On Saturday night, two of the best boxers on the planet square off at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Juan Manuel Marquez is moving up in weight to take on the former pound-for-pound champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 140 pounds.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 29 KO) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO)
This is a big fight for both. Mayweather has had a two-year layoff and could be looking at a huge payday against Manny Pacquiao if he wins. Marquez also is looking to earn a fight with Pacquiao in what would be their third fight, but more importantly, Marquez needs to make people forget he drank his own urine. (Yup, he did it. On TV, no less.)
The situation we have surrounding this fight reminds me of the potential upcoming ALDS matchup between the Red Sox and the Angels. Most fans are already looking ahead to another ALCS get-together with the Yankees. Most critics and bloggers are talking as if Floyd is going to win hands down.
The Angels are a solid baseball team, and Marquez is a great boxer. The Angels have proven that they can beat just about anyone in baseball. Marquez has moved up in weight and seems to be more explosive than he has been in past years. Why are people writing these two franchises off so easily? (Yes, Marquez can be considered a franchise.)
The answer is that both Mayweather and the Red Sox have too much potential. When you boil it down and put the facts side by side, they both seem as if they could be the sleeping giant.
The Sox had been slumping. Then Josh Beckett gets right, Daisuke Matsuzaka apparently is reborn, and one remarkable homestand later, the team is stoking the engine as it chugs toward the playoffs.
Could Maywether do the same with all the potential matchups at 140 pounds and 147 pounds? Could he be chugging through the Marquez fight toward what could be considered the playoffs of his legacy? (I don't know if that makes sense, but it sure does sound deep, doesn't it?)
Floyd Jr. is one of the fastest boxers I have ever seen, but as Teddy Atlas always says, timing beats speed, and Marquez is a master counterpuncher. He is an extremely smart fighter with the ability to think on his feet and adapt to whatever his opponent throws his way. He is the type of fighter who can seem as if he isn't doing very well, and the next thing you know, he's picking his opponent apart. We saw this in both the first Pacquiao fight and his last fight against Juan Diaz.
My problem with Marquez is that most of his knockdowns seem to happen when he is caught by speed. What I mean by that is he never seems to be totally rocked — he is just off-balance or surprised when he lands on his backside. That could be a major issue with a guy as fast as Floyd Jr.
In the end, I am no different than everyone else. Mayweather is too young, too fast, too big and just has too much untapped potential to lose this fight. Floyd has rarely had to take it to that next level against an opponent, but I think Marquez may be a guy to wake the sleeping giant. I think Mayweather's speed will eventually be too much for Marquez, and the fight will be stopped in the late rounds.
Let's not forget, though, that just like the Angels won't hand the Sox the ALDS, Marquez isn't going to climb through the ropes, lay down and say, "Count me out, because on paper, you should win." That, my friends, could make for an interesting fight – both in the park and in the ring.
Prediction: Mayweather TKO in the ninth round
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