Even for a man who fights for a living, it’s hard for Jeff Page Jr. to not be a little bit of a fan when it comes to Saturday night’s long-awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
Just a little bit, though. Then the pro cap comes right back on.
“I definitely can look at it and appreciate it as a fan,” said Page, a professional super middleweight from Andover. “But I also look at is a pro, and that makes me much more critical of everything, to see things a little more in-depth than the casual fan, hoepfully.”
Page, 16-1 in his career, beat Codale Ford in a unanimous decision on Feb. 14 in Wichita. His lone loss came to Artur Beterbiev by knockout on Dec. 19 in Quebec City, Quebec, in a nationally-televised light heavyweight fight on Showtime.
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He’s dropped down a division to fight super middleweight and is in negotiations to fight May 30 against Kevin Engel at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla.
He took time this week to break down the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout this week from a pro’s perspective.
“When people see Mayweather fight, they see him running around and think he’s not really fighting,” Page said. “But to me, it’s awesome to watch. He’s one of the best ever because he’s so smart at setting people up the entire time he fights.
“Just his defensive tactics alone set him apart, and he’s got a shoulder roll that I’ve never seen anybody else be able to do … he perfected his defensive game and it’s just so much more evolved than anyone else’s. I like to be able to see a guy that does all that and is also a great counter-puncher.”
One advantage Pacquaio (57-5-2) may have over Mayweather (47-0) might be size – or more specifically, lack of it.
Mayweather is 5-foot-8 and Pacquiao is 5-6.
“He’s shorter than Mayweather, and (Mayweather) usually fights bigger guys,” Page said. “My uncle, Jarrod, pointed out to me that Manny has a lot faster feet than Mayweather, which I’d never really thought about, and that means that those punches are going to be much harder to see and coming in and they’ll be coming in from a lot of different, weird angles.
“Mayweather can’t block a jab, which is going to be a straight left hand from Pacquiao, which is also his best punch. That could be trouble for Mayweather.”
Page has had his own up-close experiences with a champion – he’s trained with undefeated middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin twice in Big Bear, Calif., including the last couple of weeks. Golovkin has the highest knockout rate in middleweight history at 90.63 percent and was ranked the No. 7 pound-for-pound boxer in the world by Ring Magazine.
“My favorite fighter of all-time is (Muhammad) Ali, but Golovkin is my favorite right now,” Page said. “It’s been great training with him and learning some of the things he was able to show me.”
And as far as a prediction Saturday, Page hedged his bets.
“If Manny doesn’t catch him and hurt him early, Floyd will win,” Page said. “He’ll do the same thing he’s always done and keep winning rounds. One thing about (Mayweather) is he’s always done whatever he has to do to win.”