By Greg Heakes
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Floyd Mayweather says Manny Pacquiao has lost a step and that the Filipino’s superstar slide has coincided with his decision to split from former strength trainer Alex Ariza.
The 37-year-old undefeated welterweight champ Mayweather weighed in Wednesday on the latest performance by Pacquiao who beat Timothy Bradley on April 12 in Las Vegas in a rematch of their first bout in June 2012.
“Actually, I did watch the fight,” said Mayweather who is training to fight Argentina’s Marcos Maidana in a 147-pound title bout on May 3 in Las Vegas.
“You know, I haven’t seen Pacquiao fight in years. I’ve seen highlights, but I haven’t seen Pacquiao fight since he fought Miguel Cotto.”
Mayweather said he wasn’t impressed and fired a couple of verbal jabs of his own at Pacquiao. He said Pacquiao looked like an “amateur” and that in his opinion the World Boxing Organization welterweight champ has less power and stamina than he did five years ago.
“I thought Pacquiao fought like an amateur and I wasn’t pleased with his performance,” Mayweather said. “He got the victory the best way he knew how. I’m seeing something totally different in Pacquiao.”
Pacquiao worked with Ariza for five years before splitting with him last year. Ariza had a key role in helping Pacquiao win titles in several different weight classes, including 147 and 154 pounds.
Mayweather said it was the first time since 2009 that he has watched a full fight of Pacquiao’s.
Mayweather couldn’t have watched Pacquiao’s first fight against Bradley on June 9, 2012 even if he wanted to. Just eight days earlier, Mayweather had been sentenced to three months in a Las Vegas jail for hitting his ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris, in front of his children.
‘Total change in Pacquiao’s power’
“I noticed since Ariza is not with Pacquiao, a total change in Pacquiao’s power,” he said. “I don’t see the same pop in Pacquiao’s shots, the same snap. He is getting tired.”
Pacquiao and Mayweather were once considered the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters and record profits were expected from a showdown.
But a disagreement over the splitting of the purse, pre-fight blood testing and a bad blood between Mayweather and Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum scuttled negotiations for a mega-fight.
Mayweather, who has been accused by some people of dodging Pacquiao, said even though he feels the Filipino southpaw isn’t the dominating boxer he once was, he is in no hurry to step in the ring with him.
“I’m seeing something totally different in Pacquiao, but still, that don’t make me say, ‘Yeah, I am going out there and fight him,’ because he’s with Bob Arum and I’m with Mayweather Promotions,” he said on Wednesday.
Arum recently blasted the Mayweather-Maidana matchup calling it “nonsense”.
Despite their differences, Mayweather applauded Pacquiao for the victory over Bradley.
“You know, congratulations, he was the better man,” Mayweather said.
Mayweather, who is 45-0 with 26 knockouts, defended the decision to fight Maidana, who will have a hard time trying to outbox the clever American.
“You can’t say it is going to be an easy fight for me,” said Mayweather. “Everyone thinks he is just going to be a pushover but I don’t see it that way.”