Having watched Floyd Mayweather since his pro debut never once did I think about how a fight between him and Juan Manuel Marquez would turn out. It just never dawned on me that a fight between them could be compelling or competitive. I assumed more than just Mayweather's speed and perhaps skill-set, he would be too big and strong for Marquez to be bothered by him in the least. After watching their fight Saturday night my belief was confirmed.
What did we learn watching Mayweather fight Marquez? Nothing. Not a single thing other than it being proven beyond any doubt that Mayweather is a true welterweight and that it's been a con-job and business decision all along why he has never faced any one of the upper-tier welterweights before he purposely retired. Before the fight it was stated here that Mayweather wouldn't be affected by his inactivity and Marquez was in nowhere land stylistically on top of being too small and weak to hurt or bother Mayweather, something that was clearly evidenced throughout the entire bout. When all was said and done Mayweather's weight and strength were more of a factor for Marquez to cope with than anything else.
Floyd knew after the first 20 seconds of the first round that he was the house cat and Marquez was the defenseless church mouse. Mayweather started the fight smartly by jabbing to the head and body looking for the counter hook or to draw Marquez into his right hand. Marquez's ring savvy told him not to follow Mayweather and he laid back instead. In the second round Mayweather took advantage of that and knowing Marquez didn't posses anything to hurt him with, dropped him with a beautiful lead left hook. Mayweather didn't press for the knockout and was content beating up and smacking Marquez around for the next ten rounds at his leisure.
Watching Mayweather work was almost virtuoso, but it's not a tall order to look brilliant against an opponent who is so out-manned physically. It was nothing for Mayweather to trot out all his tricks without worrying about retaliation. And that's exactly what we saw in this fight. In the main Mayweather toyed with Marquez and there was nothing Marquez could do about it. If he tried to attack he would've most likely been stopped and by laying back and looking for the counter he was picked apart. Marquez was in no man’s land and to his credit his sporadic runs at Mayweather did just enough to bother and keep Mayweather from really pressing for the stoppage. That said, Mayweather's punch can be questioned in that he just about hit Marquez at will but still never had him close to being stopped. Mayweather can't punch, but in boxing you only have to punch hard enough to win and that he does.
Everyone who follows professional boxing has to see through Floyd Mayweather. This fight was a set up from the very beginning and he was the only driving force behind it to make it happen. There was no demand for it and no one ever thought about it or imagined how it would turn out, we all knew. We can talk about Mayweather's skill set for the next ten years. The bottom line is nobody knows just how good or great he is because in every one of his signature wins he's had and manipulated the advantage going into the fight favoring him. In fairness to Mayweather, he is a tough matchup for almost any fighter his size or smaller. However, his career and legacy would be much more greatly appreciated if just once he agreed to a fight where he didn't hold every possible advantage.
After the fight Mayweather said, "Marquez is a great small man." Mayweather stated that as if most objective fans hadn't figured that out before hand. This fight was a robbery of the fans, but some surely fell for it despite being forewarned. It's impossible to believe a sophisticated boxing observer purchased or attended the fight thinking they'd see something close to a competitive bout. Despite how some tried to hype and build Marquez up with the hope of making Mayweather's victory more meaningful and enhancing his legacy, to which it didn't. If it did then Chad Dawson might as well fight Paul Williams to enhance his.
As great as Floyd Mayweather looked versus Juan Manuel Marquez, the question to his greatness still exists. It came as no surprise to anyone who knows anything worth knowing about boxing that Mayweather could dominate an old and slowed featherweight great who lost his featherweight title to Chris John three years ago. Mayweather did what he was supposed to do and nothing more. What is the significance of beating a fighter who was a 4-to-1 underdog that everyone knew he'd beat before the fight?
Had the Shane Mosley who fought Antonio Margarito in his last fight fought Marquez Saturday night, the fight wouldn't have gone beyond the sixth round and Marquez would've endured a much more severe pummeling. I just wonder how many would be lauding Mosley for destroying Marquez even more decisively than Mayweather did?
In all likelihood Floyd Mayweather will fight and defeat Manny Paquiao if he beats Miguel Cotto and then Shane "Grandpa" Mosley. If that's how it unfolds Mayweather will probably retire 42-0 but won't leave much of a ripple. Being undefeated will be his legacy but in no way shape or form will he be thought of as one of the all-time great lightweights or welterweights. He'll be more remembered for the fights he never had instead of the opposite.
Reality Check: It's about time Shane Mosley took a page out of Floyd Mayweather's playbook and act. Despite the belief that prime Mosley is/was a greater fighter than prime Mayweather, Floyd has been the greater manager. Mosley's Kanye West moment after the fight was exactly what Cassius Clay did to Sonny Liston immediately after Sonny knocked out Floyd Patterson in their rematch. So to the Ali lovers, I hope you had a problem with Ali doing it first. Sometimes that's how fights are made.
Mayweather is a crybaby saying it was his night and Shane shouldn't have done what he did after the fight. Really? If memory serves me correctly Mayweather held a press conference to announce he was coming out of retirement just hours before Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton fought. Did Mayweather try to steal their moment? You better believe it. It was a smart and calculated business move that led to his set up bout with Marquez. Well Mosley's calculated theatrics were also a calculated business move. Finally, Mosley learns how to play the game of boxing a little bit.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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