He made it look so simple, one wondered why Floyd Mayweather couldn’t summon the resolve to make 144 pounds on Friday. After 21 months away from the ring, Mayweather’s speed and power were in full bloom in the main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night. He sent Juan Manuel Marquez, who looked small and slow compared to Mayweather, to the canvas in the second round, and if he had chosen to, likely could have dropped and stopped the Mexican hitter. The judges cards were as wide as they should’ve been: 118-109, 120-107, 119-108, a unanimous decision for Mayweather.
TSS agreed with the 120-107 card. Floyd went 290-493, a 59% connect percentage, while Marquez was 69-583 (12%).
Will the boxer, who complained earlier this week that sports fans in the US have racist tendencies, and this diminishes his popularity, see an uptick in that department? Not likely, as many will say Marquez was damaged goods, too old and light, coming in to the event. The stain from Mayweather “buying” a weight advantage, and forcing Marquez to make 144, while he didn’t have to, will linger in the minds of fight fans. Pro Floyd fans will be of the mind that with this showing he has retaken his pound for pound crown, with no close challenger, because his domination was so thorough. I choose to buy into arguments from both camps; Marquez did show the age that had Juan Diaz schooling him early in their battle, and Floyd possesses such acumen, and makes it look so easy in the flow, that right now, to me, he has to be seen as the best boxer in the world.
Mayweather strolled to the ring with WWE entertainer Triple H. When Michael Buffer called out his name, as Jim Lampley recounted the laundry list of alleged misdeeds and allegations against him and his family, mostly boos rained down, but there were some cheers, as well.
Mayweather (40-0; from Michigan; 146 pounds on Friday, ? on fight night; a six time titlist) and “Dinimita” Marquez (50-5-1; from Mexico; 142 pounds on Friday; 148 pounds on fight night; a three time titlist) were overseen by ref Tony Weeks. Burt Clements, Bill Lerch and Dave Moretti were charged with scoring the bout.
In the first round, we saw that Mayweather looked a class, maybe two, bigger than Marquez. Floyd’s jabs looked thudding and his hooks hurtful. Lead hooks clanged home early, and left marks behind. No rust was apparent on Floyd. Roger Mayweather worked Floyd’s corner and Floyd Senior looked on from the stands. In the second, lead left hooks worked for Floyd again. Marquez landed a right, and the crowd roared, and Floyd grinned. Then Floyd knocked Marquez down with a left hook, with 1:25 left in the round. He threw it as Marquez was readying a right. Floyd backed off then, careful not to get suckered. In the third, Marquez was beaten to the punch, repeatedly, by Floyd’s speedballs. He wasn’t slipping effectively, but Floyd offered a 50% round, effort-wise. It was still enough to win the session. “Left hooks, that’s all he has,” Nacho Beristain told Marquez. In the fourth, Marquez hit with a straight right as Floyd was on the ropes. Some blood appeared on Marquez’ right eye. In the fifth, Marquez was able to excite the crowd when he came forward. He looked like he was warmed up, and he was helped by Floyd’s choice to back up, and get some work in. “He’s winning it,” said Beristain after the fifth, rightly. In the sixth, Floyd bounced, and grinned, totally certain that even if by chance Marquez landed, nothing would come of it. A right cross by Mayweather at the end of the round landed flush, but Marquez saw it coming, and didn’t crumple. Ref Weeks asked him if he wanted to continue, and he did. Marquez advanced on Floyd at the end of the round, but couldn’t cut off the ring. One wondered if Floyd wanted to get rounds in in the middle rounds. He played peekaboo on the ropes in the eighth, and just covered up as Marquez labored in vain. Lampley and Kellerman got a bit bored, and talked about Shane Mosley, who Max said had been trying to lure Mayweather into a fight for eight years. In the ninth, Floyd came right down the middle, cutting through Marquez’ guard, or beating him to the punch as he started to wind up. Floyd’s one-jab-at-a-time strategy worked wonders; he’d deliver one, pause to collect himself and read the Mexican’s reaction, and repeat. Harold Lederman had it 9-0, Floyd, to this point. Lampley said that Floyd was landing 57% of his punches, and wondered if the Sugar Rays did the same. Floyd should be reminded of this the next time he tries to belittle the HBO crew. HBO didn’t go to Floyd’s corner to listen in to Uncle Roger, as Floyd banned them from doing so. Amazing, considering that HBO provided the infrastructure and platform to allow him to show off his considerable skills. For now, and for the future, they will put up with his petulance, because they make buckets of money off of him. But oh how they must grit their teeth at his antics…
In the 11th, Marquez stuck around, that’s about the most you can say for him. “Throw your combinations,” said a resigned Beristain. Floyd didn’t go all in, and try and close the show, which is to me, bizarre. Is there anyone out there who thought that with a super-sustained barrage, he wouldn’t have stopped Marquez. We’d go to the cards, after a strong Mayweather showing, in a drama free tussle.
Come back for David Avila’s ringside report.
---Mayweather told HBO he would not agree to being weighed on their unofficial scale on fight night; Marquez agreed, and he was 148. Before the bout, Marquez trainer Nacho Beristain said that he thought Mayweather refused to make 144 to “secure the victory.” He said he expected Mayweather to be 152 pounds on fight night. Marquez was also asked about Floyd’s weight issue. He told Max Kellerman that “this isn’t a problem, overall an issue it’s not going to be an issue for us.”
---Marquez said he would rather have had Floyd make the weight, as opposed to earning an extra $300,000 per pound over 144 charged to Mayweather, for a total of $600,000. Mayweather, we learned, refused to do a fighter-commentary crew meeting on Friday, and also nixed a pre-fight interview with Kellerman prior to his bout.
---Lampley said the arena looked pretty close to capacity.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV