- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, like all other boxing fans, has an opinion about the long-awaited showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“From a boxing standpoint I give Floyd a 51 percent advantage, Manny 49 percent,” Klitschko said. “Watching their two styles, I think Floyd has a slight advantage and will win on points.”
Klitschko (63-3, 54 KOs), whose historic title reign reached nine years Wednesday -- second longest in heavyweight history behind only Joe Louis (11 years, 8 months, 8 days as champion) -- is set to defend the title for the 18th time when he meets Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) on Saturday night (HBO, 10 ET/PT) at Madison Square Garden.
But even with his own fight looming, Klitschko was interested in talking about Mayweather-Pacquiao.
“I'm extremely happy this fight is made. All boxing fans are happy about it,” Klitschko said. “It brings more attention to boxing, more money in boxing. Everybody is going to watch the pay-per-view. It is absolutely great for boxing this fight is happening. I’m very happy they made a deal.
“Everybody talks about this fight. It makes the sport more exciting that this is happening and creates so much international and crossover attention.”
Klitschko won the 1996 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal in Atlanta, the same year that Mayweather received a bronze medal.
Klitschko said he met Mayweather briefly at the Olympics and never again, even though they have each gone on to dominate boxing in their respective weight classes.
“He’s unbeaten since the 1996 Olympics,” Klitschko said of Mayweather’s controversial defeat in the semifinals. “He must be doing something right. A lot of credit to Floyd Mayweather.”
Surprisingly, Klitschko has never met Pacquiao but he is a great admirer of him.
“With Pacquiao, he’s a really nice guy it seems and people love him,” Klitschko said. “He had some bumps on the road to this fight with his [knockout loss]. I had my bumps in the road too. Look how he’s come back. Pacquiao is an extremely likable dude.”
Like all other boxing fans, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has an opinion about the showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.