Boxing

Mayweather - Marquez, Fight Night Is Finally Here: Last-Minute Analysis and Prediction

By Conor Ward - Well, the hour is close at hand and the fight that so many boxing fans have been waiting for all these months is nearly upon us. Anticipation has just about reached fever pitch, both in Vegas itself and around the world. Arguably the biggest showcase for the sweet science of 2009, this match-up sees the collision of two supreme ring specialists, whilst of course the return of a superstar like Mayweather guarantees at least a healthy degree of crossover appeal for the fight as a spectacle..

Much has been written and said about what the outcome might be, with varying predictions and a sizeable amount of educated debate. For my part, I have broken the issue down to three key areas, as I see it, and attempted to come to a conclusion. At this remove, and with respect to any and all commentators who have thrown their hat into the ring (so to speak), I’ll be quite shocked if things go the other way in a few hours time...

These two guys have had very very different build-ups to this fight over the longer term i.e the nearly two years since Floyd’s defeat of Ricky Hatton at the same venue in December 2007. While Marquez has been kept busy locking horns with fighters of the calibre of Manny Pacquiao, Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz, Floyd has been enjoying a lengthy layoff from the game and allowing his body to heal after years of wear and tear. Going by what we have seen of their respective training regimes on ‘24/7’, the contrast does not stop there, making for a quite intriguing prologue. There’s absolutely no doubting that Marquez has gone above and beyond the ordinary call of duty in his quest to reach his optimum level for this toughest of assignments. The sight of him running miles and lifting rocks high in the mountains of his homeland were ample proof of that, not to mention the penchant he has cultivated for the taste of his own piss.

Floyd appears to have gone the more conventional route, though typically he hasn’t been found wanting for intensity. With the expertise of Uncle Roger and his father Floyd Sr. (with whom Lil’ Floyd has apparently reconciled his long-standing differences) in close attendance, he has put in the hard work in the gym. And given Lil’ Floyd’s natural lust for the rigours of training and his remarkable athletic prowess, it seems it’s been business as usual in Camp Mayweather, with no corner cut and no stone left unturned. Of course there is the much talked about question of rust on the back of the long layoff. For me, that shouldn’t be a major issue for a fighter of his ability, and given the brittleness of his hands over the years, it may in fact work to his benefit. Then there was the trouble with the broken rib he sustained in training a couple of months back, but it would be hard to believe Floyd would be going into combat were that still an issue.

Both guys looked in supreme shape at yesterday’s weigh-in, their ripped midsections a sure indicator of much hard graft done away from the spotlight. Still, Floyd weighed in at a not- insignificant four pounds heavier than Marquez (146lbs vs 142lbs) and that size difference could prove a critical factor tonight. It’s ten out of ten to both men for their preparation really. But regardless of the actual weight, Floyd predictably looked the bigger man and without question holds the upper hand physically.

Aside from dishing it out, both these guys have proven time and again that they can take a good shot. But at this level it becomes more a question of delivering the accuracy when it’s needed most and being clever enough to preserve yourself and navigate your way through a punishing contest. Up to now, Floyd has always come up trumps in that department, and I see no major glaring reason why that should be much different this time around. There are, of course, top trainers manning the corners here in the shape of Roger Mayweather and Nacho Beristain, though they can only do so much for any fighter. When that bell sounds they’ll have only their fists and what’s between the ears to steer them through. Still, Beristain’s experience and clear reading of the fight will be of enormous value to Marquez between rounds. Couple that with his own strong willpower, and the Mexican is capable of staying competitive for a good portion of the fight. But Uncle Roger, as ever, with his deep-rooted knowledge of his fighter, will reassure Floyd by telling him to keep mixing up his attack, be watchful in defence and maintain his patience. There won’t be too many tricks missed in that corner.

With Floyd’s recent inactivity in mind, Marquez will surely look to apply the early pressure and force the fight. We may see Floyd briefly on the retreat as Marquez ceases the initiative for a spell early on. People often talk about what great rhythm Floyd possesses, but more to the point is his ability to change and mix up the rhythm of the fight from round to round or even minute to minute. This may leave the Mexican a touch baffled, as it has many before him. I see Floyd starting at a steady pace, getting a feel for things, looking to figure out Marquez’s gameplan, seeking out any defensive gaps and trying to frustrate by making him miss. We’ll then see Floyd flurry with greater willingness and increased work-rate in the middle rounds as he attempts to deliver the telling blows. It’s been said that Marquez has great ability to make effective mid-fight adjustments and there’s no doubt that he has shown that in the past. But it’s difficult to see how he can find a way to penetrate a defence as polished and slick as Floyd’s and somehow curtail the assault coming back in his direction. The pot-shotting, especially by way of those crunching right hand leads, will ultimately prove very damaging.

Prediction:

Marquez to give this a right good go and stay competitive with the quicker and more talented Mayweather through the first half of the fight, probably winning a couple of close rounds. But that’s probably as good as it will get for him in a fight which will not be close overall. Floyd to crank up the pressure and turn on the style in the later rounds. His greater speed and power will ultimately wear Marquez down and prove decisive. I see him taking total control of matters from about round 7 or 8. Maybe Floyd won’t deliver the clinical blow to send Marquez to the canvas for good, but I can see the referee stepping in compassionately or a towel flying from the Mexican’s corner some time in or around the 9th to the 10th round. Pushed for an accurate call, I’d say 10th round TKO for Floyd.

And I think we’ll see enough in this performance to silence at least a few doubters and show that he’s still the best in the business, though I still feel Marquez will emerge with his reputation enhanced after a defiant performance.

But hey, that’s just me, call it for yourself. And most of all, whoever you’re shouting for, enjoy it!

Article posted on 19.09.2009



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