Boxing

Floyd Mayweather: Reloaded?

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 16:  Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) and his advisor Leonard Ellerbe confer during the final news conference for Mayweather's bout against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino September 16, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather and Marquez will fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19 in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Rod PorterContributor ISeptember 18, 2009

Floyd Mayweather means the best. 

The most exciting press coverage and promotional events; the most cash, the most glitz and glamour, and the most anticipation.  Yet a Floyd Mayweather fight can either be very exciting, or very boring. 

His last several fights, with the exception of Ricky Hatton, were very slow, and lacked any real entertainment value at all.  Floyd has made it a custom to use his exceptional defensive skills to merely survive in a fight. 

Well, we want to see him actually fight.

Marquez, on the other hand, always delivers an exciting bout in the tradition of hard nose Mexican boxers.  His most recent victory over a younger, faster, talented prospect like Juan Diaz was very impressive. 

Marquez will come to fight guaranteed.  The only question is, will Floyd?

As far as strategy goes, there is no clear ingredient for beating Mayweather.  All fighters have adopted the same approach to wear him down in the body, and keep pressure on him. 

With the exception of Hatton, no one has ever come close to really pressuring Floyd.  Marquez’s trainer, the legendary Nacho Billestein, seems to be stressing speed and quickness.  That is all well and good, but there is no way he is going to be faster than (possibly) the quickest fighter that ever lived. 

I think one of the most important things for Marquez would be to have an impenetrable defense, using his hands mostly to block and knock down punches.  He has to pump that jab in Floyd’s face until his arm falls off, because quickness is not going to disrupt Floyd, but a stiff jab, regardless if it lands or not, is Marquez’s best bet at touching Floyd.

If Marquez establishes a formidable jab, that could open opportunities to land other bigger shots.  Fortunately, Marquez is an intelligent technician in the ring. 

The key to a much slower Marquez is using his jab to set the fight to his pace; without a good jab to set up head and body shots, a victory for Marquez is going to be much harder to obtain.

There is a sentiment that he can win, which is just wishful thinking of the anti-Mayweather crowd, who try to boost every one of his opponents into thinking they can hand the boxer his first loss.  There are no real weaknesses for Marquez to exploit, other than to take Floyd into deep water where he has never been before.

For Floyd, it’s all about what type of fight he wants to have.  Floyd and his trainer/uncle Roger always say that they never have a strategy going into a fight. 

That is absolutely ridiculous. 

They have a strategy for Marquez, just like every other opponent.  (When you don’t allow cameras to shoot your sparring sessions, as is the case in Mayweather’s camp, that means that you are using strategies and tactics that you don’t want anyone to see.)  Like Floyd, Marquez does not have any glaring weaknesses for Mayweather to exploit. 

The big advantage for Floyd is his superior quickness and defense.

However, there is another advantage that Floyd has at his disposal, a kind of X-factor: His reconciled relationship with his estranged father. 

It means the world to Floyd that his father is back in his life, and they now have a healthy relationship.  Floyd Jr. has been craving this ever since he was a child.  A lot of what makes a fighter and influences his performance in the ring, and in training, is how settled and content he is in his personal life. 

Having someone you love in your corner can make all the difference in the world; it can give a boxer that extra boost that could be the difference between giving in, or sucking it up and being victorious.  His renewed relationship with his dad will be an extraordinary boost to his already iron clad resolve.

Both fighters have an extremely high boxing IQ, which can lead to a great fight or a snooze fest.  One bright spot for Marquez is that Floyd is coming out of a semi-retirement. 

Mayweather had been training every single solitary day since he was about four years old.  It will be interesting to see if that brief period of no training, for the first time ever in his life, will have any negative effects.

Floyd is definitely the favorite, but this is boxing, and anything can happen.  Marquez has the intelligence and the physical tools to eke out an upset, but most likely it’s going to be a 40th victory for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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