Monday, September 21, 2009

Scorecard: Mayweather – Marquez

From the MGM Grand, Las Vegas

I really touched on this the morning before the fight in my previous post. If you don’t know, then you better ‘aks’ somebody. This ppv card looks fairly strong with three titles being contested and the other bout having serious effect on the pound for pound debate.

Featherweights: Cornelius Lock (18-4-1, 11 KOs) vs. Orlando Cruz (16-0-1, 7 KOs), 10 rounds

In a battle of southpaws, undefeated Cruz locked horns with Cornelius Lock for the vacant WBO NABO featherweight title. Cruz’s last contest was a stoppage victory over the undefeated Leonilo Miranda whilst Lock had dropped a decision to Antonio Escalante. I don’t know quite what to say about the WBO, for they seem to rank hyped up fighters beating up nobodies rather than on any legit criteria.

As soon as the fight starts the three-inch height disparity (in favour of Lock) is all the more apparent. Lock smartly looks to jab with Cruz looking to go inside. Lock hurts Cruz with a right then has him down with a left, and in trouble when he rises, but somehow he escapes the opening stanza. In the third Lock starts to bang the body and Cruz looks like his punch resistance is back. This round is hard fought with both rallying hard in the final 30 seconds. Lock begins to look tired and Cruz is able to come forward until the fifth when he is just stretched out by lead right hook.

Lock’s career seems to be very inconsistent and thus the fight played out the same way. After a massive opening round, and a fairly strong second, he seemed to become weary and let off the pressure. Thank god he landed that hook…

Lightweights: Vicente Escobedo (21-1, 13 KOs) vs. Michael Katsidis (25-2, 21 KOs), 12 rounds, for vacant interim WBO lightweight title;

This fight was for the interim WBO lightweight title. Aussie banger Katsidis has a high knockout ratio, but seems to stumble in every big test as he dropped decisions to Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor. In comparison, Escobedo’s, a 2004 US Olympian, biggest wins were over aging Kevin Kelley and Carlos Hernandez. As the fighters enter, yours truly is made to look like an idiot. For I had just ranted to an MMA loving friend (I also like MMA) about how MMA fighters walking into the ring in ‘bogan couture’ t-shirts and hats showed a severe lack of class. Enter Katsidis, in a Spartan helmet. Ugh….

The fight begins with Escobedo jabbing and Katsidis darting in and out and landing power punches. Katsidis is exterting a massive amount of pressure and you almost hope that he had more on the end of the punches. Katsidis is cut in the from an accidental headbutt. Katsidis seems to be slowing in the second and third as Escobedo’s countering stifles any attack. Katsidis needs to give him more angles as he just bores in. He starts to land hard shots at the end of the third, fourth and is just bulling him around the ring by the fifth. Every time Katsidis gets in the clinch he makes Escobedo pay, who now is looking sheepish and like he is being overwhelmed by Katsidis pressure. Escobedo has no jab (to establish) in the sixth and is starting to look weary. He manages to steal the seventh however and starts to counter effectively. This is shortlived as Katisidis pressure is simply too much for Escobedo, who just can’t keep him off. The rest of the fight plays out exactly the same with Katsidis coming forward and landing and Escobedo looking to simply survive.

Katsidis was in control for almost the entire distance of the fight. He just comes forward and applies pressure – hard. Which is entertaining however his punches have no where quite the sting that his record suggests. Hopefully more serious foes are his reward but anyone who can box is simply gonna be too much.

Featherweights: Chris John (42-0-2, 22 KOs) vs. Rocky Juarez (28-4-1, 20 KOs), 12 rounds

The generally accepted best featherweight in the world, John, last fought Juarez in February and was completely screwed in getting a draw. This rematch was for John’s WBA featherweight strap and, hopefully, to correct a wrong.

