Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr.
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, MI
Resides: Las Vegas
Height: 5' 8"
Current Titles Held: None
Former Titles Held: WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), WBC Super Lightweight (140 lbs.), The Ring Magazine, WBC, IBF Welterweight (147 lbs.), WBC Super Welterweight (154 lbs.)
Professional Record: 39-0, 25 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 18-0, 9 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 10-0
Notable Wins: TKO10 Ricky Hatton, SD12 Oscar De La Hoya, TKO10 Diego Corrales
Juan Manuel Marquez
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Resides: Anaheim, CA
Height: 5' 7"
Current Titles Held: The Ring Magazine, WBA, WBO Lightweight (135 lbs.)
Former Titles Held: WBA, WBO, IBF Featherweight (126 lbs.), WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.)
Professional Record: 50-4-1, 37 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 9-4-1, 4 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 8-3-1
Notable Wins: TKO11 Joel Casamayor, UD12 Marco Antonio Barrera, TD7 Derrick Gainer
Notable Losses: SD12 Manny Pacquiao II, UD12 Chris John, UD12 Freddie Norwood
Does boxing need Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Or did the man who dubbed himself Money need the sport (or the fame or the financial benefits) too much to stay away?
Whatever the reason, Mayweather surprised very few people when he announced his return to the ring after less than two years of retirement. He did raise a few eyebrows with his choice of opponent, though, as multi-division Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez was last seen campaigning at lightweight, two divisions south of where Floyd had settled in.
Weight issues aside, the match-up is one that's right up the alley of boxing purists, with each man able to make a convincing argument that he's the finest pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Mayweather possesses a unique combination of learned skill and natural talent, flashing incredibly quick hands while proving maddeningly difficult to hit squarely in return. Though he'll also enjoy a rare size advantage, his main obstacle will be shaking off any rust that's accumulated since December 2007.
Marquez can counterpunch with surgical precision, and he's also shown surprising power as he's gone up in weight and an iron chin to boot. As noted above, he will be carrying more bulk than ever for his first foray north of 135 pounds, raising the spectre of giving away both speed and pop. JMM is also on the wrong side of 35 and has logged many more tough rounds in the ring than his younger foe.
Since the bout will be taking place on the weekend after Mexican Independence Day, Marquez will carry his banner of national pride into what's certain to be a raucous crowd at the MGM Grand. But Mayweather won't be lacking in motivation either, as he's eager to reclaim his spot atop the sport and prove the many detractors that he cultivates with his "me against the world act" wrong for doubting he can do it.
Mayweather's Winning Strategy: Fight Your Fight
There probably isn't a more polarizing figure among boxing fans than Mayweather. In a way, he's similar to the WWE wrestlers he's occasionally performed with, as fans are never quite sure how much of Floyd is a character he's created and how much is the real man.
For most of his career, Mayweather hasn't cared much for other peoples' opinions of him. He's been happy to keep winning whether he's looked good doing it or not, and he's been able to brush off criticisms that he hasn't fought the most threatening competition. Only now the derogatory salvos coming at him have increased, swelled by charges that he faked an injury that postponed the fight from its original summer date and that he's having - in more than a small bit of irony - money problems.
Mayweather has to ignore any temptation to prove anything to anyone and focus on what he does best: hit people without getting hit back. Floyd should be able to use his height and reach to dictate the action from the outside, and his hand speed should allow him to get off first if he so chooses. And even though Marquez will be waiting to counter, Mayweather's ability to move laterally could give the Mexican warrior fits and prove to be the most important tool at his disposal.
It may not make for the most fan-friendly game plan, but that's never stopped Money before.
JMM's Winning Strategy: Take Mayweather Out of His Comfort Zone
When it comes to Marquez, timing is everything. His uncanny ability to throw punches at exactly the right split-second has been cited by everyone from promoter Oscar De La Hoya to trainer Nacho Beristain as the antidote for Mayweather's speed.
Still, JMM can't simply sit back, as he'll risk getting picked apart by an opponent who will be more than happy to land and retreat out of harm's way. He'll have to successfully accomplish something that Ricky Hatton was unable to do, which is to keep the fight in Floyd's face.
If Marquez can force Mayweather to back up and throw punches just to gain space, he may find the countering opportunities that suit his style. If he has to eat a shot or two to pull it off, so be it. After all, JMM has taken 24 rounds of power shots from Manny Pacquiao and lived to tell about it.
Posted by The Franchise