Franchise Thoughts: Mayweather-JMM Actually Possible? And Which Hatton is the Right One to Beat Pacquiao?

As ESPN's Dan Rafael says in his most recent blog entry, not too many serious boxing fans or observers think Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going to stay retired. It was what else Rafael said that grabbed my attention: that a Mayweather fight with Juan Manuel Marquez is not only possible, but already being kicked around.

I'm having a hard time accepting this possibility (not too long ago I sounded off saying it was wishful thinking on JMM's part), and it's not because I don't think it would be a tremendous bout. On the contrary, I'd love to see it.

It's just that fighting the supremely talented Mr. Marquez doesn't seem like it would fit the requirements for a comeback fight for someone who gave himself the nickname "Money." My guess is that Mayweather is looking for an opponent who would bring the most bang for the buck and also look like a challenge while providing little real threat.

That description doesn't fit JMM, who doesn't bring mainstream recognition to the table and would, at the very least, give Mayweather a miserably hard time. In fact, Marquez only looks like a tempting foe if Floyd assumes that:
  • He'll be too big for JMM, which may actually be the case. Rafael says the fight would take place between 140 and 147 pounds, and Marquez has yet to fight above 135.
  • The public will watch his comeback fight regardless of whether the guy across from him is a big name. It's a stretch, but considering the publicity Mayweather gained fighting Oscar De La Hoya, competing on Dancing With the Stars and participating in WWE's WrestleMania 24, it's not a ridiculous one.

So maybe that's what Money is thinking. Otherwise, his tailor-made situation would be hoping that Ricky Hatton upsets Manny Pacquiao.

That would give him an opponent who comes with legions of his own fans and whose reputation would be soaring after knocking off the sport's pound-for-pound king. And oh, by the way, he also happens to be someone Mayweather handled with relative ease the first time they fought.

Speaking of the Hitman, he (and Floyd Mayweather Sr.) have been doing a lot of talking recently about how we'll see the new Ricky Hatton against Pacquiao and how Manny's victory over De La Hoya wasn't that impressive. Hatton also claims that he'll be the biggest man Pacquiao has ever fought on fight night, and that may be true since the Golden Boy came in surprisingly small.

Here's the thing though: if Hatton really does show up at 154 pounds on May 2, doesn't it really mean his best bet for victory is to rough Manny up? In other words, isn't the Ricky Hatton that beat Kostya Tszyu into submission more up to the challenge than the one who outboxed Paulie Malignaggi the last time out?

Make no mistake, Hatton put on quite the show en route to stopping Malignaggi late. He'll need some of those improved boxing skills, as this won't be quite the head-on collision it would have been had the fighters met a few years ago - and I may even have favored Hatton back then.

But Pacquiao has progressed as an all-around boxer as well, adding both offensive and defensive wrinkles and making big leaps with his footwork and movement. He also has a natural explosiveness that can't be taught, no matter how much time one spends absorbing wisdom from Mayweather Sr.

It's way too early to break down the fight, but I already think Hatton might be approaching it with the wrong mindset. Instead of matching his new and improved self against the latest model of Pacquiao, he'd be better served rewinding the clock a bit and getting back in touch with his inner bully.

Posted by The Franchise

1 comment:

uatu said...

on paper it may seem to favor floyd greatly over jmm, but all true fans are going to watch it anyway.

would a fan miss a fight between the #1 and #2 fighters in the world? I think not. bring it on.