Jun 14, 2009

Pound for pound debate: Manny VS Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Being the pound for pound king is no joke. You can have all the titles in the world, but being recognized as the best fighter in the world says what it means. Boxing fans might discuss who won in the Hagler vs. Leonard fight (I saw Hagler winning), they might discuss who was the best all time boxer (I say Sugar Ray Robinson or Hank Armstrong) and they vehemntly give their opinion over who is the best pound for pound boxer of the moment.

In case you need the info, here's the actual list of the top 10 pound for pound fighters in the world, as seen by The Ring boxing magazine.

1 Manny Pacquiao 49-3-2 (37 KO)

Junior welterweight WBC Emeritus Champion, The Ring Junior Welterweight Champion
IBO Junior Welterweight Champion

2 Juan Manuel Márquez 50-4-1 (37 KO)

Lightweight WBA and WBO Lightweight Champion ("Undisputed")
The Ring Lightweight Champion, WBO Super Champion

3 Bernard Hopkins 49-5-1-1 (32 KO)
Light heavyweight WBC Emeritus Champion, WBO Super Champion

4 Shane Mosley 46-5-0-1 (39 KO)
Welterweight WBA Welterweight Champion ("Undisputed")

5 Israel Vázquez 43-4 (31 KO)
Junior featherweight WBC Emeritus Champion

6 Rafael Márquez 38-5 (34 KO)
Junior featherweight

7 Miguel Ángel Cotto 34-1 (27 KO)
Welterweight WBO Welterweight Champion

8 Nonito Donaire 21-1 (14 KO)
Flyweight IBF Flyweight Champion

9 Vic Darchinyan 32-1-1 (26 KO)
Junior bantamweight WBA, WBC and IBF Junior Bantamweight Champion ("Undisputed")

10 Celestino Caballero 32-2 (22 KO)
Junior featherweight WBA and IBF Junior Featherweight Champion ("Undisputed"

After seeing this list, it jumps out to me that Cotto and Vic Darchinyan are on the list while fighters like Paul Williams and Ivan Calderon are out. In other words, up to #6 I think the list is more than fair while the last four spots have at least two fighters I'm not sure should be on the list, and I'm actually fans of those two fighters.

Regardless. What is obvious is that the top two names on the list are in the right spots even if I could make a rock solid case that JM Marquez is #1, especially since he won two fights against Manny, I don't care what the score cards said. The first fight was a clear Marquez victory even after three knockdowns in the first round (do yourself a favor and get a copy of this fight) and the second fight was much closer, but I still saw Marquez win the fight by at least one round. But the main thing is that I have NO PROBLEM whatsoever with Manny being the P4P King because unlike other fighters, he's never EVER ducked a fight. Actually, I think few people could ever dream of a more complete resumé than Manny's. He's fought the best and beat the best. He destroyed Marco Antonio Barrera once and dominated the second fight. He lost a close fight to Erik Morales but then gave the Mexican warrior two of the worst beatings I've ever seen. He fought Juan Manual Marquez, often cited as one of the most avoided boxers in the world (except to Chris John, the only clear cut loss on Marquez's career), and he showed the heart, the skills and the punch of a champion.

So what next for Manny? Why not fight Oscar De la Hoya? Sure. If Floyd could eek out a decision, so should Manny, right? Umm.... While Floyd and Oscar was a competitive match, Manny made Oscar look, old, outclassed, slow, and weak. He made Oscar look like a shell of himself, (credit to Freddy Roach for the plan and for Manny executing it to a T). Ok, so what next? Why not fight Ricky Hatton, which gave Floyd a run for his money until he got caught with a check left hook in the 9th. While, Floyd and Ricky were in a close fight, Manny Pacquiao desimated Ricky Hatton, prompting fans to urge him to consider retirement.

THAT's why Manny is the pound for pound king. He's never ducked one opponent and shows that he would gladly die in the ring rather than quit and that he's not in there to win some BS decision. He's soft spoken, confident but humble, hard hitting, ever evolving, and grateful. So I have no problem seeing Manny as the top fighter in the world, even though I think JM Marquez could make a case, let's see what happens in his fight with Floyd Mayweather.

Now comes Floyd, self proclaimed greatest fighter of all time, pound for pound king and safely one of the true master of mind games. Is he or has he been P4P king? Well on paper he has, but like Roy Jones Jr., his career has a healthy amount of questionable opposition and like Roy, his defensive skills are not limited to the ring, ducking so many boxers, it's amazing to see him sign for a fight. Floyd is undeniably an amazing athlete and a boxer with such an incredible skill set that it's dissapointing to see him have to depend more on his mouth than on his fists to prove a point. While Manny was knocking Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera into possible retirement, Floyd was doing target practice with Carlos Baldomir, Arturo Gatti, and winning close decisions with Oscar De La Hoya and Zab Judah. He lambasted Diego Corrales when Diego was having troubles making weight and even though I loved Chico, he wasn't a Pound for Pound fighter, he was just a guy you loved to watch fight.

He's cocky, has a big mouth and talks a huge game while fighting a safe fight. THAT'S why floyd is a true to form pound for pound champion and why Manny will leave a more lasting impression on this sport, than he ever could. True, he did 24/7 and he's generated more money than everyone except Oscar De la Hoya, but that's peanuts compared to the achievements in Manny's career.

Now Floyd is going to fight Juan Manuel Marquez at a catch weight of 143. As per usual, Floyd is talking the trash and pumping himself up to fight a guy who's fighting one and a half to two weight classes over his prime fighting weight. He's got the reach advantage, the speed advantage and the skill advantage and I still think Juan Manuel Marquez can win because of one thing, heart.

The main thing Manny and Juan Manuel have that Floyd is very short of is heart. Yes it's a cold and cruel thing to say since I don't personally know Floyd, but when you see the adversity the other two fighters have had to live through and the fact that they have constantly fought out of their comfort zone, it shows that they are hungry to prove they are the best while Floyd settles for letting people coming to him and not taking risks. Is this smart? Endlessly. That's the only reasons Floyd has been able to fight as long as he has with the brittle hands he has. But it doesn't show heart, and in a sport where fans are won over through skill, excitement, and courage, Floyd is short on two of those categories while JM Marquez and Pacquiao have ample amounts of all three and to Marquez's credit, it takes balls to take Floyd on in his comfort zone.

What JM Marquez and Manny are doing is the equivalent of Floyd lacing up gloves and fighting Sergio Martinez at 154 and then Kelly Pavlik at 160. But that's never going to happen because Floyd will never leave his comfy 147 division.

That's the difference between these two types of fighters... One waits for you to come to him and settles for winning on points while the others wait for no one and are deadset on never leaving a fight's outcome to the judges. Which leads me to one final question:

Who would you rather watch?



Christian said...

I rather watch Floyd, he's one of the best boxers I've ever seen and I've been watching boxing for over 20 years now. Most of the times, Floyd lands over 50% of his thrown punches and punches as twice as his opponents. That's incredible.

Joker said...

Incredible? Yes. but compelling? Nope. He is a great boxer granted. But we've always seen him against limited opposition and I've always been anxious to see him in with someone who was a real threat... but he keeps ducking. And The incredible part of Floyd is not only his connect % but the low connect % of his opponents. Rarely do opponents connect above 10%. That's incredible... yes... but compelling? Again, no because it's expected. Let's see what happens when he gets in with some real boxers. Marquez is the smaller guy, but could be an interesting match, when it should be a Mayweather knockout. oh well, let's hope for good things.

Thanks for the comment.


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