Boxing

'Call Em Out Fridays': Mayweather/Marquez - And Then There Was One...

By Vivek Wallace: After a long Summer that produced more questions than answers in the sport of boxing, today, we shine the spotlight on two men who need very little introduction. One, a perennial player not only in the sport, but in a country known to produce nothing but ultimate warriors; the other, nothing short of what most would view as perhaps the best fundamental fighter to step foot in the sport in quite some time. Arguably the best talent that their respective countries have to offer, this aptly dubbed battle between "Number One" and "Numero Uno" will not only settle a score between America and Mexico, but also identify the chosen one to potentially wage war against a certain Filipino icon who currently rules the world.

With the king of the sport locked firmly in their sights, Saturday night's showdown between Mayweather and Marquez will clearly go a long way in answering many questions.. After two all out wars, Marquez has come the closest of any man in recent times to solving the 'Pacquiao puzzle'. Few have been able to withstand the speedy-power assault of Pacquiao, but after touching the canvas three times in the first round, Marquez proved his mettle by not only making it a fight, but subsequently making a case that he was the better man by nearly winning it. That type of effort is what makes the pending bout against Mayweather intriguing. Over the years, we've seen Mayweather tested on various levels, but to return to the ring after a near two year hiatus against a fighter of this caliber could be a proposition to test the very fiber of his existence. The parallels between the two men are far more pronounced than some seem to think, and it goes far beyond counter-punching. In example, Mayweather has long been known as an intelligent fighter. Marquez, on the other hand, hasn't quite carried that reputation, yet has proven time and time again that his mental capacity to solve a puzzle goes far beyond a jigsaw. From style, to approach, to endurance, these men see eye to eye in more ways than one, separated only by two things. Two things that could make for an ending before it all begins. Those two things.....speed and defense. Despite his great offensive prowess, defensively, Marquez leaves quite a bit to be desired. His recent showdown against Juan Diaz was a classic example. As great of a boxer as Marquez has proven to be, it was the brawler who took control of the fight pace, pinning Marquez from corner to corner and applying a pressure that Marquez initially failed to answer. Being a great in-ring strategist was the only lifeline to save Marquez, as he would find himself behind on the scorecards as late as the 8th round of the fight with little hope outside of a punchers chance. One that he would eventually get.

When comparing Diaz - (a fighter with very little boxing fundamentals) - to Mayweather, the difference is equivalent to night and day. So the operative question becomes "how can Marquez appear made-to-order for a classic slugger, yet be poised enough to handle a pure naturalist"? Just one of the many questions that Marquez will have to answer when the bell rings. Now, few times in life has Mayweather ever cared to be outdone, and this case is no different, as he too brings a number of questions into this fight. We've heard his Uncle Roger talk about how all the 'great ones' have come back and found success after long layoffs, but anyone who feels an urge to dismiss the possibility of rust playing a role is thinking far from clear. Another question about Mayweather leading up to this fight that has received very little attention (surprisingly) is how well his ribs will hold up? Had they been healthy like before, this fight would have taken place back in July as planned. We know that Mayweathers' hands have been brittle, but when a boxer takes two years off and gets this type of injury in sparring, it doesn't take a genius to realize that ones body is showing signs of age that can't be ignored. Marquez has been through the countless battles, but he has also been active. The more you think of these two men in battle, the more the questions come to mind. But with less than 36 hours 'til showtime, those questions can only boil down to one answer, and ultimately, one huge statement. What I love the most is that soon enough, we'll find out exactly who's bold enough to make it! Stay tuned.

(Tomorrow, check out Vivek Wallace's fight day "Keys to Victory", "Official Prediction", and Video Segment breaking down the fight)

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at vivexemail@yahoo.com, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace)

Article posted on 18.09.2009



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