ALL the talk before the fight regarded size. “Floyd Mayweather should get no credit whatsoever if he wins”, exclaimed respected American writer Steve Kim hours before the MGM Grand main event between Floyd Mayweather Jnr, returning from 21-and-a-half months out, and Juan Manuel Marquez, jumping up from lightweight to face “Money” at welter. Mayweather had been forced to pay the Mexican a reported $600,000 after coming in at 10st 6lbs at the previous day’s weigh-in, a complicated scenario, Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer explaining that although the contracted weight was always 10st 7lbs (the welter limit), Mayweather had agreed to pay a sizeable forfeit for every pound he weighed over 10st 4lbs. And after being on the receiving end of the first one-sided 12-round boxing lessons of his long career, Marquez, 10st 2lbs the day before and 10st 8lbs on the night, said he felt the extra poundage was a significant factor, stating that, “I think the difference was 20lbs in there.”
Well we will never know the answer to that question, Mayweather having refused to step on the scales on the day of the fight, but although size does matter, it was not the crucial factor that enabled Mayweather to win at a canter. Yes, his longer reach aided a comprehensive victory, but it was more Mayweather’s speed, timing, defensive skills and movement that meant Marquez was on to a loser from the first round.
While Kim, and he’s certainly not the only one, is right to dissuade observers from getting carried away with the result, I disagree that Mayweather deserves “no credit”. Yes he beat a smaller man, who was jumping up two weight classes to fight him, but let’s also remember he defeated a man who was in many pundits’ top five pound-for-pound list and who gave Manny Pacquiao all he could handle, not once but twice. And it wasn’t even close.