Never one to hold his tongue, future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins was quick to share his thoughts on a potential showdown between Manny Pacquiao, fresh off of his victory over Antonio Margarito, and Floyd Mayweather. "Floyd Mayweather would beat Manny Pacquiao because the styles that African-American fighters, and I mean black fighters from the streets or the inner cities, would be successful," he stated. "I think Floyd Mayweather would pot-shot Pacquiao and bust him up in between the four-to-five punches that Pacquiao throws and then set him up later on down the line."
Surprisingly, or maybe not considering his history, Hopkins was not at all afraid to play the race card, insinuating that Pacquiao and his handlers have steered clear of stepping into the ring with any African-American fighters. "Maybe I'm biased because I'm black, but I do think that a fighter like the Ray Leonards, or anyone like that, would beat a guy [like Pacquiao] if they come with their game," Hopkins would explain to AOL Fanhouse. "Listen, this ain't a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is...but the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting,"
Whether or not you agree or disagree with what Hopkins has said, it's true that it's been a long time since Pacquiao has faced the type of "slick" style that a lot of African-American fighters present. That's not to say that other races don't utilize the same type of elusive "stick and move" style, as Mexican legends Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales have both been classified as extemely technical boxers, and yet, Pacquiao handled them both, albeit it wasn't easy. However, since those fights with Morales and Marquez, which took place in the 130-pound division, Pacquiao has yet to face an opponent who wasn't standing right in front of him. Since moving up to the higher weight divisions, the closest he's come to facing that type of more technical style was Miguel Cotto, who virtually threw all technique out the window in favor of slugging it out with the Filipino icon.
So does Bernard Hopkins have a point? Will the style of an African-American fighter be a problem for Manny Pacquiao? Perhaps we'll soon find out should Pacquiao face Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Andre Berto, Timothy Bradley, or Devon Alexander in his next bout.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: For those that are wondering, Joshua Clottey, who Pacquiao dominated over the course of 12 rounds earlier this year, is a Ghanaian professional boxer, not an African-American boxer.]