No Fighter Brings Out The Cookbook Analysts Like Mayweather

BY Frank Lotierzo ON May 01, 2014
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With the welterweight bout between title holders Floyd Mayweather 45-0 (26) and Marcos Maidana 35-3 (31) culminating this Saturday night, a lot of attention has been focused on Mayweather's boxing style and dominance. And with that the cookbook analysts are drawing up battle plans and fight strategies; you know, the writers and analysts who basically suggest A + B = C. And when I hear those types belabor their points of what and what-nots Mayweather's opponents must do in order to beat him, it illustrates how little they know regarding fighting applications and how they apply in actual ring combat. What they don't understand, or in some cases refuse to, is that physicality will beat the cookbook recipe every time.

I recently read an article in the Macomb Daily in which boxing writer Marvin Goodwin stated that Maidana won't beat Mayweather because...."He’ll follow the same pattern as Floyd’s other victims. They start the fight tentatively, star-gazing at the Mayweather aura while Mayweather dictates the pace of the fight, breaks his opponent down piece by piece and ultimately wins." This cookbook analyst thinks that Mayweather's opponents are "star gazing at the Mayweather aura." The fact is, his opponents do their best work in the 1st round, as Floyd scopes them out. They become intimidated more and more as the fight goes on (the way that Canelo Alvarez did).

I've seen everyone of Mayweather's fights since he's become a superstar, beginning around 2008, which is when the Mayweather aura began to evolve into what it is today, and that's not what I've seen. What I've seen is championship caliber fighters start the first round with a plan and thought as to what they want to do - only to find that Floyd is bigger, stronger, harder and better than what they thought. They aren't standing there like a mummy gazing in awe. Here's another stellar capsule of advice from Mr. Goodwin.

"Mayweather opponents, it’s time to rip that script to shreds and take a risk. The ultimate plan should be to get Mayweather out of his comfort zone. Don’t make it a boxing match, make it a fight, a knock-down, drag out, alley brawl with violent intentions, because that’s what fighting is. Don’t tiptoe around, start immediately from the opening bell and make Mayweather defend himself from a fusillade of angry punches. Make him react from a position he’s rarely faced. He’ll either back away from the surprise attack, assess the unpredictable situation and and try to regain his bearings, or he’ll stand his ground and fight. Either way, he’s out of his comfort zone, and perhaps more vulnerable to defeat."

Yeah, like there's a fighter around who could surprise Mayweather. The idea is idiotic, Floyd has seen it all. The above statement illustrates the cookbook perfectly. On paper, it makes perfect sense and if there's a fighter out there fighting between 147-154 who could physically apply the above plan, he'd stand a great chance to be successful and maybe even beat Mayweather.

I love how these guys suggest, get Floyd out of his comfort zone, make it a fight and alley brawl with violent intentions because that's what fighting is. Yes, that's what fighting is but these geniuses must not realize that Mayweather punches back, and it doesn't tickle. Getting busted in the face with a real sharp jab, the kind that Floyd throws, hurts, disrupts a fighter's aggression, and blinds him for a second to the point where Floyd can send a direct right hand behind it that is going to land flush. Then he re-adjusts his body and is either in a better position to hit you again or he's gone and the counter coming back is going to miss him. What so many guys who say Floyd can't punch don't realize is that he punches hard enough to keep his opponents off of him and prevents them from taking their liberties with him.

The cookbook might suggest that he's not Thomas Hearns when it comes to punching power, but the reality of touching hands with him convinces many of the opponents who fight him that they just can't walk through him as if he's handcuffed. Because if they could, someone would've done it by now. (Jose Luis Castillo came the closest in their first fight). As I've often said, boxers just don't shut it down and stop letting their hands go for no reason. The only thing that causes that, unless they're injured, is the guy standing in front of them punching back at him.

Sure, there have been fighters of the past who could've gone to Mayweather and forced him to fight them off, but there's no one fighting today between 147-154 who can do it, including Marcos Maidana. When Maidana is in the ring with Mayweather this coming Saturday night, he better have a big enough punch to make Floyd do things that he doesn't want to in order for him to survive the fight.

Also, he must have the means to deliver that punch without getting tattooed, beaten up and peppered in the process. If he can't execute the above he has no shot, none whatsoever, to even keep the fight close let alone score the upset. Some may suggest that if you parry Floyd's jab and force him to his right, he's vulnerable.

