Floyd Mayweather's lifetime of training in the craft of boxing, and Manny Pacquiao's two-months-long cramming session on the ring habits of Mayweather will decide their fight Saturday.
Mayweather (47-0, 26 knockouts) and his trainer/father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., haven't heaped great respect on Pacquiao, a strong signal they believe the 38-year-old's established assets of foot and hand speed and defensive attention are sufficient to beat any man.
"When the fight gets here, then it gets here," Mayweather Jr. said. "And then I go out there and do what I do best — go out there and fight. We have to see how the game goes Saturday."
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) has been unmistakably energized this week, insisting that he's recaptured the yearning for a knockout that made him the sport's top pound-for-pound fighter in 2009 — when he last recorded a stoppage.
Beyond that, his trainer, Freddie Roach, said Pacquiao is well-versed in the do's and don'ts of fighting Mayweather.
Roach has schooled Pacquiao about the importance of cutting off the ring — keeping himself in front of Mayweather as they maneuver around.
And Pacquiao was keenly attentive to emphasizing his powerful left hand in training, considered a likely advantage given Mayweather's limited experience against southpaws.
The Mayweather homework is so important to Pacquiao he took the rare step of watching video of Mayweather's 2006 bout against southpaw Zab Judah.
"Manny's very anxious, excited, after training better than he ever has," said Roach, who first crafted a strategy to beat Mayweather in 2007 when he worked in Oscar De La Hoya's corner.
De La Hoya lost that bout by split decision, blaming fatigue and the inability to throw his effective jab.
The best lesson of that loss, Roach said, is knowing his fighter can't follow Mayweather. If he does, Pacquiao becomes susceptible to the traps Mayweather sets for opponents.
Mayweather's hard jab to the body, along with his head feints and precise right hands, have been the key instruments in his victories.
Thus, Pacquiao's plan to win is rooted in conditioning. His massive calves illustrate his attention to keeping up with Mayweather's famed ability to move.
Mayweather's answer is his counterpunching skill. The best previous counter-puncher to face Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, knocked him out in 2012 after their three previous narrow bouts.
The fight could well be a race, the loser being the first to tire.
Despite the home-arena advantage Las Vegas' Mayweather has by bringing the bout — and its millions of dollars — to his home city, Roach says a Pacquiao victory by decision is possible with volume punching.
"Manny hasn't knocked a lot of guys out at welterweight," Roach said. "I think we'll win a decision and knock this guy … and if the knockout comes … ."
Although Mayweather hasn't knocked out anyone since his surprise punch on Victor Ortiz in 2011, he's fueled the theory he plans some toe-to-toe battles by appearing especially strong in the upper body. His camp included using an ax to chop massive logs brought to him from Big Bear.
The difficulty in making the fight — negotiations began in 2009 — and Mayweather's talk of securing a financial windfall possibly in excess of $200 million, has caused Roach to wonder just how much Mayweather's heart is in this bout.
"I wonder if he's going to show up, I really do," Roach said. "At the press conference, I said, 'We're going to kick your [rear],' and he didn't respond back. His speech was subdued, low key … I don't think it's a fight he wants to be in."
Mayweather Sr. has been dismissive of Pacquiao's threat, contending the Filipino will pursue action too frequently and find himself pummeled by a steady dose of his son's punches.
"Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see," Mayweather Sr. said in his newest fight poem. "… Floyd has made the plan to put you on your pants, so don't be shocked if you get stopped.
"A combination, Lord. Look real close, doc. I think that last shot put the Pac-Man on the floor."
Kidding aside, Mayweather Jr. said at the close of a Wednesday meeting with reporters that his opponent is a "great fighter.
"He's going down in the Hall of Fame as one of the best," Mayweather Jr. said.
"One of," being the key disclaimer from the man who calls himself "The Best Ever."