Prediction: Mayweather Jr vs Marquez

September 18, 2009 in Boxing by pacejmiller

[For my prediction of Mayweather-Mosley, click here]

[For the results and analysis of Pacquiao-Clottey , click here]

[For my prediction on Pacquiao-Clottey, click here]

[For more updated news on Mayweather-Pacquiao, see this newer post]

The eagerly anticipated showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Juan Manuel Marquez is almost upon us, so I thought I would throw in my two cents on how I think the fight will pan out.

Just about everybody thinks Mayweather, who has been out since knocking out Ricky Hatton in December 2007, will win the fight and probably knock out Marquez.   However, I think there are a lot more variables to this fight than people are assuming, and any one of them may impact the outcome.  Let’s have a look.

Tape of the Tape

Here’s the released tale of the tape of the two fighters.

mayweather-vs-marquez-tale-of-the-tape

I dunno, but it looks a little fishy to me.  When Mayweather fought De La Hoya, he was listed as 5 foot 8.75 (see here for proof).  All of a sudden he’s grown shorter to only 5 foot 7.5?  Mmm…looks like some people are desperate to downplay the size difference.

Mayweather Returns Boxing

Does this look like a half-inch height difference to you?

Will size matter?

Mayweather is regarded as an overwhelming favourite against a great pound-for-pound fighter like Marquez because of their difference in size.  Marquez, the naturally smaller man, has fought at featherweight (126 lbs), super featherweight (130 lbs) and lightweight (135 lbs).  This fight will take place at 144 lbs, a catch weight below the welterweight limit of 147 lbs.  On the other hand, while the larger Mayweather commenced his career at super featherweight, he has fought as high as super welterweight (154 lbs).  His last bout with Ricky Hatton in December 2007 was at welterweight.

Conventional boxing wisdom says that a good big man will always beat a great little man.  In this case, you’ve got a great little man going up against a supreme bigger man.  Putting aside the height issue above, it is clear from any photo with both fighters that there is a distinct size advantage in favour of Mayweather.  Interestingly, although Mayweather has been recorded as stating at Marquez and Pacquiao are ‘too small’ to beat him, he has recently really tried to downplay the size advantage because people have been calling it a mismatch (and he really wants to sell tickets).

Going up in weight in boxing is more difficult than it appears.  Sometimes a few pounds here or there can make a huge difference in the ring.  Marquez will no doubt need to build up more muscle while trying to maintain his speed.  Take a page out of Pacquiao’s book on how to do that well.  Now, going down in weight can be difficult for fighters too (eg Oscar de la Hoya and Roy Jones Jr), but I doubt it will affect Mayweather, who never strays too far from his fighting weight and was training even before announcing his comeback.

So does size really matter?  Everyone said size would play a factor when Pacquaio fought De la Hoya and Hatton, and look how those fights turned out.  But that was Pacquiao, who had an insane speed advantage over both opponents.  Even as the smaller man, Marquez is probably considered to be at a disadvantage when it comes to speed in this fight.  De la Hoya (Marquez’s promoter) said that Marquez can win because he has a solid jab and that will neutralize the size difference.  But then again, De la Hoya is a hack with no credibility whatsoever because he is willing to spew out any crap necessary to talk up his fighter and sell the fight.

My guess is that size can be a crucial factor, but it depends on whether Mayweather wants to impose himself as the aggressor or is content with staying back as he usually does.

Will the layoff affect Mayweather?

Form is something that is often overlooked in boxing.  When Mayweather enters the ring on Saturday night, it will be his first time since December 2007.  21 months is a long time to be away from any sport, leaving people questioning whether Mayweather will lose a step or some of that sharpness he is known for.  Conversely, there are those out there (Mayweather included) that believe his time away from the sport will actually make him better.  He was tired of it all and had nagging injuries to deal with all the time, so perhaps the layoff will help him improve both body and mind.  Only time will tell.

mayweather

Mayweather hasn't fought since knocking out Ricky Hatton in December 2007

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Marquez is an in-form fighter, having disposed of solid boxers (Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz) by knockout in his last two fights.  However, those fights were at lightweight, and he hasn’t fought for almost 7 months himself.