I could go on and on highlighting strategies that might get him off his game and make him more susceptible to defeat. But if the fighter following the recipe isn't physically skilled and strong enough to execute the plan, the plan is moot and the boxing laboratory wasted a lot of time cooking it up. When in doubt refer back to the two title bouts Marvin Hagler had against Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard in 1983 and 1987. The cookbook said Hagler was least effective fighting as the attacker and was his most effective fighting as the counter-puncher as his opponents pursued him. Yet, Marvin decimated a lot of fighters as a contender and champion who tried to counter him as he was carrying the fight to them.

However, when he fought Duran and Leonard, he looked very ordinary coming forward as he was getting hit with jabs and right hands as they were moving away and kept him turning. And that happened because both Roberto and Ray were physically gifted fighters who could be effective fighting in retreat. It's not a coincidence that they were the only two fighters who went the distance with Hagler during his seven year reign as middleweight champ.

There aren't many things Mayweather says that I agree with. But the one thing he has said repeatedly over the last few years is "there's no plan to beat me." And he's right, he's very versatile and capable of adjusting to different tactics and strategies. The part that no one ever picks up on is, there have been fighters in the recent past who by just being who they were as a fighter would've either been a living nightmare for him or would've taken him apart. And that's because they had the skill-set and physicality to disrupt him and force him to go places and do things in the ring that he wouldn't want to do.

Roberto Duran: He would've pressured and mauled Floyd all over the ring fighting between 135-154. Duran wouldn't have been slowed, disrupted, neutralized or bothered by Floyd's offense or punch, he would've physically overwhelmed Mayweather both physically and stylistically.

Actually, his pressure and elusiveness would've forced Mayweather to rush his offense and made him vulnerable to Roberto's array of hooks and right hands to the head and body. In much the same way Jose Luis Castillo did during their first bout, only ten fold.

Sugar Ray Leonard: He would've made one adjustment had he fought Mayweather, and he's even stated it in the past. And that is he wouldn't head hunt against him, he would've gone to the body more, and Leonard was a debilitating body puncher. Leonard had the skill, speed, punch and fighting aptitude to better Mayweather at anything he tried. Other than saying Floyd was a better defensive fighter, mainly because he's not as offensive minded, what advantage would Mayweather have?

Leonard was faster, better offensively, punched much harder, was every bit as versatile and if toughness is a debate I'll go with Leonard based on his level of opposition and who he defeated during his career. Leonard wouldn't beat Mayweather because of a brilliant fight plan or strategy, he would beat him because he's even more gifted and skilled and had the physicality to better him at every turn.

Thomas Hearns: He would've been Mayweather's biggest nightmare. Hearns had such an abundance of reach and power that Floyd could've never countered him effectively without reaching for Thomas. Hearns could've stayed on the outside and pot-shotted him without ever being touched even if he missed. If a shot Oscar De La Hoya stymied Mayweather with his jab, Hearns would've punished him.

Against Hearns, Mayweather would've had to take some chances and go on the attack. However, walking into Hearns' power would've been suicide for him. Mayweather wanted no part of Paul Williams and smartly retired to avoid fighting him before Williams could really make a scene challenging him. And Williams was barely a poor man's Hearns. And just as it would be the case with Duran and Leonard, Hearns had the physicality and skill set to better Mayweather. No cookbook strategy or fight plan needed. Just being himself as a fighter would've got the job done. Even the three greats above couldn't surprise Mayweather as suggested by Marvin Goodwin, they were just monsters.

When all is said and done, unless Maidana catches Mayweather on the chin with a lottery punch Saturday night, he has no chance to beat him. Mayweather has already defeated two bigger and stronger fighters (Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez) than Maidana in recent fights who tried to bring the heat and overwhelm him. Cotto won four rounds against Mayweather and giving Alvarez every benefit of the doubt, maybe he won one round.

No doubt Maidana will try to overwhelm Mayweather and rock him with looping left-hooks and over-hand rights like he did against Adrien Broner in his last bout. But the difference will be he'll never get as close to him and will be peppered and tattooed much more on the way in. Once that happens and Maidana realizes that it's not by accident, his aggression will be impeded some and then Mayweather will be in a position to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants as often as he wants and then the route will be on.

Marcos Maidana will lose to Floyd Mayweather this weekend not because he didn't fight his fight or the right fight. No, it'll be because he wasn't good enough or physically strong and gifted enough to execute his perfectly laid out battle plan. Once again it will be shown for all the cookbook analyst that the plan is only as good as the fighter given the task to execute it. As Barry Tompkins once said on HBO, "I know how to dunk a basketball, but until they lower the rim, I can't do it."

A lot of fighters today may know the recipe as stated in the cookbook to beat Floyd Mayweather. Their only problem is they are not physically gifted enough, strong enough or skilled enough to pull it off. The only way a less talented fighter beats a superior fighter is if he gets incredibly lucky (seldom happens) or that the better fighter isn't in shape or takes the guy lightly (those things never happen with Mayweather).

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Comment on this article

brownsugar says:

Hagler was a very sound fundamental fighter... He knew how to fight but he was no Picasso in the ring...Hagler would take two to land one if necessary and fall back on his superior conditioning if necessary but he was no chess player.

Mayweather has a good 72 inch reach for a natural junior welter... and unparalled mobility...and not the bouncing around kind. He was able to strike from incredibly long distances using his legs in his prime and can still move well... I'm sure he would have stabbed Hearns in the gut multible times. If he could have avoided Hearns deadly right hand for at least five or six rounds .... a big if but not impossible for Mayweather....he would then be able to get to the Hitmans vulnerable chin by the later rounds.

Leonard and Duran are two entirely different cases... Good luck with those guys... Is all I can come up with. Still I'd give him a 45% chance of being successful.

Grimm says:

I think DDV said it: there are no lottery punches. I agree, completely. Any so called "lottery punch" is due to a lapse in concentration in the better boxer, or, vice versa, a higher degree of focus on behalf of the perceived lesser fighter. In which way, that's part of the game, and has nothing to do with luck. I've never been lucky or unlucky in the ring; just better or worse, more focused or less focused. That's all.

Hearns would not only have won over Mayweather. He would've stopped him, violent style.

The Commish says:

Great article by Frank Lotierzo. He calls all of the fight prognosticators and theorists "Cookbook Analysts." I love that term. Everybody has his/her own recipe for beating $$$May. It's the same thing with Wladimir Klitschko. Before each of his fights, we hear those "Cookbook Analysts" saying things like, "You gotta' press Wladimir" and "You've got to get under his jab" and "You have to get inside and work his body" and "You've got to press him and throw combinations. He's got no chin and all it takes is one shot." Okay. Go do it. Implement the plan. The fact is, very few can do it.

The "Cookbook Analysts" all see weaknesses or vulnerability in $$$May. At least they think they do. Robert Garcia says $$$May cannot take three minutes of pressure per round, and has trained Marcos Maidana to fight that kind of fight. He has had Maidana spar hundreds of rounds in preparation for Saturday night. The problem here is that although Maidana has been sparring a lot, none of the men in headgear in front of him are named Floyd Mayweather Jr. They can move, but not as well as $$$May. They can do the shoulder roll, but not as well as $$$May. They have hand speed, but not the hand speed of $$$May.

Get the picture? We all have a game plan or recipe--until it doesn't work. Maidana may just find out very fast that what worked on the cheap imitation of $$$May--Adrien Broner--is useless against $$$May. Useless. Worthless. He will have to trash the game plan. What he'll have then is conditioning and heart. Those two alone, without a workable game plan, will not be enough to hand $$$May his first loss.

So, "Cookbook Analysts," if you are among the very few who think Maidana is going to pull off an astounding upset, how is he going to do it?

Let's hear your recipe.

-Randy G.

Coxs Corner says:

Great article Frank. You hit the nail on the head. The way to beat Ali was to pressure him, and force him to rush his punches, slip inside go to the body and make him pay for his incorrectly placed right guard but really only one fighter had the physical ability to pull that off, Joe Frazier and when he was older and not as physically capable Leon Spinks in their first encounter Norton was able to neutralize Ali's jab and apply some of Frazier's strategy but he had size and physical strength to be able to do so.
A very under appreciated part of boxing by the cookbook analysts.

