Froch: Mayweather to shade Manny

Froch, 37, was involved in a colossal rematch with George Groves at Wembley last spring and knows all about the bright lights of big-time boxing, but he admits he is ‘like a kid in a sweet shop’ at the prospect of two legends going head to head.

Mayweather, 38, puts his WBC and WBA (super) welterweight titles on the line with eight-division champion Pacquiao, 36, gambling his WBO strap in a Las Vegas bout worth $300m.

Nottingham’s Froch favours the former but stresses the popular Filipino is not without hope.

Froch told??Sky Sports News HQ: “I think the smart money is Mayweather on points. That’s what everyone is saying but a lot of people are going to be open.

“There’s a lot of emotional money on Pacquiao because a lot of people want him to win, but my money’s on Mayweather on points.

“I think because they’re both so professional, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime fight. It’s not fight of the decade – it’s fight of the century. They’re consummate professionals and they know what it takes.

“They’ll just be concentrating on the gameplan and trying to relax. It’ll be the last hour before the ring walk when you can either bottle it or get up for it and I think both will come into their own, leave it all in the ring and perform out of their skin.

“Sometimes you can read a bit into it (the weigh-in). I know people analyse who looks away first but these two have experience at the top level so I don’t think there’s much to be given away from it. If there are any shenanigans going on, I think it’ll be from Mayweather’s camp.

“It’s all building up towards fight night which I’m absolutely looking forward to like a kid in a sweet shop.

“You’re in the zone with tunnel vision and it’s hard to not take in what’s going on around you. I know Wembley was 80,000 and the MGM only holds 16,000 or 17,000 but the intensity of the crowd is really going to play a big part in how the fighters operate.

“If you’re talking about getting nervous and tetchy, I think both fighters know what they’ve got to do and they’re going to really concentrate and focus to block out the crowd for that tunnel vision that gets the job done.

“If Mayweather gets puts down for the first time in his career, it’ll affect him massively in a negative way but he’s good enough to get behind his shoulder back into his slipstream to keep himself safe. If he gets put down early, I think he’ll recover and get to the finish line.

“I think the same goes for Pacquiao. If he gets put over, although he got wiped out by Marquez (similar to George Groves at Wembley stadium – thought I’d get that in!), he knows he can get knocked out. Mayweather’s not known for putting people away with one punch though so I don’t know if Pacquiao will be too worried about that.

“For Pacquiao to win, he needs educated pressure and he needs to work hard when he’s on him. When Mayweather’s on the ropes, slipping and sliding, ducking and diving behind his chin, Pacquiao needs to punch down on his shoulders and arms. Just take what’s there because the judges will have to score for Pacquiao.”