Will the rib injury affect Mayweather?

Mayweather and Marquez were originally set to meet 2 months ago in July, but the fight had to be postponed as Mayweather suffered a rib injury during training.  The exact cause of the injury has never been revealed, though there were hints that Mayweather must have been hit during sparring.  Either way, there are now question marks over Floyd’s ribs.  Have they healed completely?  Are they more likely to be re-injured?  Will Marquez now target the body?

Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, has gone on record saying that he believes the key to beating Mayweather is to pound the body.  It will be interesting to see if Marquez has a similar plan, especially now that Floyd’s ribs may in fact be a weakness.

Will the postponement affect either fighter?

The 2-month postponement may also have an effect on the fighters.  In Mayweather’s case, there are questions over whether 2 months was long enough for him to get under weight and into proper fighting shape.  If Mayweather is not 100% prepared for the fight, especially after such a long layoff, Marquez may be able to take advantage.

In Marquez’s case, there are questions over whether 2 months is too long.  Marquez has essentially trained 5 months for this fight, an extraordinarily long period by any fighter’s standards.  Will the extra time allow him to get into even better shape or will it tire him out before the fight?

Will out of the ring issues affect Mayweather?

As much as Mayweather likes to avoid answering, there are questions over his out-of-ring issues.  For starters, the constant family struggle between his trainer uncle Roger Mayweather and his father Floyd Mayweather Sr.  Stuff like that may seem harmless, but it inevitably takes its toll.

Secondly, and most importantly, the financial troubles we keep hearing about.  Floyd can deny it all he wants, but it hasn’t stopped the stories from swirling around. Recently it was reported that Mayweather is being sued for more than $167,000 for a loan on a luxury car.  Further, he has an unresolved lien with the IRS for $6.17 million in unpaid taxes dating back to 2007.  Even the trash collector is saying that Mayweather hasn’t been paying his bills.

Thirdly, in August, guns, bullets and vests were seized from Mayweather’s home and cars in relation to a shooting.  While Floyd himself was not charged, having the police knock on your door less than one month from a major fight can be unsettling.

Mayweather has always been the consummate professional inside the ring, but one wonders whether these outside distractions will finally get to him some day.

Will drinking his own urine affect Marquez?

Weird reports have surfaced that Marquez drinks his own urine.  No, not because he likes the taste – it’s to help him replenish nutrients he has literally pissed away.  In his own words: “I also drink my urine because that’s where a lot of proteins and vitamins are, part of your vitamin intake, and why not drink them again instead of wasting them?”

JMM

Yes kids: Marquez drinks urine...at least it's his own

Experts say that it certainly can’t hurt him, but I hope it doesn’t leave a bad taste in his mouth after the fight (pun intended).  But hey, if Marquez has the balls to drink his own piss, getting punched a few times in the head probably seems like nothing!  Then again, perhaps this demonstrates that Marquez has already been punched in the head a few times too many…

Prediction

Around the net, analysts are almost unanimously predicting a Mayweather stoppage in the later rounds.  Mayweather is just too big, too skilled, too fast, they say.  While this may indeed be the case, I can see this fight going the distance.

Marquez only has 4 losses and a draw, and all of them are debatable (including a disqualification in his pro debut), especially the 2 controversial decisions against Manny Pacquiao. He has also never been knocked out, though he has been knocked down plenty of times (including 3 times in just the first round against Pacquiao in their first bout).  Marquez has the heart of a lion and he truly wants to prove that he is the best fighter in the world and deserving of bigger pay days.  If just a couple of the factors above end up having an effect on Mayweather, Marquez could easily steal the fight in a decision.  The key is for Marquez, a typically slow starter, to go for it right from the beginning.

However, Mayweather is not recognised as the (former) pound-for-pound fighter on the planet without reason.  Say what you want about Floyd’s opponents, but the fact is he is undefeated, and his only questionable win against Jose Luis Castillo was with a bum shoulder, and to his credit he took the rematch and dismantled Castillo with ease the second time round.  Moreover, if Mayweather really needs the money, he’ll need to win this fight to have a chance of taking on Manny Pacquiao for the mega pay day (and according to recent reports, both camps are willing to negotiate in good faith provided they win their upcoming fights).

