The Tape Says Floyd Mayweather, My Heart Say’s Juan Marquez!
By Coach K (Sept 19, 2009) Doghouse Boxing  
As the September 19th showdown for “Numero Uno” draws near, the attractive fight between undefeated “Pretty Boy” Floyd Money” Mayweather, 39-0, 25Ko’s and Mexican “Dinamita” Juan Manuel Marquez, 50-4-1, 37Ko’s at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, should be a classic. I have examined the tale of the tapes both dimensional and video and here’s what I see.

Will size be a factor? Remembering the old adage a good big man always beats a good little man favors Mayweather. But size always a factor, is not always the deciding factor. How the difference in size or weight is handled will tell the story.

“Money” Mayweather is naturally the bigger, heavier man and while Marquez is moving up two weight classes the true question is not the weight itself but how the weight was put on and how it is managed. How will it affect Marquez or will it? I believe the delay in the fight from July 18th to Seprember 19th due to the Mayweather’s injury may have benefited Marquez.

Speed is the dominant factor. In this fight in Mayweather clearly holds the advantage in the speed department. Now after re-examining Floyd’s last six bouts going back to Arturo Gatti in 2005 the list reads Ricky Hatton, an older Oscar De La Hoya, a mismatched Carlos Baldomir, southpaw Zab “Super” Judah, and Sharmba Mitchell rebounding after his destruction at the hands of Kosta Tszyu none of which were anywhere in Mayweather’s speed range and Marquez right now would be quicker than those mentioned in those fights. The question remains how much or at all will the weight from moving up two weight classes will affect Marquez speed or more importantly his timing. Timing is the one thing that can neutralize or beat speed and when sharp “Dinamita” explodes right on time.

Mayweather is about an inch taller and holds a 72” to 67” overall reach advantage over Marquez who’s reach is two inches shorter than Jose Luis Castillo’s. In their first meeting Castillo gave Mayweather his toughest test and Marquez is quicker than “El Terrible.” Marquez possess more speed than any of those last six opponents and he punches in bunches. Given the fact that Mayweather is faster than Marquez it may very well be Marquez’s combination punching and timing that makes the difference. It was the quickness and timing of Marquez counter punching that played so well against the quicker Manny Pacquiao. The real question concerning speed is whether Marquez will be able to retain his reflexes and customary hand speed fighting at the heavier weight.

Now regarding the question of toughness and chin? Marquez has been down several times in his career while Floyd has only been down twice, the first time to Carlos Hernandez May 2001 and a off balance knockdown missed by referee Richard Steele against Zab Judah 2006. Both have good recovery skills while Mayweather’s defense has allowed him to avoid the types of shots that planted Marquez.

The talented Mexican and his trainer will enter after watching hours of film particularly country man Jose Luis Castillo’s two fights with Mayweather in 2002. Most believe that the first meeting was “Money’s” toughest fight and many ringside felt Castillo won the fight. Watching the second fight in which Mayweather kept his space boxing Castillo early who was able to get inside and land to the body in the middle rounds.Mayweather grabbed the decision by boxing and moving in the later rounds will give team Marquez some insight of what to expect when Mayweather plays runner. Marquez and trainer Nacho Beristain watching the Mayweather vs Hatton, Phillip N'dou and the fourth round versus Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley fights should help Marquez find a way to work his way in and avoid that big shot.

As far as toughness Marquez proved his shield in his first fight with Pacquiao picking himself up off the deck three times in the first round and then go on to earn a draw. He also got caught early facing Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz in his last outing and was cut but adjusted finishing hard stopping Diaz in the ninth round. Granted neither is Mayweather but Marquez is a tough cookie and gets stronger as the fight wears on. “Pretty Boy” showed his pedigree in the fourth round against Demarcus Corley when he was staggered in the fourth but put it back together to drop Corley in the eight and tenth rounds. As far as playing rough he answered Castillo’s hitting on the break with an elbow in the following round showing he will fight the battle on all fronts.

Marquez is a sharp shooter who throws a lot of leather and has stopped the likes of Thai “The Pit Bull” Terdsak Jandaeng, Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor and Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz all who had never been stopped in their 116 fights collectively.

Back to Mayweather’s injury, assuming the rib injury allegedly sustained sparring with relatively unknown Juan Pablo Montes De Oca is for real and not a ploy to get the older Marque to over train rib injuries take time to heal add to that the extra time may have helped Marquez more than it did Mayweather. Despite rib injuries having a way of lingering Mayweather did not appear to be hampered by the injury during his subsequent training. Again, did the added month delay caused by Mayweather’s injury allow Marquez’s champion caliber trainer Nacho Beristain the extra necessary time to fine tune and make necessary adjustments.

Mayweather holds the edge in age but four years isn’t that insurmountable considering his 20 months of inactivity due to a self imposed retirement. Some believe that time allowed Mayweather to rest while others say it allowed him to avoid Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and “Sugar” Shane Mosley.

Total bouts may play more of a factor with Marquez having 55 including some tough wars like the ones with Barrera, John and of course Pacquiao. His resume may be missing some big name fights but it was usually due to people ducking him. Mayweather on the other hand coming in undefeated in 39 fights hasn’t been in any real wars with the exception of the aforementioned Castillo bout. The number of fights just may give Marquez the edge in experience considering the Mayweather hasn’t really faced any true adversity inside the ring.

