How to beat Floyd Mayweather
By Orgil B. Martin - Without a doubt, this has been the hardest problem to solve for pro boxing trainers since the emergence of the Pretty Boy on the fight scene. Quantum physics problems may seem easier to overcome. Dozens of trainers had a crack at the problem. Yet no one had really succeeded so far…
Article posted on 05.09.2009
First of all, all fight fans, regardless of who they support, should acknowledge how Floyd Mayweather made himself to be one of the greatest defensive fighters in the history of boxing. He is a true genius when it comes to the sweet science. However, as with every fighter, a way to prevail over him must be hidden somewhere. It just needs to be found and discovered.
“How could one beat Floyd Mayweather?”
When asked this question, everyone with common sense rightfully points to the first Castillo fight. Out of 39 professional fights Mayweather had, the first Castillo fight was inarguably the most competitive one, and most fight fans gave Castillo the nod even though the judges did not. But we are not here to talk about judging in boxing. We are seeking an answer to the elusive question we brought up: How could one beat Floyd? It is clear that parts of the answer can be found in the Castillo fight. So, what did Castillo do?
1. Occupying the center.
Castillo decided to set his stakes in the ring center, forcing Mayweather to circle. Castillo boxed effectively in the center of the ring to not to lose that valuable ground to Floyd. A fighter can occupy the center of the ring by two means. One, the fighter must have high a workrate and a good overall skills, e.g. Marvin Hagler. Two, the fighter must be highly effective at jabbing, e.g. Larry Holmes. Castillo chose the first method.
When the center is occupied, the opponent is forced to circle, expending much more energy. This precisely was the reason why Ali could not box Foreman, resorting to the rope-a-dope, as Foreman was extremely effective in occupying the center, forcing Ali to move twice as much as he did.
No fighter can dance for all three minutes in a round. Excessive movement by a fighter will eventually halt him and find him on the ropes. That was exactly the case during the first Castillo-Mayweather fight. Mayweather lost the control of the center and found himself repeatedly on the ropes after excessive circling.
Most of Mayweather’s opponents chased him head on, expending as much energy as the backpedaling Mayweather, and thus not gaining any advantage. When being chased head on, Mayweather is extremely effective. Matter of fact, he wants to be chased as such. He would sting with the lead right hand all night long from the elusive shoulder roll. Hence, the best thing to do after gaining the center of the ring is to follow Mayweather laterally, cutting the ring off, eventually finding him in corners and on the ropes.
2. Stance and style
High workrate from a classical, squared, high guard stance with good upper body movements is required to neutralize Mayweather’s quick countering style from the shoulder roll. Having the sideways stance, like Judah and Gatti did, or having poor upper body movements like Corrales and Hatton did, can be picked apart by Floyd’s counters. Castillo’s stance and style nicely matched Floyd’s as he had the aforementioned requirements. He thus was not countered and frustrated as much as the other Floyd opponents.
The fighters with this stance and style are never stingy when it comes to delivering uppercuts and body shots. Uppercuts and body shots can be a lethal arsenal in the center of the ring against Floyd’s style. Whenever Floyd pushed forward to regain the center of the ring, Castillo fired back with uppercuts and body shots, discouraging him.
3. Point of attack on the Shoulder Roll defense
It is absolutely foolish to try to land looping hooks and crosses on Floyd, as that would put the fighter on the crosshairs directly. Also, it is unwise to directly attack Floyd’s head. Nor is it clever to try to attack Floyd’s body facing him head-on. Carlos Baldomir tried to attack Floyd’s body without shifting and pivoting, and found it absolutely ineffective.
Castillo, on the other hand, constantly pivoted and shifted to Floyd’s left, there finding his exposed front with his left hooks, following with vicious rights to the body. Indeed, that is exactly where the Shoulder Roll is the weakest. A fighter with the Shoulder Roll defense cannot allow his opponent to position himself on his left side, because from that angle his front is totally exposed, not guarded by the left shoulder and the right hand. (vice versa for southpaws)
Mayweather is usually too quick to let a fighter gain an angle like that, but Castillo frequently found him in that position because of the way he was cutting him off and limiting his roaming areas. So ANGLES is the key. Direct punches can be fully nullified by the skilled fighter using the Shoulder Roll.
No direct pressure, but angular pressure.
4. Composure and attitude
Some fighters just don’t believe that they can beat the best boxer in the world. They doubt. Others get distracted by the media attention and by the taunting opponent. There are some fighters who come to fight just to get paid. All those fighters would lose when facing a fighter of Mayweather’s caliber.
It takes a certain, fearless, persistent, and focused fighter with a short memory to be effective against the most skilled fighter in the world. In the first fight, Castillo brought the right attitude and composure to the fight.
5. What Castillo did not do?
He did not jab effectively. The same goes for most of Floyd’s opponents. They are always fearful of the quick lead right hand counter that they hesitate to jab. Jabs combined with the aforementioned factors can very well be the solution to the “Mayweather Problem”
In the second fight, Castillo gave up the center of the ring in the late rounds, initiated by Floyd’s lead right hands. Also, when Floyd tried to in-fight, he hesitated. Had he not hesitated such and let his workrate flow like in the first fight, he could have won the second fight. Though he fell short, his successes in those two fights show us the blueprint in fighting a great boxer with tremendous speed and intelligence working out of the Shoulder Roll.
In closing, I must state the obvious:
If the fighter is not a top tier skilled fighter with decent speed, he should not even bother fighting Floyd in the first place.
If a highly skilled fighter with great recovery and composure fights with the right tactics and strategy, he can prevail over Floyd “Money” Mayweather. I personally believe that Juan Manuel Marquez possesses many of the attributes to be successful against Floyd Mayweather. He is used to seeing blinding speed, he proved that he can recover from losing momentum, and he does carry the right composure.
Marquez’s style fits the aforementioned stance and style that can be effective against high skilled boxers employing the Shoulder Roll. Marquez certainly fights for ring generalship and has a high workrate. Marquez does use his jabs very effectively, and has extremely underrated hand speed. That being said, yes…I am putting my money on Juan Manuel Marquez this time, only the second time I am betting against Floyd Joy “Money” Mayweather.
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