Unshot/In My Prime
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Southern California
Re: Why Mayweather beats Sergio Martinez
I disagree. Mayweather trying to walk down Martinez is a terrible idea.
Barker was able to do well for a time in part because of his size and length- his high guard was able to protect him pretty solidly, and he was able to counter with jabs and straight rights. Mayweather has a very good straight right (both as a lead and as a counter), and has a great jab too, but Martinez is taller and longer (I believe Mayweather has a 72" reach and Martinez has a 75" reach if I'm not mistaken.) Martinez's physical advantages alone would make it extremely difficult for Floyd to establish a jab and keep the range on Martinez.
Martinez's physical advantages, however, would force Mayweather to try and close the distance on Martinez, because Martinez is taller, longer, and uses those attributes effectively. Walking in with a high guard might be able to protect Mayweather from the straight left and right jab to the head, but it would leave his body open, and as Martinez demonstrated in his last fight, he has an excellent forward momentum-stopping straight left to the body, and Martinez will attack the body to force the high guard down during a fight- he broke Barker down by attacking his body, and then when the high guard went down as a result, he took out his head.
Martinez is a superb counterpuncher, and you can bet that if Floyd was trying to counter Martinez from the high guard, Martinez would do exactly what Mayweather himself did against Cotto- that is, get around the high guard with wide hooks. Martinez has an excellent right hook that would trouble Floyd in the high guard, though that has a better chance of protecting him from the right hook than the shoulder roll does.
Martinez looked uncomfortable leading against Barker, but he was more capable of leading against Chavez Jr., and now looks very comfortable whether leading or countering. His jab is great, and he was able to switch it up between the head and body constantly, which helped set up his other punches. It would certainly make Floyd think twice about lunging in, if not opening the guard up top.
Moreover, given Floyd's more stationary movement at 154, Martinez's lateral movement and active jab would trouble Floyd a lot, especially in a huge ring like Martinez had against Chavez Jr. Floyd might be better technically on the inside than Martinez is, but Martinez is not to be underestimated in close either- Cotto was visibly stronger than Floyd in close range in their last fight, and an even bigger, stronger man like Martinez would cause even more problems for Floyd just based on his size. Martinez was able to sting Jr. pretty well with short hooks and a sneaky uppercut to the body before he circled out, and he could very likely use his size to impose on Floyd long enough to do the same, and thus limit infighting exchanges to not last very long before he returned to boxing in the center of the ring.
Floyd is very technically skilled, but the fact he's lost foot speed, reflexes, and lateral movement since his younger days (and his power does not bother opponents as much as it once did), he would be very outmatched against a bigger, highly skilled, powerful, laterally-moving, fast-handed counterpuncher with an excellent jab and a varied offensive arsenal. Martinez is a bad stylistic matchup for Floyd even if they were of similar size, but Martinez's size and Floyd's lessened physical capabilities make it an almost insurmountable matchup. Floyd doesn't have the legs to try and go in and out and potshot laterally anymore, and chasing Martinez around the ring would put him at risk to walk into counters.
His best chance in my opinion at least would be to try and move straight back into the ropes, since he can still counter well off the ropes, keep a high guard up on the ropes while moving his upper body and head a lot, and try to counter Martinez with short uppercuts to the head (if Martinez is trying to crack Floyd to the body) or hooks to the body (if Martinez is trying to crack him in the head), and occasionally lunge forward with the jab or the lead right off the ropes to counter probable wider Martinez shots to the head to get around the high guard. If Floyd did that right, Martinez's shots might overshoot, and then he'd be able to clinch and smother Martinez for a moment, get a shot or two in, and then back off again and reset. That'd be risky too, but Martinez isn't exactly a pressure fighter and might hesitate enough to give Floyd some openings.
It's still an extremely tough matchup for Floyd based on everything I listed and Martinez's workrate. I'd expect a stoppage or decision loss for Floyd if he took this fight, but I'd gain a lot of respect for him.