Both have respected corners. Marquez trained by Nacho Beristain also trains Juan’s brother former bantamweight champion Rafeal and trained bantamweight and super bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza, WBC Super Flyweight Champion Gilberto Roman the great strawweight and light flyweight champion Ricardo Lopez.

Mayweather surrounded by family, his father Floyd Sr. a top ten ranked welterweight until being stopped by Sugar Ray Leonard and his uncle Roger Mayweather a two-time world champion and veteran cutman Rafeal Garcia.

There have been several interruptions in Mayweather’s training. The rib injury, Floyd’s trainer / uncle, Roger Mayweather being arrested by police for assault on one of his one of his female fighters and the latest an on going investigation into a shooting outside a Las Vegas bowling alley where Mayweather’s car was video taped and the subsequent confiscation of guns, ammunition and bullet proof vests from his home. All that said, so far Floyd has never allowed anything outside the ring to effect his training or performance.

More than matching skills it will come down to styles. Mayweather is the more skillful defensive fighter with Marquez holding a slight edge on Mayweather in the offensive category. Both are accomplished counter punchers with Marquez being the busier fighter with a constant body attack. Mayweather is the more mobile fighter by far and while both fighters have demonstrated a sharp inside fight game Marquez holds a slight edge with his activity and body attack. Mayweather also has a tendency to fight off the ropes becoming totally defensive as he did in the Castillo, Hatton and DeLahoya fights. Marquez must take advantage of those respites. Mayweather very disciplined in the ring usually sticks to his fight plan and doesn’t allow his opponent or the crowd take him out of his game. Knowing this Marquez while pressuring must stay composed and not get away from his jab get to Mayweather’s left side and may be he gets frustrated.

When the undefeated six time champion hides behind is rolled left shoulder he should step right and take the left side of Mayweather’s body, use his right hand to pound his ribs, arms and shoulder even his thigh, anything he can get. That was something available to Hatton but he gave it away looking to land his big left hook. Marquez needs to control the middle of the ring keeping his hands high, remain a small target, don’t square up and don’t chase. He must play the matador. He should use a fighting pressure, not a walk down. Punch with a high work rate always using angles finding Mayweather’s left side and never back straight up.

This is one of those fights that no matter who wins both sides will have their fair share of excuses. Mayweather holds all the tangible assets. He’s quicker, bigger more agile. For Marquez it’s more the intangibles that could allow Marquez to play the role of spoiler. His timing and work rate, his ability to recover and adapt along with his desire and pride to be ranked with Mexico’s greatest fighters. He has the tools to upset the “Pretty Boy” can he execute is the question.

Motivation’s not a factor in either camp. Both have several reasons for wanting this win. First of course there is the winner should get Pacquiao assuming he gets past Cotto in November. Both would certainly love the monstrous payday that would come with that fight and the sure promotion to the top of the pound for pound list. Mayweather would also add a seventh world title the most ever held by any fighter in history surpassing “Sugar” Ray Robinson. On the other hand Marquez would place himself with the all time Mexican greats like Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales but more importantly give him the third fight with “Pac Man” and a shot to redeem himself from the split decision loss he and so many felt he won and what better way to celebrate a belated Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16th).

When it comes down to drive let’s give “Money” Mayweather his props for choosing Marquez in the first place. Whether it was his true competitiveness or just picking another fighter who has to move up to help close the difference in his 6 million dollar crisis with the IRS while waiting for the real money fight Manny Pacquiao. One thing is for sure, it’s “Pretty Boy’s” pride that has always motivated him to train his hardest along with his desire to be the best this fight should be no different.

There’s no doubt money was also a factor when Marquez jumped on the offer but the challenge and a sure road back to the “Pac man” certainly had its influence. Watching some of Marquez training methods like running at fourteen thousand feet above sea level and throwing boulders, eating twenty five quail eggs and consuming his own urine before ending the day in a hyperbaric chamber could fit in any of the six “Rocky” movies and when you have a fighter of Marquez talent a “Rocky” mentality could only help.

Even in victory a Marquez win may not be pretty. It will be his determination, timing and keen ability to adjust even after being dominated that will be the key. To do this he must stay busy with his jab and make Mayweather pay early for all his inactivity. He must make it an ugly pressure fight, get off then fall in, move to his right and not move back through Mayweather’s punching zones. He needs to get his punches off then initiate the clinches, even hold strategically at times not allowing ”Money” to counter. He must take whatever openings Mayweather gives him.

Marquez shouldn’t look for the knockout. At times Marquez could even play possum keeping Floyd guessing. He must jab, jab, jab attack the body, get to his left side and most of all keep his chin tucked avoiding the big counter and a Pacquiao rematch could be his. Floyd will no doubtably have his moments and you can’t be sure what style you will see but no matter what Marquez needs to stay focused and stick to his plan, be decisive and work methodically.

Everything says Mayweather but I like the busier fighters and as I realize I may be following my heart rooting for the underdog which Marquez surely is but my gut says if Marquez fights to his strengths which match Mayweather’s few weaknesses he can win by decision. I guess it’s time to shut up and pick. I’ve got Marquez for the upset. Remember what they say about betting with your heart so I wouldn’t bet the house.

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