Floyd Mayweather Jr. - Does He Lack Toughness?

20.11.06 - By Grampton James: Roberto Duran is one of my favorite boxers, so it almost pains me to say that, I think a lightweight Floyd Mayweather would beat a lightweight Duran, prime for prime. Floyd showed amazing boxing ability at lightweight. At that weight he was a true master of the art. I've never seen anyone able to move not only as quickly and in such fluid rhythm, but as efficiently. No matter how much pressure was applied to him or how much he moved, the man just did not get tired.

Evidence can be seen in this especially in the Jesus Chaves fight where Chaves comes at Floyd from start to finish, yet Floyd is able to fight backwards at the same speed for the duration of the right until the ninth round when the volume punching Chaves succummed to the combination of his own relentlessness and Floyd's elusivness, and finally Floyd's attack that stopped him.

I'm not making the assertion that Jesus Chaves is Roberto Duran. That would be an insult to Duran who many have slotted as one of the top ten greatest fighters of all time. It's just that the similar style and if not technique leads me to believe Duran might have played a role in inspiring Chaves to fight. Even their physical dimensions are somewhat similar with Chaves being two inches shorter with an inch less reach.

With this said, I believe that Floyd would handle Duran similarily to how he handled Chaves, and the outcome of this fight may look similar to the second fight between Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Floyd reminds me a bit of Sugar Ray Leonard, but faster, and more of a pure boxer than Ray could ever dream of being. Floyd is not only more fluid, but he's also more economical, moving as little as necessary to save the most possible energy. The speed of Floyd's reflexes are second to none.

Floyd, like Ray, would hit and run Duran to a hard fought, but comfortable decision or cause Duran to quit like he did when he fought Ray.

While Floyd is very much like Ray, there is one profound difference between the two.

The difference between Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd mayweather is that at one point during Ray's career, he was forced to stand up and hold his ground against his opponent. He was in a fight he could not win by running.

When Ray fought Tommy Hearns the first time for the welterweight title, Ray was forced to play the role of the aggressor. If Ray didn't become the aggressor against Hearns, Hearns, the bigger man, would have annihilated him after picking him apart from a distance before closing in for the kill.

Ray learned quickly that you could not run from everyone. Sometimes you were forced to fight their fight.

This is just as true for Floyd, three weightclasses removed from his arguable prime, who has shown signs of lacking the speed, agility, and endurance he is so renound for at light weight.

Believe me, he's still fast, but the illusion that he's just as fast as he was at lighter weights is being created by his selection of recent opponents. Sure, Floyd is absolute lightening against opponents that are aging, slow, removed from prime or a combination of the three.

Some may point to the Zab fight and say what I just stated is entirely untrue. You could say that, but first you'd have to analyze exactly what happened during that fight.

At some point in Zab's career, perhaps after his run in with Kostya Tyszu, Zab forgot exactly what kind of fighter he is. It seems like ever since then, he's neglected his sheer physical ability, which if used to it highest potential, could make him even more of a pure boxer than Floyd.

It's almost as if Zab now fights with a grudge. It's like he's trying to prove that he's not a runner, and if he actually is hurt in a situation where he must move, it's merely to taunt and humiliate his opponent. Someone should wake him up and tell him that this is a boxing match and not a streetfight.

Zab used these tactics when he fought Floyd. The problem with Zab being the aggressive fighter he tries to be is that he is not physically cut out to be that type of fighter. He's not built for it, and lacks the power and type of build of a fighter who is born to be constantly on attack.

Floyd was not frightened by by Zab's power and just as he did against N'Dou, Floyd stood his ground against Zab.

This is why I don't think that the Mayweather-Judah fight really qualifies as a fight that really tested Floyd as a fighter, even though Floyd may not have had another choice with his tactics in fighting.

So far, Floyd has proved that he has everything an all time great has except for one thing. The fact is though, the one thing Floyd lacks may be the most important factor in determining if a fighter meets the qualifications of an all time great.

What I'm refering to is heart. Heart is the will to win regardless of any obstacle placed before you.

Floyd's heart has not been tested yet. Floyd has never been in a situation where a fighter had the ability not only to make Floyd fight their fight, but to hurt Floyd.

Unfortunately, in May against Oscar De La Hoya, the last fight of Floyd's career, is not a fight where I believe Floyd's heart will be put on display.

As great as Oscar is and once was, I do not think that this will be a fight where Floyd will be forced to weather the attack and hold his ground. Oscar may have looked beautiful against Mayorga, but Mayorga is a totally different fighter than Mayweather.

Not only does Mayorga lack the obvious natural athleticism and boxing ability that Floyd posesses, but he also fights a completely different style.

The old adage is that power is the last thing to go. It seemed to hold true, as Oscar had plenty in dismantling Mayorga who walked right into Oscar's faster, straighter punches and eventually succummed to Oscar's renound 1-2 TKO combination.

It's been a while since we've seen Oscar at his best, fighting against a swift, fast, and elusive boxer, so it's difficult to gauge how he'll perform against Mayweather, but if how Oscar fought Shane Mosley, who as crude as he can be at certain times in his approach from a pure boxing perspective, is evidence of how Oscar will perform, then the aging Oscar will likely fade down the stretch as Mayweather boxes him to a unanimous decision.

The only trading likely to occur in this fight will be with Floyd on the offensive, and looking stronger, during the late rounds of the fight.

Another option would be Mayweather reducing Oscar into a relatively stationary, flat footed target on a slow approach, in a sense making Oscar look like a prop jet while Mayweather is running on afterburners. Perhaps, Oscar takes the last round or two, corners Floyd, or knocks Floyd out, as Floyd begins to wind down and tire from fighting moving backwards.

Either way, it is not likely that Floyd's heart will be tested as I believe that Mayweather will look good winning this fight.

Perhaps this is why some believe that Antonio Margarito, a prime, conditioned athlete with the exact style to beat pure boxer, may have the ability to defeat Floyd. Floyd may not be able to run from Margarito as he has run from others for the duration of the match.

This might some to question my integrity because if Duran can't beat Floyd, how can Margarito?

While Margarito is no Roberto Duran or Tommy Hearns for that matter, Floyd is not a lightweight anymore. He is three weightclasses removed from his prime and is not the same fighter. More weight means more to move which requires more energy. Floyd simply does not have the endurance or speed that he had at lightweight.

A match between Margarito and Floyd may come down to Floyd's will and determination rather than skill or ability.

It's a shame that we'll never see a fight materialize between these two in the event that Floyd keeps his word about retiring because I fear that Oscar will not be the man to put Floyd's heart to the test.

Even if Margarito isn't the man to put Floyd the fighter on display, until Floyd is truly tested, I think Floyd's standing amongst the greatest of all time will never be realized as boxing fans and historians will always question his legacy because Floyd was never challenged.

Article posted on 21.11.2006

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