By Tim Nielson: Alex Ariza, Floyd Mayweather Jr’s strength and conditioning coach, thinks Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) is just a shell of the fighter he once was back five years ago when he was his strength coach. Ariza says Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter now compared to what he was back then, and he doesn’t see being able to handle the better skilled Mayweather when the two of them share the same ring on May 2nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ariza doesn’t say why Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter he once was back then, but you can imagine that it has a lot to do with the aging that has gone on with Pacquiao. He’s 36 now, he’s not training with the same strength regimen that Ariza had him on years ago, and he’s no longer knocking guys out left and right.
“You know, if you talk to the trainers and fighters who know this sport, there’s a reason why they’re all picking Floyd to win. For me, the guy [Pacquiao] that I trained five years ago, the guy that was walking through walls and that was literally breaking bones with shots and comatizing [sic] people with single shots, the opponent that we have now is a shell of that guy,” Ariza said via Fighthype.com.
To be sure, Pacquiao definitely isn’t knocking guys out anymore. Not only has he slowed down with his knockouts, but he’s actually completely stopped knocking them out. The fact is Pacquiao hasn’t knocked anymore out since his 12th round stoppage of Miguel Cotto in 2009. That’s six years now, and I don’t think that trend is going to stop on May 2nd, because Mayweather is someone who is extremely hard to hit with power shots.
Pacquiao wins fights now by decision by outworking his opponents. For him to do that, he needs guys that stand in one place and let him get his shots off. I don’t know if Mayweather is going to oblige Pacquiao by staying in one place, because he’s too smart to just stand there like a rock wall and let Pacquiuao chip away at him with shots the way he likes to do.
“Not only do I have a fighter [Mayweather] that’s more skilled than the opponent [Pacquiao], but there’s no doubt that he’ll also be more physically prepared than the opponent as well,” Ariza said.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach will likely have Pacquiao more than ready physically for the fight on 5/2. What you have to be concerned about with Pacquiao is his mental game. He always fights the same way with him rushing forward in an aggressive manner, and that might not work well against a highly skilled fighter like Mayweather.