|What Tito Trinidad Tells Us - Comparing Trinidad vs Mayorga to Mayweather vs Marquez
By JD Camacho, DoghouseBoxing.com (Sept 16, 2009)
This Saturday, Floyd Mayweather ends a near two-year retirement to face Juan Manuel Marquez. The last time a fighter of popularity exceeding Mayweather’s ended a two-year-retirement, Felix Trinidad fought Ricardo Mayorga in October of 2004. What can the Puerto Rican superstar’s return fight tell us about this weekend?
IS A TWO-YEAR LAYOFF INEVITABLY DETRIMENTAL?
Not necessarily. Mayorga caught Trinidad enough to force Tito onto a glove at one point, but many fighters of lesser stuff than El Matador dropped a prime Trinidad cleanly. Trinidad mashed Mayorga for the greater part of eight rounds and ripped numerous trademark left hooks off the ol’ Nicaraguan noggin. He threw less shots than Mayorga, but landed more than twice as much and became the first to stop Mayorga since Mayorga’s professional debut. It was a performance that would have made the prime Trinidad proud.
Mayweather faces a period of inactivity similar to Trinidad’s. But while Trinidad relied on the speed and timing of his power shots sharpness that could have dulled while away Tito put more faith in his power than anything else. Mayweather, while perhaps a fighter of lesser pedigree than Trinidad, needs more tools to put his game together. Time may have a greater impact on reflexive defense than instinctive offense. Maybe Mayweather won’t have any ring rust on Saturday. His year-round fitness suggests as much. But his roll-and-slide style seems more susceptible to rust than the bash-and-mash method Trinidad employs.
IS MAYWEATHER UNDER TOO MUCH SCRUTINY FOR SELECTING MARQUEZ?
No. A fighter who mouths off as much as Mayweather does deserves scrutiny for his opponent selection. That said, Trinidad received far less criticism when he chose Mayorga as his first fight back. How dangerous was Mayorga?
Ricardo Mayorga, like Juan Manuel Marquez, moved up in weight. Many writers considered Mayorga a hazardous choice because of his perceived punching power. But that power, in retrospect, proved to be more myth than reality. The New York Times reported after the fight that “Mayorga’s punches seemed to lack power.” Mayorga hadn’t (and hasn’t) knocked out any fighter since his career-defining win over the late Vernon Forrest at welterweight. It’s unlikely that he would have brought the only dangerous aspect of his game up to a weight he had never fought at before.
What’s dangerous about Marquez? Unlike Mayorga, Marquez is rated pound-for-pound. Unlike Mayorga, Marquez has hall-of-fame credentials. Unlike Mayorga, Marquez is an acclaimed technician. Marquez’s technical ability, at the highest level, remains the most dangerous part about him. Will Marquez’s ability, like Mayorga’s power, turn out to be a myth, too?
IS POUND-FOR-POUND PROMOTION FOR A TUNE-UP JUSTIFIED?
No. Boxing has enough problems these days without pay-per-view tune-ups masquerading around as marquee match-ups. However, Trinidad is just as guilty of this as Mayweather. Trinidad Mayorga was a tune-up - a product of fortuitous Don King matchmaking. An under-sized slugger going into the wheelhouse of a once-sharp master hitter? That had one-sided knockout written all over it. And like Mayweather, Trinidad was paid handsomely for his tune-up efforts. And both Mayweather Marquez and Trinidad Mayorga were billed as legitimate pay-per-view worthy encounters that involved returning superstars up against “the best.”
According to the New York Daily News, Trinidad had high praise for Mayorga pre-fight. “He is the best,” Trinidad said. “He’s the only one brave enough to say he’s willing to fight me.” HBO, in its PPV preview, called Mayorga a “great” fighter and “one of the most dangerous in the sport.”
That kind of promotion isn’t starkly different from that surrounding Mayweather Marquez.
In the opening press conference last May, Mayweather offered comparable praise for his opponent. “I want to be the best,” Mayweather said. “They say to be the best you have to beat the best and Marquez is one of the best in this sport.” HBO, in its 24-7 documentary, downplays the weight differential with glimpses of rock-throwing and urine-chugging.
Trinidad Mayorga didn’t bring down the sport, though. And in the same sense, neither will Mayweather Marquez. The real question comes after the fight. Trinidad fought a like-sized pound-for-pound entrant in his very next bout. Will Mayweather do the same?
Only Mayweather can tell us that himself.
I don’t buy the whole ring activity advantage that Cristobal Arreola supposedly has over the elder Klitschko. Vitali, in his last two fights, has gone more rounds than Cris has in his last seven. And on top of that, Vitali was arguably in against better fighters than the ones Arreola blew through. Maybe Arreola will make Klitschko look old. But don’t blame it on the ring-rust…
What’s wrong with Zab Judah? He’s fighting as often as Winky Wright these days…
Word is that Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins are fighting over dates in the Golden Boy back offices. Now that’s something I’d pay to see…
A UFC card headlined by Rich Franklin shouldn’t be enough to topple Mayweather Marquez. And if it is? Good for Mixed Martial Arts. It’s not a sign of the apocalypse or anything…
If Manny Pacquiao defeats Miguel Cotto, I don’t want to hear any bluster about Manny being too small for Floyd. Cotto has defeated more top-10 welterweights than any fighter in the sport right now. If Cotto’s not a real welterweight, than who is?
If Mayweather defeats Marquez in dominant fashion, I don’t think it’s enough to unseat Pacquiao atop the mythic pound-for-pound rankings. The second slot would do just fine, though…
e-mail JD at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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