Don’t listen to Oscar De La Hoya. The Golden Boy's belief that the ancient warrior Juan Manuel Marquez will best the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. shows De La Hoya has taken one punch to the head too many.
The Mayweather-Marquez fight Saturday night in Las Vegas, regardless of who wins, probably won’t live up to its expectations. Mayweather is rusty; Marquez is old, which should turn the fight into don’t-bother-to-see TV.
I wish Mayweather had fought Marquez four years ago. I wish the two men were fighting with Mayweather at his sharpest. But what we have is a fight that’s been all-too typical of pro boxing in the past 20 years: the right matchup put together at the wrong time.
In some ways, I look at the fight as yawner for television viewers. Even with a discounted Pay-Per-View cost, the fight isn’t worth your money. You have no way of predicting how fit to fight Mayweather, who had to push back the fight date after hurting his ribs, will be.
One thing you can predict, though, is his strategy.
Even at his sharpest, he fought with caution; he took few risks, preferring to dazzle opponents, judges and fans with his superior speed. Never was Mayweather the hardest puncher in his weight division. He was often dull, so he can’t be expected to change that hit-and-run approach and go toe-to-toe with Marquez.
What the fight will develop into is Marquez trying to chase Mayweather, applying his unrelenting pressure and hoping to punish the younger Mayweather inside. But there’s one cautionary tale to that approach: Marquez is a smaller fighter than Mayweather.
If anything might favor Marquez, aside from De La Hoya’s opinion, it’s that he’s battle-tested. Mayweather hasn’t fought in a long, long time. But Marquez, as De La Hoya knows, isn't the fight Mayweather and fight fans everywhere were looking for.
That dream fight is Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, and it could happen.
That’ll be the mega-fight that will be a PPV bonanza. It should happen if “Pretty Boy Floyd” looks good winning. But will fight fans have to wait an eternity to see it?