Posts Tagged ‘mayweather’

Another boxing story from the Donkey published through Bleacher Report.

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Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Welterweight boxers Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez face off on December 8th in Las Vegas to contest their fourth bout against one another. Speculation of steroid abuse has once again hit the table ahead of the fight, only this time it’s not being thrown in Pacman’s direction.

In an interview with USA TODAY this week, Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, leveled the accusation against his fighters opponent. In the interview Roach said “If his body is natural, I will kiss his ass”, and later went on to discuss the changes in Marquez’s body.

In that same article, Marquez shrugged off the allegations and discussed the strength and conditioning training he is undergoing with Angel Hernandez. He states that his workouts have changed and become more focused on enhancing both speed and strength at the same time.

Given this, I find it interesting to read that Roach feels there are artificial means to the weight gain and sculpting of Marquez while the same changes his own fighter went through during his meteoric rise through the weight classes was carefully planned diets and workouts.

Is either man doping? I doubt it, but cannot categorically say no. However, we can look at their records through the years to examine the changes both men have gone through.

Pac-marq1_original Marquez – Pacquiao I

Since his debut as a professional in 1993, Marquez fought around the Featherweight (126 lb) and Super-Featherweight (130) weight classes for the next 15 years.

Looking at his fight weights on boxerrec.com, you can see that there were some occasions in which his weight was a little over the 130 limit, but they were few and far between. You could point to those occasional higher weights and say he was a man struggling to stay within the weight limits.

Marquez made the step up in weight in 2008, weighing 134½against Juan Diaz then a career high 146 in his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Since then he has stayed above 135 pounds.

Now, looking at Pacquiao and using boxerrec.com again to examine his weights we can see that he had a steady rise through the weight classes throughout his career.

Starting out in the Light-Flyweight (108) division and gradually progressing every couple of years before settling in around the Featherweight (126) and Super-Featherweight (130) division, thus beginning the rivalry with Marquez.

Who is doping?

  • JMM

    21.4%
  • Pacman

    14.3%
  • Both

    42.9%
  • Neither

    21.4%

Total votes: 14

Pacman’s final rise through the weight classes also began in 2008 with a fight at 135 against David Diaz prior to his breakthrough bout to world stardom when he destroyed Oscar De La Hoya at 145 pounds.

The only difference between the two since that jump in weight class is that Pacquiao stayed at or above the 140 lb mark while Marquez dropped back to slightly below.

Even the manner of their victories has been similar, with both fighters enjoying a mixture of stoppages and decision victories in the higher weight classes.

Given the similar nature of their recent ascents to the higher weight class, and the manner of their fights, nothing jumps out at me to scream cheater. While some will point to the sculpting of their bodies in their 30’s being an indication of juicing, new diet plans with legal supplements, new training methods and renewed dedication to getting the most out of aging bodies could also lead to re-sculpting of the torso.

Pac-marq3_original Marquez-Pacman III

So, to believe Roach’s claim that Marquez has been cheating, I would also have to believe speculation that Pacquiao was also a cheat.

The speculation has been there. Touted future opponent Mayweather Jr spoke quite candidly on the matter in the build up to his bout earlier in 2012 with Miguel Cotto. He commented on changes he sees in Pacman’s head size as an indication of doping and also of the manner in which Pacquiao blitzed his way through opponents.

Words such as these from other members of Team Mayweather had already landed them in court on defamation charges, charges that ultimately led to them having to issue a public statement that they did not intend to claim Pacquiao had, or was, using performance enhancing drugs.

Pacquiao himself has also addressed the PED rumours numerous times, most recently in this interview with USA TODAY in which Manny discusses the Lance Armstrong situation, stating “this is why I never have used drugs like steroids for my career…Why use illegal drugs–steroids–and ruin your name?”

Now, I understand that nobody is going to admit willingly to having used PED’s to further their career, but also believe in that people are innocent until proven guilty.

Is it possible that one or either man has used PED’s to change their body, maintain power through the weight classes or prolong their career? Yes, it is highly possible. However, until somebody can show that either man has cheated we have to go by their word.

This is why I find it incredible for Roach to be leveling accusations at Marquez given the flack he has seen his man take first hand. Roach, however, understands that mind games can play a huge role in boxing and how better to get under the opponents’ skin than by accusing him of cheating less than two weeks before the fight?

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Review of opponents on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s wish list to Golden Boy Promotions, published by me through bleacherreport.com

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Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the 22 year old Mexican boxer, WBC light middleweight title holder and veteran of 42 professional fights, is looking for a fight. He informed RingTV.com in September of his wish list following his domination of Josesito Lopez. The list is three names long and is a signal of intent from Alvarez and a long-needed step in the right direction.

For such a young fighter, Alvarez has been in a lot of fights.

However, when you consider the limited amateur background he has—just 20 amateur bouts—he is actually behind many fighters in terms of in-ring experience. Floyd Mayweather Jr. had 90 amateur bouts before turning pro.

Alvarez has been touted as the next big thing in boxing and has been labelled overrated and protected to equal degrees. In truth, he seems to currently lie somewhere between the two.

Alvarez is a talented young boxer whose rise to prominence was a carefully crafted piece of maneuvering by his management team that took place before he had faced a level of opposition to justify it.

One thing that Alvarez’s intentions appear to signal is that he is ready to show the world that he is what he has been hyped to be. The three names on the list are definitely a sign that he is not happy to sit back and count his cash while facing lesser opposition; he wants to face the best.

 

 

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The three he has apparently requested in his meeting with Golden Boy Promotion executives are Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez. He has also signaled he would like to fight one of these opponents on May 5th. If granted the opportunity against one of these fighters, who should Canelo face?

 

Floyd Mayweather

Lets start with the biggest of the three, Floyd Mayweather.

