The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Preview & Predictions: Mayweather vs. Marquez

I’m not going to lie: I’m not really a huge fan of this fight or this show despite a fun undercard (fundercard?). I’ll see it for myself or at a friend’s house because as a boxing fan you kind of have to see fights like this when the two headliners are mortal lock hall of famers, but… ugh. I’m just tired of Floyd Mayweather. Tired of his mumblemouthed father, tired of reading about his run ins with the law, the banks and the tax man, tired of his flood of silly comments which never abates, tired of his heel act which has already gone into re-runs, tired of his dildos fights, tired of his ducking competition, tired of every damn thing about him. Floyd may or may not be the most talented fighter today, but I can name you ten fighters off the top of my head who I’d rather watch. In fact, let’s:

1. Manny Pacquiao
2. Miguel Cotto
3. Paul Williams
4. Bernard Hopkins
5. Andre Ward
6. Vic Darchinyan
7. Nonito Donaire
8. Shane Mosley
9. Zab Judah
10. Juan Manuel Marquez

Hey, why not another ten:

11. Chad Dawson
12. Roy Jones Jr.
13. Israel Vasquez
14. Rafael Marquez
15. “Fast” Eddie Chambers
16. Alexander Povetkin
17. Wladimir Klitschko
18. Vitali Klitschko
19. Josh Clottey
20. Arthur Abraham

Hmm, let me really make my point clear:

21. Edison Miranda
22. Amir Khan
23. Tavoris Cloud
24. JuanMa Lopez
25. Juan Diaz
26. Erislandy Lara
27. Guillermo Rigondeaux
28. Tomasz Adamek
29. Steve Cunningham
30. And, yes, even Andre Dirrell, the most boring man on earth who’s not John Ruiz.

No particular order to these since I could keep going with this forever, with names like Kelly Pavlik, Mikkel Kessler, Robert Guerrero, Librado Andrade, Yuriorkis Gamboa, etc. All off the top of my head, no boxrec. All these fighters share the quality of making me enjoy the sport of boxing and making me want to watch more of it; Floyd makes me want to go read a book or go for a run or bake muffins or anything else but watch him, really. If Floyd were the singular talent he thinks he is it would be different, but I’ve been a fan long enough to see quicker fighters (Jones, Ray Leonard), smarter fighters (Hopkins), better defensive fighters (Pernell Whitaker), more offensively skilled fighters (James Toney, Jones, Pacquiao, etc.), and more courageous fighters (too many to name) and that’s just from the recent era without invoking the likes of Ray Robinson. Floyd is very good, even historically good, at many things; he is the best at nothing. He’ll be forgotten remarkably quickly once he’s retired which unfortunately isn’t quite at hand. Anyway….

Main Event: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

I wrote about this one a while back and I largely stand by that analysis. I think Floyd will win the fight; I think Marquez will have more fight in him than he’s being given credit for by people who say Floyd will have no trouble whatsoever. If the version of Marquez who fought Juan Diaz shows up (as opposed to a version which has slipped a great deal athletically) and Floyd actually doesn’t have any trouble with him than I’ll be prepared to give Floyd an enormous amount of credit for that win, because I think it’ll be far and away his best in the last 7 years. One major early battle should be the contest between Floyd’s brittle hands and Marquez’s slowly declining quickness and defensive ability: Marquez has become more and more hittable in recent years (compensating well to his credit with greater emphasis on his accuracy and power, which is part of why he’s been a more exciting fighter of late) and if Floyd can throw a jab and hit Marquez frequently enough with it to keep the fight in the center of the ring, this could indeed prove to be one-sided. In the center, Floyd’s handspeed is an enormous plus and he can pick his shots and pick Marquez apart. If Marquez can force Floyd into reverse and pin him along the ropes or in the corner as Oscar De La Hoya did at times, then he has the accuracy and ring knowledge the Golden Boy lacked to connect with scoring blows and do some real damage.

