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> So Who Beats Floyd? Past or Present?
post May 15 2013, 12:55 PM
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QUOTE (MaxPayne @ May 14 2013, 09:56 AM) *
I'm going to consider the following fighters:

Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Caesar Chavez, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Pernell Whitaker. I'd like to include Roy Jones Jr. just for the mythical debate aspect, but then you might as well include Ali and Tyson.

I don't believe that you can be reliant on a jab to beat Floyd Mayweather. I've never, ever seen a fighter who is so effective at taking away Boxing's most basic and fundamental technique. Whether it's slipping, sliding, rolling or pulling back, jabs simply don't land on Floyd. There's a reason why the jab is generally abandoned by fighters as fights against Floyd go on. Why ? Because guys keep whiffing and then getting pull-countered with a right hand for their troubles.

Ergo, I don't believe Leonard or Hearns would have been able to beat Floyd. Hearns had a monstrous right hand, but relied on the jab to set it up. Leonard was an incredible combination puncher with excellent hand speed, but once again, relied on the jab to set up those shots.

Now, even assuming that Hearns and Leonard would land punches here and there, we still haven't asked the question about their respective defenses. Hearns took part in "The War", which tells you all about his willingness to leave his chin out there. Leonard while slick, was prone to being hit by flat footed shots (see the Hearns fights), let alone sharp shots that are thrown from angles with great timing. Leonard was also not nearly as defensively sound in the clinch or up close.

The other group of fights includes Chavez, Duran and Hagler. These were great warriors who used their physiques, conditioning and toughness to bull guys around the ring. I believe that against many fighters, this approach can work, especially when you are just able to relentlessly cut off the ring. There is an important contingency though: you're expecting the other guy's conditioning to ultimately fail him from exhaustion and being battered.

With Floyd, conditioning has never been a problem. He's also actually harder to hit in the clinch and up-close than he is at the center of the ring. Re-watch several of his fights and you'll see. None of these guys were also particularly defensively sound. They simply walked through shots. Could Floyd knock them out ? Doubtful. Would he win decisions though ? Absolutely.

That leaves us with the 2 men who I believe could have actually beaten Floyd: Pernell Whitaker and the great Sugar Ray Robinson.

So what is it about these 2 that makes them capable ? I'll outline it:

To beat Floyd, you need defense, timing and the ability to attack with lead power shots without the assistance of a jab.

You also need a great left-hand punch (right-handed power shots are a lot harder to land against the Modified Shell Defense). Pernell had his Straight Left Hand. SRR had his Left Hook.

Both men were superb defensively, to the point where it's conceivable that Floyd would have been frustrated into throwing an uncharacteristic shot that left him more open than usual. Add the ability to counter, and we're talking solid shots landing.

So I believe Pernell and SRR could have done it. However...

Who is to say that Floyd wouldn't have made that Round 3 adjustment and used a completely different set of skills to negate the above strategy ? It's entirely possible...

...and that's what makes Floyd special. As you really study him in the ring, the sheer range of his skills is somewhat baffling. There are stretches in a match where he will largely abandon the Modified Shell Defense and square up with both hands up. There are angled looks with both hands down where he's simply looking to slip and slide. Opponents are left trying different techniques as the rounds go by.

Such is the wizardry of the man.

Is he invincible ? No.

But he's about as close to invincible as we've ever seen.

No one beats Floyd. He's THAT good. Even Paulie Malignaggi thinks so.
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