Pacquiao’s conditioning coach sees Mayweather crumbling
HOLLYWOOD—More and more bettors believe the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will end in a draw, but the man in charge of keeping Pacquiao in top shape doubts the American will survive 12 rounds.
Justin Fortune said at the weekend that Mayweather might withstand Pacquiao’s early barrage but the Filipino would destroy him anywhere from the ninth to the 12th round.
The Pacquiao whom Mayweather will face on May 2 (May 3 in Manila) is better than the boxer who overwhelmed Chris Algieri in November last year in Macau, according to Fortune, the Filipino champion’s strength and conditioning coach.
He made the prediction after overseeing Pacquiao’s early morning run and exercises at Pan Pacific Park here.
A former heavyweight contender and Australian powerlifting champion, Fortune was present when Pacquiao floored the erstwhile unbeaten Algieri of New York six times en route to retaining his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown.
Now, after supervising Pacquiao’s training drills for seven weeks, Fortune believes Pacquiao is in a prime position to hand Mayweather his first loss after 47 wins.
“He (Pacquiao) is much more focused, much more intense,” said Fortune. “The pressure he puts on an opponent is crazy.”
“From the ninth to the 12th round, Manny will destroy him if he doesn’t knock him out earlier,” he predicted.
He sees Pacquiao bringing the fight to Mayweather from the opening bell of their title unification showdown at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Using his cunning and defensive skills, Mayweather may be able to survive the early barrage, but he will eventually crumble as Pacquiao intensifies the pressure, according to Fortune.
“Mayweather can’t last 12 rounds at Manny’s pace because Pacquiao’s pace is so intense,” said Fortune, who is recovering from throat and neck cancer.
The 49-year-old Fortune said Pacquiao was in shape to go after Mayweather without letup.
A barometer that Fortune used was Pacquiao’s three-time conquest of Griffith Park using the tougher and steeper Bronson Canyon route.
Pacquiao clocked an average time of 54 minutes for the 8-kilometer snaking ascent and descent, leaving behind his running companions, including experienced runners and triathletes, by the time he reached the famous Hollywood sign.
“He’s incredible,” Fortune said.
Bettors are now leaning toward the fight ending in a draw, according to a longtime bookie at MGM Resorts International Race & Sports Book.
The bookmaker, who requested not to be named, told Inquirer.net that the odds the fight will end in a draw have narrowed down to 8 to 1, compared with the opening odds of 22 to 1 on Feb. 20. This means a bettor will earn $800 per $100 bet.
The bookmaker also said that more people think Mayweather has a better chance of knocking out Pacquiao—rather than the other way around.
As of Saturday, Mayweather is still a 2 to 1 favorite over the eight-division champion but the odds are getting closer as their welterweight title unification bout draws near.
In the betting, Mayweather is currently at minus 200, meaning a $200 bet on the American will earn $100. On the other hand, a $100 bet on a Pacquiao win will get $170.
Pacquiao will thus be the underdog heading into the fight for the first time since he pummeled former six-division champion Oscar de la Hoya in 2008.
As for the bookie’s own bet, he said he was placing his money on Pacquiao scoring a second-round knockout.
“My heart, soul and mind is saying Manny Pacquiao. I pick Pacquiao winning in the second round by knockout,” he said.
A $100 bet on Pacquiao pulling off a knockout in the second round will earn a bettor $5,000.