We can be forgiven for going a bit Michael Buffer for this special edition of the Roundtable - it's finally time for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to step into the ring and go one-on-one.
Our team of writers ranges from ardent fight sport fans to casual observers, which makes for an interesting focus group when we posed the question: Pac-Man or Money - who wins?
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Now all that's left is for you to add your name to the Roundtable - tell us who you're backing and why in the comments section below.
We'll begin with our resident boxing writer and the man who'll be bringing you live coverage of the showdown in the early hours of Sunday morning...
Liam Happe (Twitter: @liamhappe):
Floyd Mayweather - Many believe Mayweather threw up hurdles when he and Manny Pacquiao first discussed a superfight way back in 2009. Talk of drug testing and financial splits always favours Floyd, but there was certainly more room for both parties to compromise, room which was never explored… until now. And that’s why I have to believe Mayweather will keep Pacquiao at bay and score another points win. Call it cynical, but it’s tough to imagine Mayweather taking the fight until he knew he would win.
Six additional years of weathering, a decided shift in Floyd’s style, or maybe Mayweather has only just worked out the perfect gameplan for an opponent who isn’t a Latino slugger overcome by the patriotic crowd on Cinco de Mayo weekend. Whatever it is, Mayweather has something up his sleeve. It’s not desperation – he could have easily filled out his contract with two more duff fights and made tons more money on both. It’s true what they say – if Pacquiao’s the better man, the bout would have never taken place.
Toby Keel
Manny Pacquiao - My head says that this fight has come five years too late for Pacquiao to do any real damage. His verve, speed and power have waned, while Mayweather's chief talents – his wiliness and tactical nous – have only been sharpened by experience. But my heart? My heart desperately wants to believe that Pacquiao has a real chance to wipe that smug look off Mayweather's face for good. It's hard to imagine a man more thoroughly deserving of an utter shoeing than Mayweather; hard to imagine a harder fall than his from his lofty perch; hard to imagine a more inspiring potential conqueror than the philanthropic Filipino.
And boxing does throw up surprises, particularly when it comes to ageing stars delivering performances we all thought were decades behind them (Hopkins, Foreman). That's not the only ingredient: Mayweather is the man under pressure, weighed down by expectation, everything to lose; Pacquiao can give it his all, freewheeling, and having as much fun as is possible in a sport when your opponent is allowed, and indeed expected, to punch you in the face. It's time to put logic and sense on the back burner – and back Manny to go all the way.
Alex Chick (Twitter: @alex_eurosport):
Floyd Mayweather - And by knockout, too. Pacquiao won’t be able to hit his opponent, and will take increasing levels of risk until he leaves himself wide open and gets cracked flush on the chin. Of course, there’s a strong chance I don’t know what I’m talking about, but whatever the outcome there’ll be just enough (manufactured) controversy to guarantee a rematch.
Tom Adams (Twitter: @tomEurosport):
Floyd Mayweather – 47-0 is all you need to know. Mayweather just doesn’t know how to lose and while Pacquiao’s obviously got the talent and experience to push him harder than ever before, he is no boxing immortal, with five career losses. There are plenty of good reasons not to want Mayweather to triumph – his awful track record of mistreating women and his unashamedly boastful lifestyle among them – but the numbers say it all.
Fraser Masefield (Twitter: @fmasefield):
Manny Pacquiao - Not only does my heart say Pacquiao will win, but also my head. It's a classic clash of styles, the best defensive boxer in the world up against a truly great pressure fighter. I believe Freddy Roach when he says they have left no stone uncovered and that Mayweather's legs and greater age (albeit only two years) will catch up with him in the later rounds and that Manny's speed and pressure will tell. And they'll be another kind of pressure on Mayweather as the favourite on the night. Not many boxers go unbeaten in a career. That pressure to be a true legend, though not the most popular one, could play on his mind. And that added adrenaline boost of having crowd power in his favour as the likeable underdog could just carry Pacquiao over the line.
Josh Hayward (Twitter: @JoshuaHayward99):
Floyd Mayweather - It’s been labelled as ‘The Fight of the Century’ but in truth that is likely to be far from how it’s going to play out. While there are many out there that think Mayweather may be making excuses with his “I’ve fallen out of love with boxing” nonsense in the build-up to the fight, it seems inevitable that ‘Money’ will come away with another ‘W’ on his record and boat load of cash. Why else would he have taken the fight? As has been the case in so many of his fights down the years, Mayweather may well keep Manny at arm’s length and win on points, but I can see the Filipino trying to win it late on and end up walking straight onto a big punch.
Carrie Dunn (Twitter: @carriesparkle):
Manny Pacquiao: Mayweather is a terrible person. Pacquiao sings 1970s soft rock ballads. So, I want Pacquiao to win.
Desmond Kane
Manny Pacquiao - His erudite trainer Freddie Roach thinks the little Filipino warrior will outwork Mr Money over 12 rounds. I agree with this assertion, and hope to get some money on Manny at 2-1. I'm convinced that Pacquiao can complete this assignment over the distance despite some commentators suggesting Mayweather’s ringcraft, and perhaps most importantly reach, will see him waltz to a comfortable points decision. It all depends on whether or not Pacman can find Mayweather with enough telling blows. And how the two men cope with fatigue. In the same manner in which Sugar Ray Leonard returned from three years out of the ring to stun 'Marvellous' Marvin Hagler in 1987, Pacman can ring fence his own little spot in the pantheon of great sporting upsets. The smart money says Money, but in a two-horse race, Pacquiao can hardly be deemed such a hefty outsider. A Manny win would be a great moment for boxing.
Ben Snowball (Twitter: @BenSnowball):
Floyd Mayweather - It’s painful to write, but it’s hard to envisage any scenario other than Mayweather boasting a 48-0 record when dawn breaks on Sunday morning. A fight that should have happened five years ago will likely regress into a drab affair as the American marshals his opponent to win via the judges’ assistance. Much of Mayweather’s pre-bout chatter has focused on his bank balance, on purchasing luxury items – comments that make his demise so welcome – and yet even in ‘disinterested mode’ he has the defence to swerve Pacquiao’s blistering attacks. Desperately hope I’m wrong though…
Marcus Foley (Twitter: @mmjfoley):
Floyd Mayweather - The guy leaves nothing to chance. He is utterly obsessed by his 47-0 record. If he thought there was a chance that Pacquiao could threaten that then he would have swerved the fight as he has done in previous years. The Pacman, of course, has the punching power to cause an upset but then Mayweather has an incredible defence. Mayweather on points.
Maxwell Ward (Twitter:):
Floyd Mayweather - I didn’t understand how good Floyd Mayweather was until I saw his fight against Ricky Hatton in 2007, when his feet moved faster than Hatton’s fists or my eyes could follow. He’s not quite the fighter he was then but, frankly, nor is Manny Pacquiao. There’s not much to like about the 38-year-old’s antics outside the ring, but his record of 47-0 in it tells its own story. You can’t help but feel the fight has been arranged on his terms and will end on his terms, too.
Floyd Mayweather - 7 votes
Manny Pacquiao - 4 votes
Now it's your turn. Add your prediction and tell us why using the comments box below.
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