Mayweather/Marquez: An Updated Analysis

floyd mayweatherBy Imran Hussain - The scheduled September 19th showdown between Ex-pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr and the current number two pound-for-pound pugilist Juan Manuel Marquez has been a subject of great controversy since its conception. Floyd’s announcement addressing his return to the squared circle wasn’t met with a great deal of surprise by the boxing public; many believed it to be just a matter of time. However, his choice of opponent for his highly anticipated comeback bout was greeted by the media with a fair share of raised eyebrows and even some groans of disappointment. “Here we go again” fans around the world could be found mumbling to each other across message boards, tasting the bitter juices of another hand picked cherry to add to Floyd’s resume. It would seem the Ring Magazine recognised Lightweight Champion of the World is the perfect opponent for Floyd. Having fought at a career high of 135 pounds, and being staggered by the Baby Bull in the early stages of their fight before using his ring genius to make the adjustments necessary to knock Juan Diaz out, many would argue he has no business fighting at Jr. Welterweight, let alone at a catch-weight of 144 pounds. Juan Manuel has been considered just too small for Floyd, not to mention older, in both physical years and the amount of accumulated damage he has received throughout his 55 fight career. Mayweather is just the naturally bigger, faster and harder to hit fighter of the two..

When phrased like this, then the outcome of the fight seems as clear as day.

But remember what sport we’re writing about here. A sport where undying determination and the heart of a warrior can overcome any formidable foe. And who has more of a warrior’s heart than the Mexico City born fighter who has suffered more highs and lows than a ride at a theme park before finally battling his way to the top bracket of the sport? Finally, Marquez has been receiving some of the accolades he rightfully deserves, and has now been rewarded with a chance to write history against the undefeated and infinitely talented Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It would seem the God’s of good fortune have once again smiled down on the Lightweight Champion, as Floyd’s apparent rib injury has given him extra time to acclimate to the additional weight and work on regaining some of the speed and lateral movement he has undoubtedly lost whilst bulking up for the fight.

From the footage I’ve glimpsed of Marquez training in his usual home of the Romanza gym under the expert tutelage of the accomplished Nacho Beristain, he seems to have added a lot of the weight onto his arms and mid section. Although he is obviously looking sluggish compared to his lower weights, I hear that they have finished strength training and are now focusing the last few weeks before the fight exclusively on increasing speed, so we could see a surprisingly fast Marquez come the night of the fight. During a segment of the first episode of 24/7, Nacho could be heard telling Marquez: “Your skill and precision, that’s your advantage” and “Body first, then come up top”. Both sound bits of advice from Mr. Beristain, in this writer’s opinion. If Juan Manuel has any chance of defeating perhaps the largest obstacle ever placed in front of him, he needs to begin chopping away at that body from the early rounds, buckle Floyd under the pressure and catch him later in the fight with some of his beautiful-to-behold combinations.

Unfortunately for Dinamita, Mayweather is no twig, and getting him to snap won’t be easy. Even after his over two year lay off from the sport; Mayweather has kept himself in excellent physical condition, and although some may doubt his heart, nobody can find faults in his work ethic. “Hard work and dedication” can be heard repeatedly during a Mayweather workout, and they aren’t just empty words. The man’s dedication to his craft is impressive, even if his motives are not exactly crowd pleasing. Using Floyd’s own words: “I kick ass and I make money. That’s what I’m in this sport to do”.

Come September 19th, two of the best in the sport will collide. Regardless of the controversy surrounding the fight, both fighters know that a win is desperately needed. For Mayweather, this is his chance to reclaim his title as pound-for-pound king of the sport, as well as give himself more power over negotiations for future fights. For Marquez, the prospect of a trilogy with Pac-Man has likely been his goal since November 29th, 2007, and this may be his last chance at a third fight with the current pound-for-pound king. Both fighters know what is at stake, and this bout may be considered a stepping stone toward higher glory for the victor – and the loser may find himself, to use Iron Mike’s words: “fading into bolivian”.

Prediction: Mayweather steals the early rounds, with Marquez making his mid-fight adjustments to secure the middle and later rounds but finding himself on the wrong end of a controversial split decision victory for Floyd.

Article posted on 02.09.2009

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