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article imageOp-Ed: Why Mayweather's shoulder roll defense won't work with Pacquiao

By Leo Reyes     Dec 23, 2014 in Sports
Contrary to popular belief that Floyd Mayweather's famous shoulder roll defense won't work with southpaw fighters like Manny Pacquiao, records show that the unbeaten champ has actually fought several left-handed boxers and was victorious against them.
But it is also possible that Mayweather's "patented" shoulder roll defense won't work with Pacquiao, who is faster and a more powerful puncher than Mayweather's past southpaw opponents.
Those who say that all the past left-handed opponents of Mayweather do not possess the speed and power that Pacquiao brings into the ring would be surprised to know that some of them were noted power punchers.
Let's examine some of the southpaw boxers that Mayweather fought during the early part of his pro boxing career.
Against Robert Guerrero
Guerrero has a 50 percent knockout rate in his pro fights and had fought some of the veteran fighters in his division including Andre Berto, Michael Katsidis and Joel Casamayor. Against Mayweather, Guerrero landed only 28 percent of the total power punches thrown. This proves that Mayweather's shoulder roll defense worked well with Guerrero.
Against Victor Ortiz
Stats from CompuBox show Mayweather landing 73 of his total 208 punches thrown for a 39 percent edge from Ortiz's 18 percent of 148 punches thrown. Ortiz, who lost to Mayweather via a controversial knockout, opted not to throw any jabs in the four-round skirmish. Again, Mayweather's shoulder roll defense was effective against Ortiz, another southpaw.
Against Zab Judah
Of the total 444 punches thrown by Judah, only 62 landed for a dismal 19 percent success rate while Mayweather landed 47 percent of his total 404 punches thrown.
Mayweather's other southpaw opponents that include DeMarcus Corley and Jesus Chavez, among others, were also unsuccessful in breaking into Mayweather's shoulder roll defense.
It appears that Mayweather isn't bothered by southpaw fighters as shown in his fights against most, if not all of them.
It is interesting to note though that most of the southpaw fighters that Mayweather had fought were lacking in speed. Most of them are known power punchers like Ortiz and Guerrero but none of them moves quicker in the ring than Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is a southpaw with awesome speed and power that aren't present in the southpaw fighters that Mayweather had engaged in the past.
Pacquiao's unrivaled foot and hand speed could present a big problem for Mayweather's shoulder roll defense because Pacquiao has the ability to find angles with magical speed.
Pacquiao can move to the far left angle that is unprotected by Mayweather's raised right shoulder with lightning speed.
While Mayweather has his shoulder roll defense to brag about, Pacquiao has his own foot and hand speed that could make Mayweather's shoulder defense useless as Pacquiao can attack on the opposite side of his right shoulder with blinding speed.
Timothy Bradley (L) defends against Manny Pacquiao during their WBO World Welterweight Championship ...
Timothy Bradley (L) defends against Manny Pacquiao during their WBO World Welterweight Championship title match in Las Vegas on April 12, 2014
Joe Klamar, AFP
In a video interview with Pacquiao's foe Timothy Bradley, the Palm Springs star admitted he had a hard time with Pacquiao's speed and power.
"The person that got speed and power is Manny. Speed and power," Bradley told FyteHype.
"With (Pacquiao), it's like every shot is fast and hard," he said. "Every shot, bro. Every punch is a snap. It's crazy, man."
"I would have to probably go with Manny, man in the speed department. That speed and power combination," he added.
Bradley speaks from his first hand experience with Pacquiao in the ring and if Mayweather can make adjustments to address Pacquiao's foot and hand speed, he has a very good chance of preserving his unblemished record against Pacquiao.
But it would be a herculean task for Mayweather to refine or even change his shoulder defense when he has been successful in using it against southpaw opponents.
Still, Pacquiao is a different southpaw fighter with speedy hand, incredible footwork and who can also be dangerous with his right hand.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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