|Tyler's "Real Bite" with Gordon Marino - On Mayweather, Cotto, Maidana, Pacquiao, Golovkin and more
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 10, 2014)
He is the boxing writer for the Wall Street Journal, as well as a trainer of both amateur and professional fighters. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He has authored several books and countless articles for periodicals (boxing and philosophy.) Please welcome Gordon Marino into the Doghouse...
David Tyler: Gordon, what are your thoughts about the first Mayweather/Madiana fight?
Gordon Marino: I thought it was close. I had Floyd up by a round but I could have lived with a draw. Maidana was more active, pressed the action. For what it is worth, I think Maidana delivered more punishment. But Floyd dominated whenever they were center ring and he landed the cleaner punches. This contest raised the legitimate question, when it comes to assessing performance how much should we reward sheer activity and aggression, even if the aggression is not always effective? It is the issue of whether or not you think boxing is about doing the most damage or - well, about the art of boxing. This was also the question in the Provodnikov vs Algeri fight.
DT: This Saturday is the rematch. How do you see this fight playing out?
GM: I think Floyd will be more dominant this time around, much as he was in the second Castillio bout. In the first bout with Castillio, Mayweather was on the ropes a lot. Not in the second. I think we will see the same kind of adjustment in the Maidana/Mayweather rematch. I think Madiana will have to knock Mayweather out to win. Also, I have to agree with Floyd that the ref, Tony Weeks, let Maidana get away with some very dirty fighting. I don't think he will be able to do the same in the rematch. The low blows, rabbit punches, and head butts cut into Mayweather's focus and his usually impeccable ability to time counter shots.
DT: Gordon, I believe that Mayweather is all about being undefeated. How has this affected boxing today?
GM: David, Mayweather's obsession with being undefeated has put a dent in boxing. Floyd's fixation has filtered down to the local level. Everyone of any promise is terrified of suffering a defeat and so most cards are filled with a string of execution like mismatches. Who wants to see that? Not me. But then again a lot of fans only care about seeing a kayo especially if it is a local hero turning someone's lights out. But I can't imagine that these less than competitive cards can be good for boxing. And I don't think a fighter learns his or her craft without going to the graduate school of steadily moving up the quality of opposition. Fighters who feast on the feckless for too long are bound to begin doubting their abilities.
DT: Great point! Let’s stay with Mayweather. If he wins and decides to fight Miguel Cotto for the lineal middleweight belt, how do you see this fight at 160 lbs.?
GM: Mayweather Cotto at 160 would be fascinating -- though If I had my druthers and we were going to 160, I'd prefer a Golovkin /Mayweather fight. Mayweather froze Cotto a lot with the right last time. Late in the fight, he nailed Cotto with 3 right hands in a row and Cotto's amazing counter left hook was silent. Yes, Cotto is a more balanced fighter now but I think he remains relatively easy to hit. I would go with Floyd in a unanimous decision.
DT: We will get to Golovkin but staying with Mayweather, another scenario is we finally get the Mayweather/ Pacquiao fight in May. Same for this fight, your thoughts?
GM: If the Pacman is on, I give him a good shot against Floyd. Mayweather has not faced anyone with Manny's exotic mixture of quickness and power. Also, when Manny's is at his best he has this ability to fire a combination, slide right, stay in close and then fire another, and always from different angles. I know he would be working that right hook to the body against Floyd. On the other hand, Manny still comes in with his chin up and on the right side -- and no one has better timing than Floyd. Manny would also be at a size disadvantage. I am dizzy thinking about this one. It would depend on when the fight happens - but today I see it as a pick’em.
DT: Streaking across the sky is the hottest hand in boxing, HBO's Gennady Golovkin. Your thoughts about this sensation?
GM: It is hard to find a flaw in Golovkin's gloved game. He has sleeping powder in both hands. But his greatest asset is his tremendous balance. He does not pitch forward when he punches. He moves side to side without crossing his legs. He is always poised to punch and his combos are compact. Unlike a lot of fighters with his level of dynamite, GGG takes his time in breaking people down and finding his opening. Klitschko like, he sets his big shots up with jabs.
DT: Does this very special fighter have any weakness e.g. can he take a punch?
GM: Being able to deliver a knockout punch says nothing about your ability to take it. But from what I have seen against Stevens and Geale, GGG has the neural hardware to absorb big blows. He would destroy anyone that wants to exchange bombs with him -- for example, Cotto. If pressed to find a weakness, I might moan that Golovkin does not give you a lot of head movement. And there are times when he seems to go straight back when his opponents attack. He did that at first against Geale.
DT: I would enjoy a Pacman fight with GGG. Who would you like to see Golovkin fight?
GM: I would love to see how he would do against someone who was fast and unpredictable - like Andre Ward before Ward put himself on the shelf.
DT: I also like the way Gennady carries himself in the ring…with a lot of character. Agree?
GM: Yes, one other characteristic of Golovkin that I love is his consummate sportsmanship. I remember when Macklin slipped against him -- Gennady stepped back and let him regain his balance. GGG's long amateur career helps him to remember what so many fighters forget - boxing is a sport, not a street fight. Though he delivers incredible hurt, he does not have bad intentions. He seems at home in himself, devoid of the insecurities that haunt many of the bad boys of boxing.
DT: Let's finish the interview with more about Mayweather. What would one loss due to his career?
GM: As for a possible Mayweather loss, if it were to Pacquiao, it would diminish the view that he was the best fighter of his generation. On the other hand, the fact that he has never come to terms with Pacquiao also cannot be ignored. Mayweather always boasts that he aims to give the fans what they want. Well then? Floyd thinks he is all about the money. But he may not find out what is really at the core of his being until after the final bell tolls.
DT: Let’s say that Floyd has the magical 50-0-0 record and one of those victories is over Pacquiao. Could he just walk away from the sport?
GM: It is hard to walk away from the klieg lights and the adrenalin rush that come with high stakes boxing. There is nothing to replace that source of feeling alive. Though your feats might be timeless, it can be painful to think that at 40 your greatest accomplishments are in the rearview mirror and that you
will never do anything in your life again which is in the same universe of what you have done. I think Oscar De la Hoya is a good example of someone who found it very difficult to step away from the competition. When I look in my "crystal ball" I see Floyd going to 50-0 -- announcing his retirement -- and then getting huge offers to come back.
DT: Gordon, if you could give Mayweather any advice, what would it be?
GM: Good question. I hope that Mr. Mayweather continues to mature as a person and that "Money" wakes up from this fantasy that the measure of a person is their bank account. Mayweather grew up in an environment that was out of control and that is a perfect recipe for becoming a control freak and the arrogant behavior that goes with that fixation. As someone who coaches amateurs, I can assure you that there are many young fighters who mimic Mayweather's boxing style and the attitude that they imagine he brings with it. Like Mike Tyson, he has captured the imagination and to anyone with a social conscience that comes with a certain responsibility. Mayweather has always respected his craft. He exercises enormous influence on the sport that he helped mold and that has molded him. He is always going to be involved in boxing and I hope that even in retirement he works to improve the health of our sport.
DT: Gordon it is always an honor talking boxing with you. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and we have to do this again.
GM: Same here, it was my pleasure and I look forward to our next round of discussions.
Readers: How about your thoughts? Will Mayweather reach the magical record of 50-0-0? If he does reach the record, will he retire and stay retired?
Many Thanks for visiting the website and reading this interview.
***David Tyler replies to all his e-mails and loves to hear from the readers. Comments, Questions, Suggestions, E-mail David now at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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