Brad says:

I actually think Floyd's best chance would have been against Hearns. I think it would have looked much like Hearns Benitez, with Tommy most likely winning a decision. Tommy's power seemed to go away after about round four...well his "killer power." Plus Tommy was the most likely of the four to get caught. I don't see any way Floyd could beat a "interested" Duran, Leonard or Hagler. I still think he loses to Tommy but if he avoided early trouble, he'd stand a chance.

flackoguapo says:

Maidana has to do some unconventional dirty ****! Step on Mayweather's foot , knee his leg and grab and punch all at the same time!! Ha. Maidana has to to land a significant punch. ANY hard punch and hope Mayweather feels it. Maidana can be so reckless

at times that he tries to finish fighters before they are hurt, IMHO. He lands semi clean glancing shots then pounces on you to see if you are buzzed or to knock you out if you are or arent! ha. I could see $$May playing possum letting Maidana rush in then

really step into a counter since Maidana is on the slow side. Who knows? Maidana might come forward so open that $$May wont even have to trap em'.

brownsugar says:

I think DDV said it: there are no lottery punches. I agree, completely. Any so called "lottery punch" is due to a lapse in concentration in the better boxer, or, vice versa, a higher degree of focus on behalf of the perceived lesser fighter. In whicYearns that's part of the game, and has nothing to do with luck. I've never been lucky or unlucky in the ring; just better or worse, more focused or less focused. That's all.

Hearns would not only have won over Mayweather. He would've stopped him, violent style.


Glad to see you back in rare form... this the Grimm we've been missing.

And like Mayweather Im not going to take on two heavy hitters in one day (you and your referrence to DDV)
But the more i think about it.... Im reminded that Hearns, himself a smooth mover, was more of a floater or a jogger when he moved about the ring. Hearns never had to propell his entire body into a punch like a more compact fighter would due to his extended reach.

Hearns was either moving or punching. And he punched hardest when he was slow walking his opponent until the basically froze in their tracks in terror.

Mayweather however is the master of movement... His entire offense and defense is dependant on movement. Similar to Pacman who only has a 67 inch reach but is so mobile he can snipe opponents from a much further distance and hop back out of the way before his opponents can return fire.

I think that as much as us fight fans like to gripe about the "current soft" generation of fighters... A few of the top elite fighters could do things to our most revered legends from the golden era that we could only imagine in or most unwelcomed and unexpected nightmares.

oubobcat says:

Great article and great analysis. Everybody has a plan until they get hit, right?

One great point that was made is that Mayweather is a better puncher than most give him credit. If Mayweather had little to no power, fighters wouldn't get as discouraged and hesitant to let their hands go as so often happens to Mayweather opponents. His jab is sharp and blinding. The combinations that come behind that jab are fast and hard. There is a reason why it seems Mayweather takes control and coasts to victory in so many fights.

flackoguapo says:

Great article and great analysis. Everybody has a plan until they get hit, right?

One great point that was made is that Mayweather is a better puncher than most give him credit. If Mayweather had little to no power, fighters wouldn't get as discouraged and hesitant to let their hands go as so often happens to Mayweather opponents. His jab is sharp and blinding. The combinations that come behind that jab are fast and hard. There is a reason why it seems Mayweather takes control and coasts to victory in so many fights.


Great point. Mayweather probably could have a higher knockout%, but he rarely has to open up like that because he isn't usually behind in a round. Wonder how much his hands being hurt come into play with this as well?

El Dude says:

The Floyd Mayweather cookbook has been open for all to see. Marcos Maidana has his own set of secret recipes that are intended to poison Floyd internally with pain. The $ Team claims that Floyd's defensive skill are unbreakable and have nicknamed such claims as the "MayVinci Code". Come May 3rd Maidana will be remembered as "Marcoardo Maidinci " as he deciphers the code of Floyd Mayweather while becoming the New Currency of Boxing when he breaks through the security of the $ banks of fame. Floyd claims that he has never been pushed near the edge of his A-Game but Floyd's A-Game vs Maidana will be more like a bunch of ZZZs for the P4P "former" champ. Maidana has been redefined under team Garcia & his bad habits have been corrected which makes him a very dangerous fighter. Maidana has all the KO power to finish Floyd but most importantly he has a smart corner that will provide an arsenal of weapons that will be unleashed by Maidana with unrelenting bombs. Floyd's low volume of punches with fragile hands & clinching tactics will only benefit Pit-bull Maidana who will attempt to bully & decapitate Floyd all through the fight. Floyd will have no choice but to rely on his "handy-dandy" bicycle in hopes of repelling the Bee-Hive Maidana. It will be a busy night for the 37 year old champ who will resemble a frantic person being attacked by a swarm of killer bees & El Dude predicts Maidana winning by KO of the decade.

