When Floyd Mayweather announced his re-
tirement from boxing in the summer of 2008, most fight fans knew it was a case of ‘farewell but notgoodbye’.
Mayweather was 39-0, widely regarded as the best ‘pound-for-pound’ fighter in the world and had not long since scored an emphatic knockout victory over the previously unbeaten Ricky Hatton.
At 31 he was still considered to be somewhere near his absolute peak and so the majority of fight fans were taking any permanent ring departure talk with a pinch of salt.
Sabbatical? Maybe. Vacation? By all means. But retirement? Pull the other one Floyd, it’s got bells on.
Fast forward roughly 15 months and, quelle surprise, ‘Money’ Mayweather is set to make his ring return in Las Vegas this weekend against brilliant Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.
The boxing landscape has changed somewhat since Floyd last gloved up inDecember 2007.
Manny Pacquiao is now regarded as the ‘pound-for-pound’ top dog and for this reason Mayweather is going to have to prove himself all over again.
An emphatic win over Marquez, who is seen by most aficionados as the second-best fighter, ‘pound-for-pound’, on the planet, would be a hugestep in the right direction.
But having not thrown or taken a punch in anger for the best part of two years is Mayweather being overly ambitious by coming back against a former three-weight world champion in Marquez?
It’s not like the Mexican is washed up. He’s the current WBA, WBO and/Ring Magazine/ lightweight champion and in February of this year scoreda sensational TKO win over Juan Diaz in Houston.
The 50-4-1 (37) native of Mexico City is vastly experienced and hasnever been stopped in a pro run that began back in 1993.
He was shamelessly avoided early on in his career but still went on tobecome only the fourth Mexican fighter after Julio Cesar Chavez, MarcoAntonio Barrera and Erik Morales to win a world title in three separateweight classes.
In two meetings with Pacquiao he has drawn and lost (via wafer-thin split decision).
A strong case could be made for him winning both of those fights. Indeed it could be argued that nobody has beaten him convincingly and/or without controversy in more than 15 years as aprofessional.
He lost his pro debut on a DQ, and decision losses in title fights toFreddie Norwood (1999), Chris John (2006) and Pacquiao (2008) were allplenty contentious.
At 36 it’s probably fair to say that ‘Dinamita’ may be a step removed
from his best but he looked good in beating Diaz earlier this year and his technical brilliance has no doubt prolonged his career.
Marquez has exceptional ring timing and co-ordination and he’s one ofthe best counter-punchers of the past 25 years. He has a quality jab andis extremely ring savvy.
Nobody has ever enjoyed an easy night against him.
Therefore it was interesting to see Mayweather chalked up as an initial1/6 jolly with some layers to win the fight (the line has now moved and‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd is out to 1/4 at time of writing).
Against any other fighter I would make Marquez a live dog in this one.
But Mayweather has proved time and time again he isn’t any other fighter.
He’s the best fighter of his generation and if he can come back and seeoff the likes of Marquez, Pacquiao and even a Shane Mosley or a Paul Williams, history will have to remember him as one of the all-time greats.–Sportinglife.