In three weeks Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are set to throw down in boxing’s biggest fight since Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson–except in this fight, both fighters are past their primes!
Surrounding The Fight are several other fights. Not all of them are great, but there are some hidden gems and action fights, and some other moderately meaningful matchups. Kountermove has prices for eight bouts in total. In the weeks leading up to May 2nd I’ll be making my way through these matchups and offering my suggestions. You’ll have to wait till the week before the fight for my Best Plays, but there’s lots to discuss until then, and I’ll be capping off each of my write-ups till then with brief looks at The Fight itself.
Kountermove: Theophane – $5300, Montes $4300
Ashley Theophane and Mahonri Montes are, in many ways, similar fighters.
Montes has gone 6-4 since 2012, but every one of those losses came at the hands of a quality fighter. Two of them, Silverio Ortiz and Jose Lopez, are currently riding impressive streaks of eight and seven wins, respectively. In the last three years, both men have only lost to Humberto Soto, who also beat Montes in 2013. So basically, the worst you could say about Montes and the men who beat him is that they aren’t as good as Humberto Soto. Considering the fact that Lucas Matthysse is the only man to have bested Soto in the last six years, that’s not so bad.
As for Theophane, he has quietly put together a four-fight streak in the last year and a half. None of the vanquished have been very good, but Theophane hasn’t struggled either. He also has some impressive names on his record. Theophane dropped a split decision to Danny Garcia, the current junior welterweight lineal champ, back in 2010, and managed to beat tough veterans like Jason Cook and Delvin Rodriguez the following year.
Both Theophane and Montes have solid left hands. Theophane prefers the classically British jab, while Montes loves the quintessential Mexican left hook. Theophane tends to overcommit to his jab, leaving him open for a counter, but he’s very busy with it, and has a tricky way of backing it with right hands to make countering a risky proposition. Montes throws a decent jab himself, and uses it to hide his best punch, the left hook to the body.
On paper this fight seems incredibly close, but Montes is the far better Kountermove value at a mere $4300, making him the best underdog bet on the card aside from perhaps Manny Pacquiao himself–and Montes isn’t exactly fighting Floyd Mayweather. Theophane has a way of making every fight close, but when his opponent packs a bigger punch than him, he turns into more of a sparring partner than an opponent.
The pick is Mahonri Montes by Unanimous Decision.
Kountermove: Molina – $4500, Gesta – $5100
Before you get excited–no, this isn’t the Carlos Molina who beat Ishe Smith and Kermit Cintron. This is the guy they brought in to lose to Amir Khan and Adrien Broner after they each suffered karmically hilarious losses. The only real difference between those bouts and this one is that Mercito Gesta is two fights removed from his big loss, which came at the dull but capable hands of Miguel Vasquez. He’s knocked out both of his opponents since then.
Molina’s record pre-Khan wasn’t really any more padded than most young prospects, but apparently at some point his manager or whoever decided to stop actually cultivating his career. Nowadays he’s earning money the hard way, a trout paid to swim with sharks. Gesta may lack Broner and Khan’s name value, but he could be Molina’s most dangerous opponent yet. The only thing hurting Gesta’s Kountermove value is the fact that he doesn’t have a lot of power for the price, and he’s not exactly a volume puncher.
Still, the pick is Gesta by Unanimous Decision.
Kountermove: Mayweather – $5200, Pacquiao – $4400
If you know Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, you probably know some of the men behind them as well.
On May 2nd, Pacquiao will have Freddie Roach in his corner, as usual. Roach was voted Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America six different times, mostly for his work with Pacquiao. Essentially, he and Pacquiao are a perfect pair, and Pacquiao can expect stability in the corner.
Mayweather, on the other hand, will have his father, Floyd Sr., backing him up. Roach has already talked a little trash about this arrangement, mocking Senior’s tendency to get excited and splutter nonsensically when things aren’t going his fighter’s way. That won’t be problem for Floyd, who is at this point one of the most coolly confident men in all of boxing. It could, however, mean that he finds himself unexpectedly in a hole late in the fight.
Floyd Sr. is a good trainer, but he’s very much like his son: a perfectionist with a sharp eye for technique and tactics, two things that Floyd Jr. needs virtually no help with at this point in his career. Floyd’s uncle Roger, on the other hand, has always provided a valuable counterpoint to his mentality. You see, Floyd gets so absorbed in the task of solving the specific problems his opponents are giving him that he can sometimes lose sight of the fight as a whole, and wind up engaging exactly where his opponent wants him to. He’s always been good enough to win anyway, but then again, he’s never fought Manny Pacquiao. Roger has always been the one to help him avoid this, giving simple, strategic suggestions to keep Floyd on track.
It’s possible that Mayweather will regret his decision to leave Roger out of the corner come May 2nd.