By Larry Tornambe
The focus on Saturday’s 12-round welterweight fight is the return of Floyd Mayweather, who hasn’t fought since December 2007. Juan Manuel Marquez presents a formidable challenge, despite moving up 12 pounds from his lightweight title victory over Juan Diaz in February. The bout is live on HBO PPV from Las Vegas after an attractive rematch of Chris John and Rocky Suarez and a solid lightweight matchup between Michael Katsidis and Vic Escobar.
Let’s talk about the main event positives and handicaps. Mayweather stepped out of boxing for nearly two years after defeating Ricky Hatton. Marquez is moving up from lightweight to welterweight, an increase of 12 pounds.
Both factors could be considered handicaps; however I see the weight increase for Marquez as being the larger detriment. Mayweather has mad skills, which should not have eroded much because he’s still young. The added weight (from 135 to 147 lbs) will be a slight drag on Marquez; slowing him just enough that Mayweather will score with crisper punches. Marquez’s extra weight will be natural not flab, but I don’t see it adding to his punching power and the decrease in snappy combinations will be a problem against the speedy Floyd.
Mayweather has not lost in his 39 bouts, suggesting he can adapt to challenges inside the ring. Marquez will come to Floyd trying to steal the show and win the fight. A fight is what Marquez should be at the top of Marquez’s game plan rather than the boxing match Floyd will certainly employ.
Marquez is 50-4-1 so his extra experience will need to take the lead to find a way to take away Floyd’s legs and movement.
Floyd will likely start with quick combinations and later slow his ring movement and counterpunch during the final half of the fight. I see Floyd winning by decision.
Chris John and Rocky Juarez will rematch their controversial draw for the featherweight title bout in February. Ringsiders were split as to who was the leader after 12 rounds and the judges didn’t decide the winner. So we do it again and the boxing fans are the winner, because we look for a bout to be as action packed as their first tussle. John is the WBA featherweight champ.