Leading up to boxing's richest and most anticipated match-up of all time, VAVEL take a look at the common opponents of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao before they meet in the ring for a welterweight title unification fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2.
In the last 10 years, they shared five opponents at different times of their careers. It is important to keep in mind that although they did fight the same person, it could have happened at different stages of their careers.
5. Ricky Hatton
When Mayweather got in the ring with Hatton in 2007, they came in at a combined record of 81-0 and the fight was a very dominant 10th round TKO win for Floyd. In 2009, Pacquiao had one of his most impressive wins against the "Hitman," scoring an outstanding second round knockout victory over the British warrior. Some argue that after the Mayweather fight, Hatton was gassed and never the same fighter after losing his undefeated record.
4. Shane Mosley
Sugar Shane took both men the distance in their bouts against him. Mayweather's fight against Mosley can be famously remembered for the second round when Floyd took a swift right hand so hard, his knees buckled. After that scare and the most damage he has taken in a single punch, Mayweather turned on cruise-control and dominated virtually every round after to win via a very clear and dominant unanimous decision. Almost a year to the day later, Manny had his go with Mosley. Manny put Shane down in the third round which resulted in Mosley going into full defensive mode for the remainder of the fight, losing every single round to Pacman through the fight. Though Pacquiao did have a knockdown against Mosley, Floyd weathered what was the most damage he had taken during a single round in a very long time.
3. Miguel Cotto
The Puerto Rican warrior first got a taste of Manny Pacquiao in what was the Filipino's first welterweight bout back in 2009. The fight was an explosive showing of speed, power and angles by the smaller Pacman and he won with a 12th round TKO for his first welterweight title. Mayweather got a chance to win his second super welterweight title against the Pride of Puerto Rico, the fight was an entertaining showing for both men who were bloodied at one point or another. Mayweather's elusive defense outmatched Cotto's relentless punching; even so, Cotto was rocked in the 12th by a Mayweather attack. Following the fight Mayweather told Cotto. "You're a hell of a champion; you're the toughest guy I ever fought."
2. Oscar De La Hoya
Floyd got to share the ring with the Golden Boy in 2007 for what was the biggest fight in boxing in PPV buys, gross revenue and gate record. What came out of this fight was The Ring's 2007 Fight of the Year. A very closely contested fight where De La Hoya was the aggressor and really got his offense going in the first half of the fight before Floyd, in typical Mayweather fashion, adjusted and eliminated Oscar's jab to win a controversial but entertaining split decision. Manny on the other hand, fought Oscar a year later and beat a dehydrated and over trained De La Hoya into retirement. Pacman won every round, besides the fifth, before De La Hoya retired on his stool before the start of the ninth round. De La Hoya was the stepping stone for both fighters moving from stardom to the elite in boxing. What was difficult for Mayweather, Pacquiao got done a lot easier and won in very impressive style.
1. Juan Manuel Marquez
In 2004, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez engaged in what has been one of the most bitter and evenly matched rivalries the sport has seen in the past decade. Pacquiao holds a 2-1-1 record against his Mexican counterpart although Manny escaped with very narrow decisions that could have gone either way. In the last encounter, Marquez punished Pacquiao with one of the most beautifully placed counter-punches to win the 2012 Ring Knockout of the Year. Mayweather, who fought Marquez after a 21 month layoff, got off to a strong start with a knockdown in the early rounds and dominated the smaller fighter with a strong jab while connecting with an astonishing 59% of his punches. "Money" cruised to a very wide unanimous decision over Marquez.
Final Tally: 3-2 Pacquiao
This analysis gives a lot of food for thought to both Floyd and Manny supporters. Styles make fights and it does not get any better than this. Mayweather is the slick counter-puncher with the best defense around and Pacquiao is a fast, explosive puncher who carries a lot of power. Neither fighter has fought anyone like the other and on May 2nd you can expect the first six rounds to be exactly what you wished for. However, this writer sees the second half going to Floyd by slick defense which is often not as exciting. We will most certainly get our money's worth during the "Fight of the Century" and witness a pure exhibition of skill by both prize fighters.