The bout starts slowly with Juarez coming forward and John putting on a textbook boxing display. It’s a shame that John, in his second fight in the US, has so little power (despite 22 stoppages on his ledger) as he boxes beautifully and is soaking up everything Juarez can throw. Rocky is starting to catch John a little more by the fourth but John’s boxing is simply too strong. Juarez kicks up the pace in the fifth and is clearly frustrated with John’s class. As the fight progresses John looks to be willing to trade with Juarez who just can’t make him pay. Middle and latter rounds are more of the same however John starts cracking Juarez with right hands in the 11th. Juarez is still moving well but he is clearly being outclassed as John is beating Juarez to the punch every time he tries to mount an offense. The final round sees John starting to tire and Juarez still coming forward, he manages to rock John but can’t close the show as John stifles the momentum with return fire. Another round would have seen John down.

John wins a unanimous decision to right the awful draw Juarez was gifted in their last bout. With this, John has now made 12 defenses of his featherweight crown and is clearly the best in the division.

Welterweights: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KOs) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs), 12 rounds

Former pound for pound king Mayweather returns to warm up against present p4p #2 and lightweight titlist Marquez, who owns a draw and a split decision loss to Pacquiao. Although both great fighters, and with Mayweather returning from a long layoff, no matter how much they promote this fight (which was a bunch) will make me think that Marquez is big enough to compete at 147.

Money is moving surprisingly well in the first round and staying well out of reach of Marquez. He is clearly stronger and looks unfazed when Marquez lands a three punch combo. Marquez wants to brawl in the 2nd stanza and lands a great right hand, Mayweather responds by sitting him down with a left hook. Marquez is up, and looks ok but Mayweather is already in total control and Marquez is already winging ineffectual punches. Mayweather looks fast, sharp and like the layoff hasn’t affected his movement at all as he avoids Marquez’s flurries with ease. Marquez is still chasing but can’t catch Floyd, even when he corners him. The middle rounds see Floyd boxing superbly, countering the daylights out of Marquez – who is being straight dismantled. Although game, there is no way Marquez can hang with this. Rounds eight and nine sees Floyd further exert his will, potshotting, countering and generally showcasing his skills with great efficiency. He buckles Marquez in the ninth with a one-two. Money has no respect for Marquez’s offense by the 10th and is been able to come forward with ease for the last three rounds. Marquez seems desperate and knows that he is not of this class (or size). The final round sees Floyd land at will but not with the intent of finishing this. Marquez is simply too proud to go down.

Easy decision for Floyd – who about won every round (120-107 by my card). Mayweather looked absolutely spectacular as he took Marquez to school. If Money could please use these skills on someone his own size (although Pacquiao is smaller I would totally take it). The best part of this was watching Mosley confront Mayweather at the post fight interview and then seeing Floyd drop his nuts live on ppv. You know you won’t fight Sugar Shane till he is older than 40 Floyd – so please don’t act like you will.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Opinion: Mayweather-Marquez

This….really caught me off guard. It always seemed like the return of “Money May” was just a matter of time and now it is only hours away. For undisclosed reasons, my lyrical badness has been on hiatus.....

September 19th marks the return to the ring of “Pretty Boy” Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who must be the only fighter in the modern era to have more than one ring name. Since last dropping Ricky Hatton 21 months ago, Floyd has stayed actively in the spotlight. Stints in the WWF, Dancing with the Stars and his general diva persona has meant that he has been consistently on our radar. Which is good, for him, as now he returns without losing any real public exposure, which will undoubtedly help him make “that money” and solve his issues with the taxman. Now, Money May is ending the nearly two-year retirement few thought would last in order to face lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez at a catch weight of 144 pounds Sept. 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Marquez comes with it. Since drawing with Pacquiao in mid 2004 he has fought a veritable who’s who of the feather/super feather divisions including wins of Barrera, Juarez, Casamayor, Juan Diaz with only disputed losses to Pacquiao and Chris John. The winner of this fight is sure to face the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto in establishing the best fighter at 147.


Mayweather is a once in a generation fighter. Stupid fast, superb technically, fantastic defensively and with a great boxing mind. He has won titles in five divisions (130-154) and was long considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game. His speed and movement make him a pure boxer, who can still be the aggressor when backed into the ropes. In fact, so schooled is he in the noble art of self defense that he can turn your aggression against you and make those who come to fight look crude. These qualities couldn’t be more apparent when you look at his extraordinary efficiency. He counters well which limits his opponents offense and he is strategic in setting them up. Although behind, Ricky Hatton wasn’t being outclassed until Money May caught him wading in with a left hook that signalled the beginning of the end. In saying all this, it must noted that Mayweather only has 2 stoppages in his five fights above 140. He also has an excellent chin and has only been taken off his feet officially once by Carlos Hernandez (he touched down against Judah but it wasn’t counted) but this is probably more indicative of his defensive skills.

