Breaking Down the Attributes That Make Floyd Mayweather Boxing's P4P King
Speed, defense and accuracy: Those attributes have made Floyd Mayweather Jr. boxing's top pound-for-pound fighter, biggest pay-per-view draw and the most difficult opponent to game-plan against. His ability to land punches while not giving his opponent that same opportunity is the reason why.
From Compubox, Mayweather has the best plus/minus rating of any active boxer with at least five fights. He ranks as the second most accurate puncher—landing 41 percent of his punches—and is also the second most difficult fighter to hit—opponents land just 17 percent of their punches on him.
While Canelo Alvarez ranks ahead of him in punching accuracy and Guillermo Rigondeaux ranks ahead of him as the most difficult fighter to hit, no other boxer comes close to Mayweather's ability in both areas. His plus-24 rating—difference in punches landed to times being hit—is six points higher than second place.
Comparing Mayweather to his opponent on Saturday, Marcos Maidana actually has a negative rating at minus-4. According to that same Compubox stat, Maidana lands 27 percent of his punches, while his opponents land 31 percent.
What that stat doesn't tell you is the impact and force behind those punches, which is why Maidana has a chance to defeat Mayweather if he can land his punches cleanly. That's easier said than done, however, as the stats show.
His accuracy and defense are just two of the attributes that have made Mayweather a future Hall of Fame boxer; this slideshow will break down those skills along with a couple of others.
Every serious boxing fan knows that the biggest key to Mayweather's success has been his legendary defense. It's not hard to figure out that if you can't hit him, you can't beat him.
The shoulder-roll defense is only one part of why he's been so good defensively, along with his speed, footwork and experience, but it's very effective at neutralizing the power of orthodox boxers.
When Mayweather is in that stance, the window to land a right hand up top is very small, given how his shoulder protects his face. He also has the ability to duck or side-step big punches; unless he makes a mistake, landing anything significant with the right hand is nearly impossible.
Most of the time when opponents throw right hands up top against Mayweather, he'll block them with his glove or use his superior reflexes and speed to get out of the way, but even if he doesn't, the angle in which he stands and the way he uses his shoulder make it very difficult for those shots to land cleanly.
In that stance he also usually has his left arm down by his side to protect his body, so there is nearly nothing to hit unless you can make him move and get out of that stance. When big punchers swing for the fences anyway with the right hand, they're often wide open for a counter right from Mayweather.
Mayweather waits on his opponents to make a mistake by throwing a punch they can't land; he moves to avoid that punch, lands his own clean right hand and then dodges out of the way before the opponent can react.
Rinse and repeat—no one does that better than Mayweather.
To put it simply, if it doesn't land, then it doesn't count.
Mayweather will never throw as many total punches as most pressure fighters, but he does land more accurately and cleanly than his opponent in most fights. He doesn't throw the looping hooks or haymaker overhand rights, but his jabs and straight right hands land flush and are easy for the judges to see.
As was the case during his first fight with Marcos Maidana, looping power shots that don't land often catch the eye of fans and some media members more than the cleanly landed jabs and straight rights from Mayweather.
Maidana was impressive early, and his style flashes more on TV, but Mayweather landed more punches and connected more effectively for the majority of the fight. Go back and watch the portions of the fight where Mayweather was against the ropes and look for him landing more clean shots than Maidana, especially with short hooks and uppercuts.
It isn't always the aggressor who lands more in a close fight.
For statistical proof I offer you this: Mayweather landed 34 percent of his jabs during the last fight compared to just 11 percent for Maidana. In case you thought Maidana was more effective with the power punches, Mayweather actually landed an absurd 65 percent of his power punches to just 34 percent from Maidana.
As a counterpuncher with superior speed, timing and experience on every opponent, Mayweather finds holes in his opponent's defense that others don't see and has the skill set to exploit those holes.
For a recent example, go back and look at his 2013 fight against Robert Guerrero and watch for how often he lands the lead right hand during the middle and late portions of the fight. Guerrero was open for the punch and had no answer as Mayweather left his mark on the face of The Ghost.
Even casual fans have probably noticed the discrepancy in hand speed between Mayweather and the majority of his opponents.
With his advantage in speed and his great sense for timing and learning his opponent's rhythm, Mayweather is often able to get off multiple punches before his opponent can blink. As anyone reading this knows, he's not a fighter who thinks about offense first but uses his offense to complement his great defense.
His ability to avoid punches and get his opponent out of position opens up holes that he's then able to exploit by using his hand speed. Mayweather is capable of landing punches without that assist from his defense, but he's most effective when his defense sets up his offense.
You won't see Mayweather look to throw first during the early rounds very often, but as the fight reaches the middle rounds and he starts to learn his opponent's rhythm, he'll usually start to look for his own offense more frequently, as I mentioned previously.
Several factors play a role in that: By the middle rounds he usually has more gas in his tank than his opponent. He has also identified the weakness in his opponent's defense, and as a counter puncher, he knows when to let his hands go at that point.
In regard to his stamina, by the middle rounds his opponent usually isn't able to keep up the same pace he had early in the fight and starts to get frustrated by Mayweather's defense. That often results in a fighter who either starts lunging in or becomes too stationary.
Either way, that's target practice for Mayweather.
His favorite weapon once he gets his rhythm and timing down is normally a lead right hand. Out of his shoulder-roll stance, his right hand is always cocked, loaded and ready to fire, which makes it easy for him to deliver that punch lightning-quick when his opponent makes a mistake and presents an opening.
When you combine his superior hand speed with his superior foot speed, he becomes a tough puzzle to solve. He's able to move out of the way faster than most and then set and return fire faster than most as well.
Opponents can't lunge in because he'll move out the way and counter, but standing still only gives Mayweather a chance to look for spots to land first and step out of the way before they can counter in return.
Whether it's movement from side to side or backpedaling, Mayweather is very gifted at using his feet to get out of harm's way during a fight.
Watch any Mayweather fight, and at some point you'll see a frustrated boxer try to rush in, only to swing at air as Mayweather easily moves out of the way. He's often the car that dogs chase but have no chance of catching up to.
His superior foot speed and technique with his feet are most often credited with helping his defense, but those attributes also play a big part in the success of his offense.
It's easy to spot how his ability to sidestep or shuffle out of the way of a big punch is beneficial to his defense, but what some may not notice is how that same movement also opens up holes for him to land his own punches.
When opposing boxers chase Mayweather, they often get into poor positions and leave holes in their guard for Mayweather to land quick and clean shots to the head. As a counterpuncher, he will often wait till his opponent lunges in, take a quick sidestep and then land a clean right hand to the head.
It looks easy when you see it on TV, but his great footwork and speed make it look that way. Making something difficult to accomplish look easy is a sign of greatness.