The Mayweather Conundrum
What does it take to beat Floyd Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather, as a fighter, has as many detractors as he has fans. But I think every single one of them respects what a talented fighter he actually is. And how difficult a puzzle he is to solve. So I’ve been thinking, what type of fighter would it actually take to beat him? And is there a fighter of his own era would have a good shot at beating him?
When your discussing “beating Floyd 101”, the general consensus seems to be “pressure him”. Largely down to his struggles with Castillo, in their first fight. I find this a flawed logic.
Firstly, he fought Castillo, the legitimate number 1 at the weight, at 24 years of age, in his very first fight at 135. Floyd couldn’t make a buck back then, so shock horror, did everything he could to take on the toughest guys about. The guy took a three fight series of Coralles, Chavez and Castillo for god’s sake, over 2 weights. It didn’t get any tougher back then.
Nostalgia aside, Castillo was a very tough fight to take for your first fight at a weight, at that age. A tough, big punching, relentless pressure fighter. And I think Floyd underestimated him. He escaped with his 0 by the skin of his teeth, but wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
In the re-match, he handled the same fighter easily, and along with his similarly easy win over renowned pressure guy Hatton, I think we can throw the pressure theory out of the window.
I’m not liking this theory already, but The Captain never ducks a debate, so here goes. Firstly, you can count the number of times Mayweather has taken a serious shot on one hand, so until he starts getting hit regularly, you can probably take power out of the equation.
Like Roy Jones before him, much of his defence, and punch reistance is the fact that he never takes full on power shots. He’s too quick for most stuff, and if something does come his way, he’s technically good enough to make sure a "bomb" ends up a mere glancing blow. I wouldn’t discount Floyd’s chin though. He’s been in with noted punchers in Coralles, Castillo, N’Dou, De la Hoya, and took shots from all of them without incident.
Although The Captain is not willing to go as far as saying Floyd has great punch resistance, the fact that he’s never been down, legit, is probably enough to convince me it’s very good.
Drag him into a war
Again, I’m not convinced. Floyd’s a technician, but write off his heart at your own peril. I’ve seen Floyd go into numerous wars, and always come out on top. He may act the prima-donna Hollywood star, but the kid’s made of iron and nails when you put him in a ring. Watch the Chavez bout, or the Castillo bout, or the Judah bout, or the Carlos Hernandez fight, where the kid breaks his hand in 3 places, takes about 15 elbows and heabutts, and is still comes out on top. I’m convinced that Floyd could go into the trenches with almost anyone, and come out on top, if he needed to. He generally doesn’t, so it rarely happens.
Look at his fight with Hatton; one of the top inside fighters in the world. Floyd for me, was a better inside fighter that night, and probably is a better inside fighter in general. He just doesn’t have to use it. This kid aint no patsy though, make no mistakes.
Can it actually be done? The Captain is unconvinced. Maybe historically, there has been a better technical boxer than Floyd Mayweather, but I’m unsure there has been one in his own era. The kid’s lightening quick in mind and body, has some of the all time great defensive skills and HOF footwork. Add to that the fact that he's also one of the great tacticians.
Even if you could outbox him, I’m not sure you’d outsmart him. Look at some of the tricks he used against Hatton if you will. Ducking so low he could crawl under a snake’s belly. Grabbing the Brit slugger round the neck when he got too close to comfort. Ducking through the ropes when he got boxed in. He’s as wily as he is quick. Let’s be honest, the outboxing thing probably won’t happen, unless medical science allows us to clone Sugar Ray Leonard with Willie Pep.
The incredible bulk
Here I give some leeway. Boxing is a sport where every fighter will eventually lose, if you put them up against someone heavy enough. If you put Sugar Ray Leonard in with Audely Harrison, he’d lose. It’s just the way of the world. Why succesful schoolyard bullies are generally the biggest kid in the schoolyard, and boxing has weight divisions.
