Poll: Who Do You Predict Will Win?
After an injury delay and much hyping courtesy of HBO 24/7, Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez will finally square off this Saturday (September 19, HBO PPV). As expected, a fight that was initially met with widespread chagrin from critics now has an air of excitement amongst fans and experts alike.
The main intrigue centers around Mayweather, who will have been out the ring nearly two years since introducing Ricky Hatton to a turnbuckle back in December 2007. Of course, there will be some degree of ring rust, but how much? Will Mayweather’s great accuracy be anywhere near what it was? Also, how will stamina play a role, especially if the fight goes into the later rounds?
For Marquez, most are skeptical of how his body will carry the move to welterweight. In his last bout at 140 pounds, Marquez had to dig deep to score a nice KO over volume puncher Juan Diaz. Still, what many point to is not Marquez’s adjustments to win, but how Diaz was able to tag and hurt him over the bout’s first half. Marquez looked ponderous early on at lightweight (135 pounds) in spite of the gutsy performance. How will his body respond now that he’s jumping a weight class to compete against a bigger, established elite fighter at welterweight?
The best asset of both fighters is their adaptability. Mayweather and Marquez can adjust strategies several times over the course of a fight. Their versatility allows them to fight off the backfoot as precise counterpunchers (Marquez-Medina, Mayweather-Castillo II), or carve up aggressive fighters on the inside (Mayweather-Chavez, Marquez-Diaz). Make no mistake; boxing IQs don’t come much better than these two men.
Early on, expect an intense chess match as both fighters seek to dissect each other’s styles and tendencies. Here Mayweather’s ring rust will show, and he’ll likely be consistently off the mark with his lead right, allowing Marquez opportunities to clip him with his own great counter right.
However, by the middle rounds expect Floyd to find the range and begin breaking down the slower and smaller Marquez to the head and body. Mayweather normally reserves stick and move strategies against fighters that are considerably bigger (Castillo II, De La Hoya, Baldomir), so an aggressive Floyd is very likely to emerge and walk his Mexican foe down.
Unless Floyd Mayweather has completely lost most of his Hall of Fame skills, he should easily shake off any rust after a few rounds and brutally stop Marquez sometime by the eighth round.
Still, anything is possible in a fight. Who’s your money on?
Berto Eyes 2010 Match with Bengals’ Chad Ochocinco
WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto does have a December HBO date, but that hasn’t stopped the young titlist from entertaining a potential bout with outspoken NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco next year.
The two athletes went at it over Twitter (where else…) over the summer. Apparently, Ochocinco utilized boxing as part of his off-season training regimen and now thinks he’s good enough for the big dogs of the ring.
Berto, who holds a Fight of the Year candidate bout via his gutsy January 2009 win over Luis Collazo, feels that Ochocino needs a painful lesson on the limits of his abilities.
“I respect Chad’s abilities on the field, but once he enters the ring, he steps into my world,” Berto explained in a prepared statement. “And once he is in my world, I will have to show him who runs it. I am here to say when the [NFL] season is over, which should be before the playoffs start, I’ll give him the beating of his life…when I am finished with him his name will no longer be Ochocino, it will be no mas!”
The Bengals have invested too much money to allow any of their players, let alone a star one, to put himself in a situation to get injured. A legit boxing match is not happening. And on Berto’s side, an errant headbutt could cause a cut that could keep him out of the ring for months and cost him millions of dollars.
If this comes off, it’ll be a “light” sparring match akin to the “fight” we saw a few weeks back between Shaquille O’Neal and Oscar De La Hoya. With that said, Berto-Ochocino would be for a good cause, so we’ll see where things develop over the next few months. The funniest thing is Berto requesting the fight after the regular season, as if he’s already assuming the Bengals aren’t making the playoffs!