Ultimately the story of this fight may be a dynamic we see far too much in this sport of late: in a collision of two legendary fighters well past the age of 30, which of them has slipped more athletically and does his opponent have enough left himself to take full advantage of that decline? All my instincts say that in their primes at 130 pounds, Marquez wins a narrow decision over Floyd in a close and competitive fight where few punches land- Jose Luis Castillo fought Floyd nearly equal in their first fight, and Marquez was and is a much better fighter than that in nearly every area. At 14(4? 5? 7?) with a 32 year old Floyd coming out of retirement against a 36 year old JMM who’s been in so many wars, the size difference plus relative physical decline should be enough to get Floyd the victory. That, ultimately, will be Floyd’s epitaph in the sport for good and for ill: he knew all the angles and how to play them, for his own benefit alone.

Undercard

Chris John vs. Rocky Juarez

A rematch of an entertaining draw which most people thought John won, the only flaw with this fight is that it’s Rocky Juarez’s 4,597th title shot and that means only one thing: plodding, measured offense with no second gear, simple step-forward footwork, total lack of urgency, low punch volume, and another close decision loss for Rocky. He seems like the nicest guy in the world and he’s a very good fighter, but if you accept that he was second best to John in their previous meeting than this has happened to him 5 times already (6 if you count the Zahir Raheem fight, and you should). It has happened to him at featherweight; it has happened at junior lightweight. It has happened to him against semi-brawler types like Humberto Soto; it has happened against boxers like Juan Manuel Marquez. It has happened against guys he’s only fought once; it has happened in a rematch previously as well (Marco Antonio Barrera). It’s very tough to escape the sense that Juarez has found his level, and age plus dropping back down in weight plus facing a guy who was better than him the first time around is not a formula likely to produce a new outcome. John previously had some health issues which postponed this rematch for a while, and if those are lingering than maybe Juarez can get lucky- but I’m looking for nice things to say at this point. John is a heavy favorite here (-325 at the moment) for good reason. This one you probably should put money on if you’re a gambler.

Vicente Escobedo vs. Michael Katsidis

If Katsidis was all of maybe 5-10% better this would be a stupendous fight, because either guy could easily walk away with it. As it is though I rather suspect the Aussie is outgunned in this one. He’s got good handspeed, but so does Escobedo; he’s got heavy hands, but so does Escobedo; he’s got a big heart and will to win, but so does Escobedo of late; he’s got a highly questionable chin- but Escobedo does not. More specifically Escobedo is a very comfortable counterpuncher by inclination, and he throws quick and accurate straight shots- this is essentially the perfect fighter to be if your goal is to KO an often overly-aggressive face-first defensively irresponsible brawler who throws wide hooks like Katsidis. It should be fun so long as it goes and Katsidis throws enough heat that he may either strike lucky or send Escobedo into a shell with pressure, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

This Guy vs. That Guy Over There

In theory there’s another televised bout between two dudes. I don’t really know much about them and the fight’s a late minute replacement for Zab Judah, who’s been making decisions without consulting his brain again. Hopefully it’ll be fun.

Overall, I suspect I like this card much less than most people, and for most it’ll be a lot of fun especially for Floyd fans. The undercard should be action packed, and if the main event were going to lead to anything it could be an important moment in recent boxing history. We’ll see.

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September 18, 2009 - Posted by | Boxing | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. You know Brendan, I just don’t get you. You like watching fighters like Vernon Forrest, Bernard Hopkins, Eddie Chambers and, wait for it, ZAB JUDAH?!, but you don’t like watching Pretty Boy Floyd? He’s a billion-times better tactician than anyone of those guys. You like defensive fighters, appreciate their ability, but you don’t like the greatest defensive fighter of our generation? I understand not liking the man, but as a hardcore boxing fan, which you clearly are, it shocks me that you don’t love watching this man perform his craft.

    Anyway, you and Sean should definitely come by. It’s actually going to be my 30th B-day party and we are getting both the Floyd and Vitor fight cards (notice how I said the Vitor fight card). We are going to start BBQing at 3, so swing by whenever.

    Comment by Tony M | September 18, 2009 | Reply


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