Mayweather-Marquez: When Tough Is Not Enough

Pleas Lucian KavanaughContributor ISeptember 7, 2009


While the whole of the boxing community has dismissed the upcoming bout between Floyd Mayweather Junior (USA) and Juan Manuel Marquez (Mexico) as a mismatch due to Marquez’ recent rise in weight from the super lightweight limit of 135lbs to just inside the welterweight limit of 147lbs, a more in-depth analysis seems to suggest that the fight will be decided on the basis of the pugilists’ implementation of strategy. 

It will be up to Marquez to employ effective aggression while preventing the quicker Mayweather from turning the fight into a counterpunching clinic.  If not, then he will lose a rather one-sided affair come September 19th, with the potshotting Mayweather dominating down the stretch forcing Nacho Berestain to concede the Pretty Boy’s point even if Marquez is less inclined to do so. 

Juan Manuel’s best bet is to focus on the body early, perhaps forfeiting the initial rounds, to ensure a more stationary Mayweather later in the fight.  Whether or not Marquez will be able to contend with Mayweather’s counterpunching abilities at close quarters remains to be seen, but to focus too much on head shots early would play right into Floyd Jr.’s elite defense and ensure a distinct disadvantage to the legendary Mexican down the stretch.  If Mayweather is allowed to skate around the ring casually deflecting headshots with his patented shoulder roll then it’ll be the proverbial long night for Marquez and perhaps a more literal short one.

By his own admission, Juan Manuel Marquez is preparing to face an opponent with skills like he has never encountered before.  Even the great Manny Pacquiao, with his undeniably entertaining style, cannot rival Floyd Mayweather for sophistication and boxing acumen.  This isn’t to suggest, however, that Floyd is without his own unique vulnerabilities.

Like all mortals, Floyd Junior can be hampered, as evidenced by his Super Featherweight bout with Carlos Hernandez or the more highly publicized first contest with Jose Luis Castillo.  Unfortunately for Marquez, said difficulties have always been the consequence of a betrayal of an especially fragile frame.  Also, it can not be overlooked that Mayweather has always finished the victor even when the pain from landing a punch was his greatest source of apprehension.  What Marquez can take from this is that while Mayweather is perhaps composed of the greatest skill set since a prime Roy Jones Jr., he is undeniably lacking in physical durability.  

A vicious body assault employed behind a relentless jab in the center of the ring is the key to a Marquez victory.  He must force Mayweather to utilize his legendary conditioning while conserving as much of his own juice as possible.  He must take advantage of the Mayweather propensity for remaining in the corners and capitalize on his defensive conceit by hammering any and everywhere below the neck.  Of course, he must do these and many other things— All easier said than done.

Mayweather’s strength lies not so much in his perceived size advantage over Marquez, as in the fact that as talented, resourceful and intelligent as Juan Manuel has proven to be, the cold harsh truth is that there is nothing he can do that Floyd cannot do better.  Intestinal fortitude and adaptability aside, Marquez will likely find himself quite simply overmatched against the host of other advantages that Mayweather possesses.

In short, tough will not be enough.

So unless the Pretty Boy has been especially degraded by the near two years outside the ring, the wise bet here is that he will weather an initial Marquez onslaught to take control during the middle rounds and cruise to a unanimous decision or perhaps a late stoppage if Marquez, sensing that he is behind, elects to press with abandon.

Mayweather by TKO in 10.