Promoter Bob Arum Calls MMA Fans and Fighters “Skinheads” and “Homosexuals”
I’ll admit it humors me to hear ignorant comments from uninformed boxing fans on MMA and vice versa. Both sports require tons of intense training and dedication. I would like to believe most fans of both disciplines don’t think like this, but it’s still hilarious nonetheless. Check out legendary promoter and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum going in on MMA and his former star fighter Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather, Sr. Calls Out Manny Pacquiao for Steroids
The Mayweather camp looks to be beating the drums early (and perhaps prematurely) for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao by accusing the Filipino icon of abusing steroids.
The wild claim came out of nowhere, with Mayweather, Sr. having no evidence aside from Pacquiao jumping from super-featherweight (130 pounds) to welterweight (147 pounds) in just a year with no loss of speed or punching power.
“I believe he’s on some type of supplements. I’m convinced about a lot of (boxers),” Mayweather Sr. speculated. “That’s what they’re doing right now. Everybody should be checked a little bit more thoroughly. Sometimes people know what’s going on but they ain’t saying nothing. I don’t think he can beat Lil’ Floyd with steroids in him or not. He don’t have that kind of talent. He don’t have that kind of skill, whatever he has in him.”
Regarding Pacquiao’s schedule, Mayweather feels Top Rank is moving too quickly.
“I think they’re pushing Pacquiao a little too much, even if he’s got ‘roids in his body,” he stated. “The steroids aren’t going to make him no faster. It’s going make him relentless and hit strong, but that’s it. It ain’t going to put no knowledge in your head.”
Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach took no time responding and setting the record straight.
“Maybe all of them, they’re using steroids, and not me,” Pacquiao told AOL Fanhouse. “You know what? I don’t even know what a steroid is. I’ve never done that.”
Roach, who helped give Mayweather fighter Ricky Hatton a crushing defeat in May, stated Mayweather, Sr is just a flat out sore loser.
“Steroids? Where in the hell did that come from?” Roach challenged. “You know, these guys, they had to come up with a reason why they lost. They lost because Floyd Sr. sucks as a trainer and I had the better fighter.”
Don’t expect these two camps to stop throwing shots anytime soon.
Last Saturday Mikkel Kessler (42-1, 32 KOs) and Andre Ward (20-0, 13 KOs) were successful with convincing tune-up knockouts in preparation for their November 21 showdown (Showtime).
The fight will be the first of the highly-anticipated Super-middleweight Super Six tournament. This promises to be a great fight, and one that can go either way. But if I had to pick today, I’d go with Kessler via mid round TKO. Ward’s speed will give him fits, but the Viking Warrior throws lethal straight punches down the pike and has good power as his equalizer.
Throwback Fight of the Week: Julian Jackson vs. Terry Norris (July 30, 1989)
A young “Terrible” Terry Norris was a fighter on the come up when he faced feared power puncher and WBA light-middleweight champion Julian Jackson.
6 years younger than Jackson and much faster, many felt that Norris would have the edge against Jackson if he could avoid the power shots.
In the first round Norris did just that, stinging Jackson with sharp right hands and constant circling to avoid retaliation. Jackson couldn’t get set to punch, and was stunned early in the round by Norris’ fast combinations.
The success perhaps made Norris too confident, and he began to allow Jackson to close distance and eventually trap him against the ropes. Jackson landed a crushing right that put Norris to sleep on his feet, and added a left hook and another right that sent the challenger face first to the canvas.
Norris beat the count, but was gone and in no shape to continue, giving Julian Jackson a definitive 2nd round knockout.
Julian Jackson would move up to middleweight, and make several defenses of the WBC title before losing to Gerald McClellan. He would retire in 1998 with a record of 55-6, 49 KOs. Jackson is considered today one of the hardest punchers pound for pound in the history of the sport.
Norris would bounce back after scoring a career highlight win over a faded Sugar Ray Leonard and Donald Curry in 1991. He also won several titles at light-middleweight before retiring in 1998 with a record of 47-9, 31 KOs. Norris would also successfully sue Don King for a million dollar settlement over brain damage suffered during his boxing career.