No official word has been released as to the weight class this bout will be fought in. Online sources say it is going to be at 144 pounds. Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.’s camp is mum, only insisting that it’s a “welterweight fight (147 pounds)”.
But no matter how many pounds Mayweather is contractually ordered to shed off, Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez needs to hurdle Mayweather’s size advantage. Mayweather has been fighting as a welterweight since November 2005. While Marquez, has fought almost all his fights at featherweight (126 pounds) and had only recently campaigned as a lightweight (135 pounds)—albeit ending both of his fights in the division via KOs to become the division’s lineal champion.
There’s also the issue about whether Marquez can take punches from a pure welterweight. Remember, Dinamita was decked four times in 24 rounds by the featherweight and super featherweight versions of one Manny Pacquiao.
Like Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather’s hand and feet are considered as one of the fastest in boxing, maybe even faster than the Pacman. But Marquez does have some speed of his own, too, which, coupled with his amazing counterpunching skill, gave Pacquiao fits in the two times they’ve met in the past. And as demonstrated in the early rounds of his 2006 fight with Zab Judah, Mayweather finds it hard to fight someone who can nearly match him speed-wise.
But the question is whether all the bulking up Marquez did for this fight turned him into a slower man. Marquez’s legendary Mexican trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain thinks his ward wasn’t affected by the added weight, insisting that after weeks of preparation they now have the speed to match Mayweather. The final answer though shall only be known come fight night.
Except for his indomitable spirit, this is probably the only factor that Marquez has a slight advantage in. This is Marquez’s second fight of the year, while Mayweather is coming off a 21-month layoff, following his retirement in December 2007.
Although the Mayweather camp has repeatedly affirmed that their boxer will show no effects whatsoever of ring rust, there’s a possibility the former pound-for-pound king may find it hard to find his bearings during the first few rounds.
WORDS: B.A. BORLEO
ILLUSTRATION: FRANTZ ARNO SALVADOR