As of this writing Mayweather-Marquez is a little over 48 hours away from being history. The coverage and publicity for the fight has exploded this week for many reasons. We've had Floyd Mayweather Jr. play the race card at a time when race is a topic that's being kicked around by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum. Two days before that Floyd Mayweather Sr. made some not too subtle accusations that Manny Pacquiao is taking performance enhancing supplements and steroids. Over a week ago Mayweather's opponent Juan Manuel Marquez drank his urine on HBO's Mayweather-Marquez 24/7 during the second episode. This was nothing more than a ploy and stunt to mess with Mayweather a little and it did.
Along with the publicity stunts there's been substantive debates on the fighters pertaining to their fighting style. The fact that Marquez will be 10 pounds heavier in this bout than any other of his career has also been discussed at length. Add to that Mayweather hasn't fought in 21 months and no one can say with any degree of certainty how that will affect him, the fight becomes more intriguing as it draws closer.
However, the one thing that hasn't been discussed is can Juan Manuel Marquez get the decision if he legitimately earns it over Mayweather? This is something that has to be taken into consideration when making your pick as to who will win. Actually the same question can be asked regarding the upcoming Pacquiao-Cotto bout later this year. Like Marquez, Cotto will probably have to beat Pacquiao beyond recognition to have a shot to win a decision over him.
Everyone knows that boxing is a business and most big fights are made with the hope of setting up the next big fight, which will hopefully be even bigger than the previous one. Based on the odds coming out of Las Vegas, Mayweather is almost a 4-to-1 favorite over Marquez and Pacquiao is almost a 3-to-1 favorite over Cotto. Those odds indicate that it's a safe bet that Pacquiao-Mayweather, which would be the biggest and most anticipated fight of the decade, will become a reality if the fighters can agree on the purse split.
With so much money on the line, is it plausible to believe Marquez can win rounds against Mayweather that he deserves despite them being very close? The answer to that is probably not. Mayweather is undefeated and nothing aides a boxing promotion like having an unbeaten fighter as one of it's participants. Marquez having four losses on his record makes him much less attractive to the boxing establishment and average boxing fan. Despite him fighting Manny Pacquiao twice on even terms, the fact that he was down four times in those fights and Mayweather has only been down once officially, makes him much less marketable versus the Pacquiao-Cotto winner than Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather is an outstanding boxer and technician along with being a safety first fighter. His fights aren't that exciting and he doesn't leave boxing fans clamoring for more when his fight is over. He's also not a once in a lifetime boxer or puncher so there's no must-see quotient attached to his fights. To compensate for that as an attraction he's used his mouth and words to play the role of the bad guy for this fight and will no doubt assume that same role if he fights Manny Pacquiao next year.
Playing the bad guy has served Mayweather well this week and he knows it's led to him getting monumental coverage. Floyd doesn't care who loves or hates him. He's only concerned with if you're buying his fight. By doing that he's expanded the customer base. Half of those who buy the fight will be doing so in the hope that he gets beat, and the other half are buying it to see him win so they can say I told you so regarding his greatness. Add to that he's 39-0 he becomes a pretty significant draw in 2009 with the only other fighter that non-boxing fans care about being Pacquiao.
The bottom line is Mayweather has done the best work of his career selling himself and this fight. That pretty much makes it impossible for Marquez to get the decision over him with a potential fight with Pacquiao out there on the horizon.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com