Roy Jones Jr. is nothing if not unconventional. During a prime that saw him capture world championship belts in four weight classes — including heavyweight — he overcame a series of high-end fighters with the sheer breadth of his athletic skill set. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has leaned on similar all-around toolbox to get to 47-0, and conventional pre-fight wisdom is that the 38-year-old will need all those tools in working order against Manny Pacquiao. But Jones sees it differently.
Rather than the exhibition of defensive prowess and precision counterpunching that many feel will be “Money’s” path to victory at the MGM Grand, Jones told CBSSports.com that the aging process will prompt Mayweather to use difference-making weapons he’s never been forced to call upon. “The fact that he can’t do things at 38 that he did at 28 makes him more dangerous,” Jones said. “He’s always been a great puncher, but he’s never had to use it because he was so much better than everyone skillfully, and he had so much athleticism that he hasn’t had to depend on his punching power.”
Mayweather’s last inside-the-distance win came with dubious circumstances in 2011, when he dropped Victor Ortiz with a right hand when Ortiz was turned toward referee Joe Cortez. Aside from that, his last KO was in 2007, when he stopped Ricky Hatton in Round 10. Pacquiao is in the midst of his own KO drought — he hasn’t stopped anyone since Miguel Cotto in 2009 — but he scored multiple knockdowns on the way to a 12-round decision over Chris Algieri in November.
Most observers believe the Filipino’s recipe for victory involves simply overwhelming Mayweather with a superior work rate, but Jones suggested that’s precisely the strategy that could bring trouble. “Pacquiao may think he’ll be able to outwork him and not worry about (Mayweather’s) power because he hasn’t had to use it,” Jones said. “Now that he’s gotten older he will use his power, and that’s going to be a bigger problem for Pacquiao. Because, to me, the only way for him to beat Pacquiao is to get him out of there.”
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