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.

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