So my prediction: Mayweather to win via a closer-than-expected unanimous decision. I believe Mayweather, in his first bout back, will fight a cautious fight, whereas Marquez, with nothing to lose, will come out with guns blazing.  While I don’t doubt his ability to escape with an upset, the chips are just too heavily stacked in Mayweather’s favour to bet against him.

Though Marquez is considered a ‘technician’, he hasn’t been too hard to hit, especially by his more recent opponents.  Floyd is known for his pin-point accuracy and will no doubt exploit any holes in Marquez’s defence.  Both fighters have the ability to adjust mid-fight, but Marquez is the one here with more of a reason to be the aggressor, which I believe could ultimately put him in trouble.

I also expect this fight to be a bit of a disappoinment in terms of excitement.  With two natural counter-punchers going head to head, I’m preparing myself for a lot of lulls and dull moments.  I hope they can prove me wrong.

Who I WANT to win

manny-pacquiao

Both Mayweather and Marquez want a crack at this guy (or at least the money a fight with him will make)

I’m a bit confused with this one.  I want Marquez to win because Mayweather is a douche.  Not Kayne West douche, but a douche nonetheless.  I always thought Floyd’s on-screen persona was just for show, but he seems to carry it off with too much consistency for me to believe that he’s a completely different person in private.

Take for instance Floyd’s most recent interview with ESPN, where he claimed that race is the reason he is not more rich and popular.  He says: “Imagine if I was the same fighter that I am, and I was the same person that I am, and I was from another country. Can you just imagine how big I’d be?…If Floyd Mayweather was white, I’d be the biggest athlete in America.  The biggest, the biggest.  I know that for a fact.”

It’s not uncommon for athletes to have an inflated image of themselves (see Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech), but Floyd is simply delusional.  America’s biggest athlete if he were white?  What about Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James (the list goes one) – the last I checked they were all still black.  Floyd needs to realise that the true reason he’s not liked more is because he’s a douche, and that no one really cares about boxing anymore.

Oh, and Floyd’s fan chat on ESPN?  Floyd was 7 minutes late and spent a whole 9 minutes in the chatroom, answering a grand total of 9 questions with no more than a sentence per answer.  And he wonders why he isn’t more popular.

However, none of these things affect my opinion of Mayweather as a boxer.  The guy is the real deal, and because of that, I want him to win so he can finally give the fans what they want and fight Manny Pacquiao.  So whichever way the fight goes on Saturday night, I’ll be happy.

Mayweather was not asked about the financial issues in his chat with reporters, but on a recent episode of HBO’s Mayweather/Marquez “24/7,” which is documenting the fighters as they prepare for Saturday’s match, he said: “I got a good relationship with the IRS; they ain’t took nothing away from me.”

[BREAKING NEWS!  The weigh-in was a shocker, with Floyd Mayweather Jr weighing 146 lbs, 2 lbs over the agreed catch-weight of 144 lbs.  The surprise had lawyers from both sides scrambling the night before to rework the contracts to change the contract weight from 144 lbs to the welterweight limit of 147 lbs.  Marquez, who weighed only 142 pounds, accepted the amendment, but Floyd will now have to pay an additional $600,000 to Marquez ($300,000 per pound) on top of his $3.2 million guarantee (Mayweather is guaranteed $10 million).

So what does this mean for the fight?  For starters, Mayweather’s size advantage will be more apparent.  They looked almost the same height at the weigh-in, but Marquez was in sneakers whereas Floyd was in his socks.  However, the weight difference on the night of the fight might be around 10 pounds (or more) judging from current circumstances.  That’s more than a whole weight class in boxing terms.

On the other hand, Floyd’s inability to meet weight may be a sign that some of the factors mentioned in this post have proven to be a distraction.  Perhaps his body has changed during the layoff, or perhaps he wasn’t as dedicated as he used to be in training, or perhaps he’s just not taking Marquez seriously.  2 lbs is no accident, and I wonder whether Marquez would be more concerned about the increased weight difference or be rubbing his hands as now he knows Mayweather has a definite chink in his armour.  That said, I’m going to stick by my original prediction and go with Floyd by decision.]