Barry McGuigan says that Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao fight will live up to hype
Boxing legend Barry McGuigan feels Floyd Mayweather will just have the edge over Manny Pacquiao in tomorrow night's super-fight in Las Vegas.
And McGuigan, in Belfast for the announcement that BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be staged in Northern Ireland for the first time - at the Odyssey on December 20 - is confident that the clash will live up to the hype.
"You would have to say that Mayweather is an outstanding favourite but he showed against Marcos Maidana - and not necessarily in the last fight but the penultimate fight - that he was showing a bit of wear and tear," he said.
"He was easier to hit and what causes him problems is the fast hands and fast feet. Pacquiao has got that and if he can catch him in the first three rounds then it is anybody's fight.
"It genuinely is anybody's fight but you have got to make Mayweather a favourite, you have to," said McGuigan, who was BBC Sports Personality back in 1985 after claiming the world featherweight title by beating Eusebio Pedroza at Loftus Road.
McGuigan, who now guides the career of Ulster's world super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton, refuses to accept that the fight is taking place five years too late, with the unbeaten Mayweather now 38 and Pacquiao 36.
"No, not necessarily. I genuinely think it can be a great fight simply because it's the contrasting styles," he said.
"Mayweather's stock and trade has always been his speed and so what causes him problems is guys that are fast, especially with their feet, they can cover ground quickly.
"Pacquiao has got tremendously fast feet, throws loads of punches - accurate, hard punches - so I think it's got the contrast to make for a brilliant fight.
"I really hope it is. Boxing needs it. They have shown in recent form they are still very, very competitive and so for boxing it is crucial.
"I just hope that the fight is a great fight because they are going to share half a billion dollars.
"Half a billion dollars - you think about that.
"And Mayweather has been the biggest earning sports star in the world.
"They say boxing is dying and everything else. Nonsense. The game has never been better and he is a complete success story in the commercialism part of it."
He added: "I tried to bring it back to terrestrial TV (Frampton's last fight was on ITV) so we can get boxing back on it because I really believe there is a place for it, especially because most terrestrial channels can't afford sport any more."