Still, I think Mayweather has already pushed the weight issue about as far as it’s probably fair. He’s already fought at 5 weight divisions, and I’m not sure a one time 130 fighter, who pounds the pavements at 150 pounds, has ever fought a fighter the size of Oscar, at 154.
Sure, Manny fought the same guy, but Oscar was contractually obliged to go in as a lightweight, at 147 pounds. Mayweather had no such luxury, and saw Oscar roll into the ring at closer to 168. Bearing in mind Floyd was closer to 149, it was about as big a weight discrepancy as you get in boxing. And he still won.
Why? He was too quick and too good to get hit, so weight was taken out of the equation. What should have been "power vs. speed" turned into a points scoring exercise between the boxing equivalents of The Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote. Watch those Cartoons. The bird always wins.
Power and weight is only an issue if you can use it. Oscar couldn’t, as he wasn’t quick enough or skilled enough. And Oscar, even in 2007, was a pretty quick fighter. That’s why I’ve never bought into the Margarito claim that is bandied about. Sure Tony is big and strong, but the guy’s certifiably the slowest Welterweight I have ever seen. He’d get beaten to the draw by Frankenstein. I’ve had root-canal surgery that’s been delivered quicker than Tony’s right straight.
The Captain says forgetaboutittttttt! As Shane showed, guys that big and slow offer next to nothing when faced with genuine speed, and footwork. Cotto had one, but not the other. Shane and Floyd have both, in abundance.
The Captain says, this is how it is...........
There is a solution to the Mayweather puzzle, but it’s not simple, and cover’s many of the above topics. The Captain says that the only fighter that will beat Floyd is a guy that presents significant size/weight issues, along with supreme technical ability. A technically brilliant Junior Middleweight.
We need a guy who is going to come into the ring at 165+ pounds, but who can also compete with Mayweather technically. That’s not east to find. But who are candidates?
In terms of technicians, guys like Pernell Whittaker and Shane Mosely spring to mind. Both have been solid 147 fighters, with Shane winning gold at 154. The problem for me is they are both too small.
Floyd’s technically superior to Shane, and about the same size. He’s probablyalso a bit faster, with better all round skills. Shane’s reluctance to face Floyd for much of his career suggests to me that he probably doesn’t have the game to beat him. Even at his peak.
Pernell and Mayweather match up nicely, technically, and in terms of size. Sweet Pea has the game to outbox Floyd. He just doesn’t have the size, weight or firepower. I actually consider both fighters quite equal, other than the fact Floyd has much more firepower. Mayweather has infinitely more offensively, so I can only see one winner there.
In terms of size, guys like peak De la Hoya and Trinidad spring to mind. Both pushing 6 foot, and entering the ring at a meaty 165. Both would give him a hard fight. But Mayweather has already shown that he’s technically in a different class to De la Hoya, and Tito was even more limited than Oscar, so I’m not sure either would get near the slippery Mayweather. The Captain says Nein.
Modern day meatballs Margarito, Williams, and Clottey offer a lot of bulk at 147. William’s tipping the scales at 168, in ring against Tony M. I’d say that Punisher Paul probably has the best chance of the 3, as the guy’s a physical freak, and technically gifted. But not gifted enough for this cat. I’m not convinced he’d catch up with Mayweather, and is probably a sucker for a big points loss.
Drum roll please. The Mayweather era fighter, who would have a good shot at beating Floyd is…………Ronald “Winky” Wright! Winky is big (5’11), Winky is naturally heavy (drew with a legit 168 fighter in Jermain Taylor). Winky is technically supreme (watch him outbox Tito and Shane if you will).
Winky Wright, at his peak, has the tools to solve the Mayweather puzzle. He’s a technically brilliant, tactically astute, Hall of Fame junior middleweight, who’s out boxed everyone he has fought below light-heavy. I think Floyd facing Winky, at 154, could have potentially been a step too far.
This is no detraction on the talents of Mayweather I should add. The fact that it would take a peak, HOF, junior-middleweight fighter, to beat a one time super-feather pipsqueak, demonstrates how highly I rate Floyd’s game
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