see here]. Bert, we hope they have pay per view up in heaven.
On May 2nd 2015, the fight people have been waiting years for is finally going to happen, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Floyd Mayweather Jr. will finally get into the squared circle with Manny Pacquiao. For an early assessment of the matchup, who better to give us insight than our friend and master of the sweet science, Bobby Rooney. A retired professional boxer, Mr. Rooney continues today as a trainer in the sport. In fact, he is a legacy figure in boxing. His father, Bob Rooney Sr. was also a boxing trainer, as well as Chuck Wepner’s main sparring partner for the Bayonne Bleeder’s fistic endeavor against Muhammad Ali.
A month and a half from Pacquiao vs. Mayweather has boxing fans engaged in all manner of debate about this epic showdown. Bobby joins us along with my colleague Chris Yandek for an early analysis on what might turn out to be the highest grossing fight in boxing history.
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Bobby Rooney believes that Floyd Mayweather Jr. needs this fight against Manny Pacquiao for his legacy. On what we should expect, Mr. Rooney said this:
“I think that Manny’s gonna come out and he’s going to be very aggressive. He’s gonna look to put Floyd on the ropes. Floyd’s gonna look to keep this fight in the middle of the ring, which I think would be wise for Floyd because I don’t think Floyd has fought too many people. If anyone that can match or surpass his speed, which I think Manny could and therefore Manny’s footwork, not only his hand speed, but his footwork is phenomenal. And if he gets him on the ropes, he can take these angles, throw these really fast combinations and really give Floyd a lot of trouble.”
With the fight being held in Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s backyard, Las Vegas, Nevada, one has to wonder if Manny Pacquiao can defeat him sans a knockout. Mr. Rooney, a retired professional light heavyweight boxer, with an impressive 12-3 record, believes he can win a decision:
“I absolutely think that Pacquiao could win on points. He’s beloved by the public, by his fans, by boxing fans, fans in general. He’s as big of a star, almost as big of a star as Floyd. And yeah I think it’s conceivable that he could win a decision. You know, if he’s able to keep the fight on the ropes and continue to keep that pressure up, I think the judges will be able to make a good call, an honest call.”
There are those who believe a boxer is never quite the same after getting knocked out. Manny Pacquiao has been knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez. Bobby, who is a boxing trainer today, does not believe Manny getting KO’d in the past will factor into his fight with Floyd:
“I don’t think that means anything. I don’t want to say it was a fluke, but Marquez knocked him out. That was the fourth fight with Marquez and he’s walked through Marquez’s punches for the previous three fights. This fight he came in carelessly, got hit on the chin and he went out. I don’t think he’s a ruined fighter by that. I don’t think it’s something that he’s not gonna recover from. He’s looked good recently and I don’t think that’s an issue at all.”
In our conversation – which you can hear by clicking the link above – we discuss the positive impact on boxing if this fight were to be the first chapter in a trilogy. That said, Bobby’s early prediction for the fight is that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will remain undefeated:
“I think a very competitive fight and I think that Floyd starts to pull away maybe around round 8 or so and he just starts to pull away in the fight and wins on points.”
You can reach me with your questions and comments at Jay@CYinterview.com