Smitty’s Corner -Mayweather vs Marquez Breakdown
By James ‘Smitty’ Smith: Floyd “Money” Mayweather will be back inside probably his favorite of all squared circles Saturday Night against Juan Manuel Marquez, who has also done pretty damn good in the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Floyd is 5-0 there including wins over the late Diego Corrales, a TKO round 10 in 2001, Oscar De La Hoya, a split decision in 2007, and in his last fight before this so called retirement on December 12, 2008 with the check left hook knockout over Ricky Hatton.
Marquez has fought three times at this arena with a draw in his first fight with Manny Pacquiao, a unanimous 12-round decision over Orlando Salido in his next fight after his first with Manny, and most recently, he scored a very impressive 11th round knockout over Joel Casamayor in September of 2008.
In his last fight, Juan Manuel looked very good, breaking down and stopping Juan Diaz in Houston in the 9th round in February of this year. Even though Floyd is a resident here in Vegas at what we now know he calls ‘the big boy mansion’, I think he may feel like he’ll be on foreign turf against what is surely to be a very partisan Mexican Marquez crowd on Mexican Independence weekend.
Will it matter, I don’t think so. Let me break this fight down for you the way I usually do. I’ll start out with defense, Advantage Mayweather, his kind of half Philly Crab, shoulder roles, catching blocking, slip, slide and reflexes, he is about as good as it gets these days. I know that one of the best demonstrations of defense we have ever had in my many in-ring demonstrations on my TV show IN THIS CORNER was with Floyd. He did an excellent job of displaying how he can, even with one hand, arm, and shoulder, block nearly every punch thrown at him. By the way, because of my one on one session with ‘Pretty Boy’, and my ‘in the know of the game’, I have figured out a way, maybe the only way to beat Floyd. Stay tuned I will give it away at the end of this column.
Marquez’ best defense is his ability to counter punch off of shots. He does get hit and he has been down before, in fact his four knockdowns in his two fights with Manny probably cost him both fights. Marquez also has been cut, and has some scar tissue built up as is expected after 16 years and 55 fights as a pro against so many top notch fighters like, Manny, Marco Antonio Barrera, Casamayor, Rocky Juarez, Derrick Gainer, Manuel Medina etc.
Marquez’ defense is good, Floyd’s is superb.
Offense is a tougher one to break down due to the fact that so much of Floyd’s offense is based on how an opponent is fighting him. When an opponent is very aggressive Mayweather tends to rely on counter punching, but when Floyd wants to be effective offensively he can be. Best two examples are his explosive totally one-sided victories over Corrales in 2001, when Floyd tore him up knocking him down five times before Corrales’ corner tossed in the towel in round 10. Floyd took it to him and then to Arturo Gatti in 2005, making Gatti look like an amateur before stopping him in round 6, again the corner did the stopping. By the way, kind of eerie that both Corrales and Gatti, two warriors, both beloved by fight fans are both gone. Sad.
If Floyd fights like that he can be very explosive with his tremendous jabs to the body and head, and with the rest of his arsenal, especially the double, triple and, in his case, sometimes as many as five straight right hands. Oh yeah, and the left hook, the check left hook. Sorry to mention my pal Ricky Hatton.
Floyd’s long history of brittle hands has helped dictate his lack of offensive production over the years, as he has been, at times, unwilling to cut loose for fear of injuring them.
As for Marquez, he is a technician in the ring; with as complete an arsenal of professional punches and combinations as you can find in boxing today. He really is a more technically efficient fighter than even Pacquiao, as I have said in the past. Marquez is very smart and really knows how to make it a sweet science, when he chooses to, but he is still Mexican through and through and at times will go toe to toe and engage when maybe he doesn’t have to. By the way, usually when he does engage he gets the better of his opponent as his punches are pinpoint and precise.
Because of Floyds inconsistency offensively and the fact that Marquez is so experienced, I will call offense a draw.
Intangibles; well it’s Mexican Independence weekend, so there’s one for Juan Manuel, but Floyd did not come back for nothing, he came back for, well lets see, what is his nickname, no not Pretty Boy as he continually corrects me, but “Money Mayweather” and he will make a lot of money from this fight. Not to mention, all the endorsements and appearances after this fight and if he wins and Pacquiao gets by Miguel Cotto in November here in Las Vegas at MGM, it will become, in my opinion, the greatest PPV ever, and that my friends means tons of “Money” for Floyd.
Both fighters, I feel, have great pride and really care about their legacy even though they show it quite differently, so I really don’t see the intangibles playing a big role.
No, I see the big difference being that word, ‘big’, or in this case, ‘bigger’. Floyd is a naturally bigger man, a naturally stronger man, a younger man, 32 years old compared to 36 for Marquez, never really knocked down from a punch, except a fluke in a fight against Carlos Hernandez in 2001, never really seriously hurt, and well rested following a two year hiatus.
Note, I said well rested, no rusted. I don’t think there will be much ring rust on the part of Mayweather. I see Floyd and his physical advantages taking over this fight after a game start from Marquez. I think he will be able to cut up and put Marquez down and eventually stop him in round 10.
Now here is an exclusive, on paper the way to beat Floyd “Pretty Boy, I mean “Money Mayweather” Listen and learn. Because Floyd is so adept at blocking punches, I mean being able to pick off every shot, when he is engages with not one and two punch combinations but I mean three and four and five punch combinations, including jabs, what Floyd does is catch and block and catch and block and he really does not fire back until his opponent slows down.
Great examples of this are his fights with Zab Judah in 2006, and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. Floyd beat Judah by unanimous decision but Zab had his moments early, and Mayweather as we know narrowly escaped with a win over Oscar scoring a very close split decision and if Oscar had just continued to jab consistently after round seven, he probably would have won or at least gotten a draw. And that was a half an Oscar, before we saw none of Oscar against Pacquiao.
If a fighter can throw three or more punches in combinations with at least some starch on them, and maintain it over the course of 12 rounds, he can beat Floyd Mayweather. Can Marquez implement this plan, can Pacquiao, can anyone? We’ll soon find out. Otherwise, to beat Floyd we have to reincarnate some guys like, well, shall I say Leonard, Hearns, or here’s one I would bet to beat Floyd,’ The Hawk’, Aaron Pryor. What do you think?
Enjoy the fights, good luck to both fighters, and remember fight fans, hands up and chin down!
September 17, 2009