Like everyone else, Jose Ramirez has been waiting and waiting for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight.
The pro from Avenal is hardly alone in the boxing world and beyond. From George Foreman to Oscar De La Hoya, all will be focused on what happens in Las Vegas tonight.
In the latest “Fight of the Century,” Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) and Pacquiao (57-5, 38 KOs) are scheduled for a 12-round WBC/WBA/WBO welterweight unification title bout.
“It’s going to be a very exciting fight,” said Ramirez, who fights next May 9 at Selland Arena. “Manny is always going to be putting on pressure because of his speed and footwork.”
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Ramirez should know — he’s sparred with Pacquiao.
“Pacquiao uses a lot of angles,” he said. “He’s going to bring the best out of Mayweather. I see the fight going the distance. If it goes the distance, I feel like Manny could also win. People say every time Mayweather goes the distance he’s going to win, but if Mayweather doesn’t have the reflexes he has, he’s going to get caught. Pacquiao can drop him and can also win in points.”
Former heavyweight champion Foreman also had the same thought.
“If we’ve got good judges this time, it’s Pacquiao,” Foreman said on a conference call this week. “Mayweather starts off early kind of looking for his timing and ... Pacquiao will pot-shot him and get ahead on points and he’ll stay ahead. He’ll slow down later on, and Mayweather will take on the more aggression but he doesn’t have a right hand. He’ll hurt his right hand. He can’t get a knockout. So he’ll just have to cruise on in and win or lose the fight just by a couple of points.”
Crystina Poncher, who provides fight commentary for Top Rank, said it should be an entertaining fight “if they engage each other.”
“It just depends how much Floyd wants to get in there and get mixed up instead of kind of dipping, moving and slipping with the punches and what not,” Poncher said. “It should be interesting.”
Sugar Ray Leonard chimed in on Twitter: “So excited to see this fight this Saturday! We’ve been waiting for this fight to happen for so long.. #MayPac #MayweatherPacquiao”
Former heavyweight contender David “Nino” Rodriguez had dinner with Pacquiao in Hollywood two weeks ago and he also has ties to the Mayweather camp: His trainer, Rafael Garcia, was Mayweather’s cutman for the past 15 years.
“This guy is on a mission,” Rodriguez said of Pacquiao. “He told me straight to my face he’s been sent from God to humble Mayweather. Pacquiao is a religious man. He believes Mayweather is being sent to him on May 2nd to be humbled in front of the whole world.”
Former champion Oscar De La Hoya offered his thoughts in a statement to The Bee.
“My head says Mayweather, but my heart goes with Pacquiao,” De La Hoya said. “Whoever wins, my ultimate hope is that the fight is exciting for the millions of fans tuning in. They waited far too long for this match, and they deserve to see something dazzling in the ring. I am hopeful and confident that this incredible week of boxing will attract a whole new wave of fans and catapult boxing back to a place of prominence among the world’s sports fans.”