Although Floyd is coming off a 21 month layoff, he never strays too far from his fight weight, is always active, has stamina to boot and always in great shape.

Rather than any glaring technical weaknesses, Floyd seems to have been hampered by the toll boxing took on his body itself. Nagging hand and should injuries have had time to heal during his “retirement” however, (supposedly) injuring his ribs in training may provide Marquez with a target. Zab Judah showed us that constant pressure and some body work were a way to go forward and De La Hoya, when he used it, jabbed effectively and ended up losing a split decision.

Roger Mayweather’s (his uncle and trainer) legal issues may have been a distraction but, really, when aren’t the Mayweathers involved in some kind of shit?

Watching Money May get pedicures and hearing him play the race card isn’t really endearing him to anyone. He also dodges any legit welters, he would NEVER fight Mosley, P-Will, Margarito or Cotto. Maybe Cotto now, but never the pre-Margarito pressure machine that Cotto was. On top of all of this, whilst I respect him as an athlete, he just comes off as pompous and as someone who has no respect for the gentlemanly aspects of the sport. So take that Floyd! Craig doesn’t like you!!…and that's officially a weakness….


Marquez is a great counter puncher who is versatile in being able to also initiate the action, has fast hands, stamina to boot and an iron constitution. You only had to watch him drag himself off the canvas three times in the opening stanza in his first meeting with Pacquiao to know he is tough and an embodiment of that fierce Mexican fighting spirit. So much so that he is jumping up two weight divisions to fight somebody who is, arguably, still the best fighter in the sport today. Marquez is a good technician with a remarkable boxing brain as he is able to adjust his game plan mid-round without any intervention from his corner. He also packs a bit of power in his fists, although he jumped up a division in his last two bouts, they were both stoppage wins.

Although with four losses on his ledger, he has never been stopped and can weather a storm when needed (previously stated Pacquiao bout and the Diaz stoush are great examples). Both the Pacquiao fights were highly controversial and could have gone Marquez’s way.

The postponement of the fight, due to Mayweather injuring his ribs, was only ever good for Marquez. Trainer Nacho Beristain stated that there was no way Marquez was ready by that point and his body has now grown into a legit welter’s. Marquez has not made it a secret that he will look to be aggressive to the body.

Watch out Mayweather – this guy drinks his own pee!

Jumping up a class is always a big ask. Jumping up two, to fight perhaps the best boxer in the world, is epic. How this weight gain has affected his speed remains to be seen as it is entirely plausible that it has slowed him down some. Something which Marquez can’t afford to have happen. Coupled with this, although Marquez is a complete fighter in his own right, he isn’t exceptional in the same way Money May is. So he will be coming into it being smaller, slower, weaker and older…and not as smart according to Floyd Sr. His (supposed) tactic of chasing Mayweather down will leave him open to quicker, more powerful counters.

Even though Marquez has a good chin, it needs to be noted that he is hittable has never been hit by a legit 147 pounder. Even someone as relatively feather fisted as Mayweather. Mayweather has taken shots from guys his size but never the other way round. He would also need to impose himself physically which he looks far too small to do. There is no way he could rough him up inside.


In order for Marquez to have a shot, he needs to take advantage of Mayweather’s ring rust and press early. He simply does not have the power to stop him however and would need to be progressive in his game plan, adding wrinkles as the bout progressed and keeping him off balance. This looks terribly unlikely and it really is too much to ask him to beat a bigger, younger, quicker, stronger and (now) rested fighter at a weight 9 pounds above his heaviest (at which he had one fight).

Money May to win, but whether he can be emphatic in doing so will be the real question. He has the skill set to exert the pressure or, like usual, pick him apart. It should only take a couple of rounds but it is entirely possible that he could stop Marquez. If I was pushed to narrow it down, I think he will win a comfortable decision.