Love him or hate him there is no denying the greatness of Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is undefeated as a professional boxer, a title holder over five divisions and a defensive boxing master. Mayweather has long been considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

Mayweather combines blistering hand speed with a superb defensive technique, lightning-quick reflexes and pinpoint-accurate counterpunching. OK, in case you couldn’t tell, I think Mayweather is the best active boxer around. However, at some point age may begin to creep in and dull one or more of these senses and make the playing field a little more even.

It’s not the first time Alvarez has spoken about wanting to face Mayweather.

 

He stated as much before his bout with Shane Mosley. The fight against Mayweather never happened, but the desire to test himself against the best hasn’t gone away.

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Mayweather will not have fought in a year come May 2013.

While that is not unusual for Mayweather, a portion of that year was spent in a small cell during his incarceration from June to August of this year. I expected Mayweather to fight in November or December of this year to shake off the rust before taking on a big opponent in May. Maybe he feels he is in great shape and is just planning a May date for a blockbuster fight.

It is hard to tell with Mayweather.

 

Miguel Cotto

Cotto appears to have vanquished the demons he carried following his controversial loss to Antonio Margarito, a loss made controversial by Margarito being caught with loaded gloves prior to his defeat at the hands of Shane Mosley.

Looking back at the way Margarito brutally wore down Cotto in their first bout has me questioning whether his gloves were loaded going into the fight, a fight in which Cotto didn’t send a member of his team to monitor the wrapping of Margarito’s hands.

 

Following a blue patch that included the Margarito loss, a bloody battle with Joshua Clottey and a brutal beating by Manny Pacquiao, Cotto has returned to the top of the game. Moving up a weight class, winning a world title (again), successfully defending the title twice, avenging the Margarito loss and earning a fight with Mayweather has brought Cotto back to the top.

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The loss to Mayweather hasn’t hurt Cotto’s reputation. After all, there’s no harm in losing to the best when you drag them through a 12-round battle with you.

 

Sergio Martinez

Coming into his own later in his career, Martinez has shown himself to be a tremendous fighter in the last few years. His hand speed, movement, accuracy and power have allowed him to defeat bigger men than him in the Middleweight division and achieve several titles in the process.

In his most recent bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Martinez dominated the first 11 rounds against his much bigger opponent. He also showed great heart late in the fight to not only get up from a late knockdown but continue to take the fight to Chavez after the knockout. Many would have back peddled to ensure they win on points and not be knocked out.

 

Martinez, like Alvarez, has also stated his desire to face Mayweather. Will either one get that fight, or will they face each other?

 

Conclusion

Who Should Alvarez Fight

MayweatherCottoMartinezSomeone else, it’s too soon for that jumpSubmit Votevote to see results

Who Should Alvarez Fight

  • Mayweather

    24.9%
  • Cotto

    32.7%
  • Martinez

    32.7%
  • Someone else, it’s too soon for that jump

    9.6%

Total votes: 1,399

Any one of these fights would be considered a test to Alvarez, who, in spite of holding a title and being an undefeated fighter with over 40 bouts, has yet to face competition of this level. Kintron and Mosley were shadows of their former selves. Rhodes, N’Dou and Baldomir are not even close to the level of competition of the three names on his wish list.

 

 

Each fighter brings a different threat to Alvarez.

While both Mayweather and Martinez would bring great hand speed to negotiate, Mayweather also has a defense that many have tried to get through and few have succeeded. With Alvarez’s action-packed style, Mayweather could simply sit back and deflect blows before landing perfectly placed counters that will slow Canelo round by round.

Mayweather would also take advantage of the stiff upper body Alvarez often fights with.

With his constant pressure, Alvarez is a pretty static fighter with little lateral movement and almost no body movement. He provides a constant target to a fighter like Mayweather. Mayweather doesn’t even have to be half as accurate as normal to hit what’s always going to be right in front of him.

 

For me, a matchup with Mayweather right now is just a bad idea all around for Alvarez.

Mayweather will handle him with ease and Alvarez will be slated as overrated by everybody when the praise should really go to Mayweather’s excellence, but that’s another story all together.

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Like Mayweather, Martinez will exploit the lack of movement Alvarez presents.

Unlike Mayweather, Martinez will also be there to hit. Martinez’s defense is simply nowhere close to Mayweather’s, and he gets caught by a lot of punches a man with his speed and athleticism should be able to avoid.

 

If Canelo can avoid Martinez’s blows, or even keep so much pressure on Martinez that he cannot get any offense going, Canelo has a chance to knock Martinez out. Chavez almost managed it. Canelo has dedication to the craft and could follow through to the finish.

Cotto is not the fighter he once was, and I mean that in a good way.

The Cotto of old was predictable. He was going to lower his head and bull through you. He swung to the body with fury and then worked the head. Today, Cotto still pressures when the timing is right but has learned to sit behind his boxing and wait for the openings to present themselves.

 

This calmness and calculated attack that Cotto has added into his game makes him a dangerous opponent for Canelo, who reminds me at times of the young Cotto. Canelo can get ragged at times as he looks to apply more pressure, and this could be his undoing against somebody like Cotto, who is now content to sit and wait.

I think the most sensible fight for Canelo at this point in his career is Sergio Martinez.

Martinez will be coming back from a knee and hand injury, which could take the edge off his speed and a little snap from his punches. He is also fairly easy to hit and has been decked several times in his career, although he recovers quickly from knockdowns and takes the fight to his opponent as he recovers.

Against the other two, I see defeats for Canelo that would be damaging to his reputation.

Against Martinez, however, I think he has a better than even chance of winning. Even if he loses, it will be passed off as Martinez once again being underrated rather than Canelo being overrated.

My choice is Martinez vs. Alvarez.

My prediction is a ninth-round knockout victory for Alvarez.