Ring reports today that Juan Manuel Marquez has agreed to a 147-pound welterweight limit for his July 18 pay-per-view fight with Floyd Mayweather, and it’s hard to imagine how such a thing came to be, if it’s accurate. It’s as stupid as stupid gets for the Marquez camp.
After all, one of the quite understandable hold-ups during negotiations for the fight was whether the weight limit would be 143, 144 or 145, since Marquez, a natural featherweight, would be moving up from the lightweight division where he is the champion to fight a boxer in Mayweather who had once beaten a top junior middleweight. When confusion broke out at the May 2 press conference announcing the fight was a “go” after Marquez promoter Oscar De La Hoya said the fight would be at 143 pounds and Mayweather and his team said it was merely a “welterweight” fight, it became clear that somebody had completely blown it. How could such a crucial question not have been settled and etched in stone in the contract prior to an announcement?
Marquez was going to be operating at a number of disadvantages anyhow. Mayweather is taller and has a significant reach advantage. He’s by far the faster of the two. As smart and technically sound as Marquez is in the ring, Mayweather’s right there with him. It’s a difficult style match-up, in other words, even at 143. But every pound more than Marquez has to move up to fight Mayweather is one more pound of digging his ass a deeper hole. That’s especially the case since one of Marquez’ best scenarios for wining was that a rusty Mayweather would have trouble getting down to a lower weight than he fought at prior to his mini-retirement, thereby weakening his body.
I simply don’t understand how this came to pass. Marquez’ career had been mismanaged for forever, and it looked like De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions had gotten his career on the right track and had his best interests at heart. Now, Marquez better hope that he’s a monster at the new weight. And that Mayweather is rusty as hell. And that as one of the smartest fighters in the game, he can outsmart another of the smartest fighters in the game in Mayweather. I know there are people who like Marquez’ chances in this fight, but I’m one of Marquez’ biggest advocates, and it just got even harder than it already was for me to imagine him clean-sweeping on those three hopes and pulling out the win.