Radam G says:

Wow! Mad, nice post. Nuff said! Holla!

dino da vinci says:

Let's just agree on this. Yes, it would be the knockout of the decade. Any decade really.

The Shadow says:

Maidana has to do some unconventional dirty ****! Step on Mayweather's foot , knee his leg and grab and punch all at the same time!! Ha. Maidana has to to land a significant punch. ANY hard punch and hope Mayweather feels it. Maidana can be so reckless

at times that he tries to finish fighters before they are hurt, IMHO. He lands semi clean glancing shots then pounces on you to see if you are buzzed or to knock you out if you are or arent! ha. I could see $$May playing possum letting Maidana rush in then

really step into a counter since Maidana is on the slow side. Who knows? Maidana might come forward so open that $$May wont even have to trap em'.


Awesome post!

Randy, excellent, excellent take on the issues with solving the "May Vinci Code."

And Grimm, while I disagree with you that Hearns would've smashed Mayweather -- I personally see it ending fatally for the Hitman whose chin, to me, looked as soft as his punches were hard -- it is the trademark Grimm vernacular that makes him a favorite among us.

MAN! You guys are coming out swinging the first day! And we got some NKOTB ready to mix it up in true Lomachenko fashion -- no tuneups needed.

I need me some Amayseng though, where u at son?!

The Shadow says:

Maidana has to do some unconventional dirty ****! Step on Mayweather's foot , knee his leg and grab and punch all at the same time!! Ha. Maidana has to to land a significant punch. ANY hard punch and hope Mayweather feels it. Maidana can be so reckless

at times that he tries to finish fighters before they are hurt, IMHO. He lands semi clean glancing shots then pounces on you to see if you are buzzed or to knock you out if you are or arent! ha. I could see $$May playing possum letting Maidana rush in then

really step into a counter since Maidana is on the slow side. Who knows? Maidana might come forward so open that $$May wont even have to trap em'.


Awesome post!

Randy, excellent, excellent take on the issues with solving the "May Vinci Code."

And Grimm, while I disagree with you that Hearns would've smashed Mayweather -- I personally see it ending fatally for the Hitman whose chin, to me, looked as soft as his punches were hard -- it is the trademark Grimm vernacular that makes him a favorite among us.

MAN! You guys are coming out swinging the first day! And we got some NKOTB ready to mix it up in true Lomachenko fashion -- no tuneups needed.

I need me some Amayseng though, where u at son?!

The Shadow says:

The Floyd Mayweather cookbook has been open for all to see. Marcos Maidana has his own set of secret recipes that are intended to poison Floyd internally with pain. The $ Team claims that Floyd's defensive skill are unbreakable and have nicknamed such claims as the "MayVinci Code". Come May 3rd Maidana will be remembered as "Marcoardo Maidinci " as he deciphers the code of Floyd Mayweather while becoming the New Currency of Boxing when he breaks through the security of the $ banks of fame. Floyd claims that he has never been pushed near the edge of his A-Game but Floyd's A-Game vs Maidana will be more like a bunch of ZZZs for the P4P "former" champ. Maidana has been redefined under team Garcia & his bad habits have been corrected which makes him a very dangerous fighter. Maidana has all the KO power to finish Floyd but most importantly he has a smart corner that will provide an arsenal of weapons that will be unleashed by Maidana with unrelenting bombs. Floyd's low volume of punches with fragile hands & clinching tactics will only benefit Pit-bull Maidana who will attempt to bully & decapitate Floyd all through the fight. Floyd will have no choice but to rely on his "handy-dandy" bicycle in hopes of repelling the Bee-Hive Maidana. It will be a busy night for the 37 year old champ who will resemble a frantic person being attacked by a swarm of killer bees & El Dude predicts Maidana winning by KO of the decade.


Hahaha you weren't kidding! You're coming out for the BELT! Hahaha!

You sound like myself when I speak of Paulie Malignaggi, the #NKOB, whose throne was unjustly usurped by crooks and pretenders.

I mean, the man was overthrown from ruling the two kingdoms rightly his (WBA + IBF).

(I still can't believe the iron-chinned Monarch Malignaggi, easily the best beard of this decade, fell to a paltry peasant with 15 mere stoppages. I suspect foul play, no doubt about it.)

El Dude, if this prediction holds up, it will take a crafty wordsmith to knock you off the podium!

Marcoardo Maidinci?! BOL! That's classic.

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