Lee Groves

10: Floyd Mayweather’s greatest fights

10. September 19, 2009 – W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez, MGM Grand, Las Vegas


One of the most difficult tasks to pull off in sports is to dominate even more graphically than the pundits expect. The moment this fight was signed the identity of the winner was never in question, and that was a tribute to the 32-year-old Mayweather’s talents. Despite emerging from a 21-month layoff to fight the consensus number-two pound-for-pound fighter, Mayweather was viewed as light years ahead of Marquez in terms of size, strength, speed and ability to execute his ring intelligence. Only potential ring rust – and the contracted 144-pound weight limit – were Mayweather’s only perceived threats.

Mayweather removed one roadblock by weighing in at 146 and blithely paying a $600,000 penalty instead of making any attempt to shed the excess weight. His bill would have been much larger had Marquez not initialed a last-minute change in the contact allowing an adjustment upward to 147. He also refused to step on HBO’s unofficial scale, but some believed Mayweather was close to middleweight poundage by the time he answered the first bell.

Mayweather out-fought, out-thought and overpowered Marquez in every conceivable way. He dropped the Mexican in the second round with a left hook and generally toyed with Marquez the rest of the way. His statistical superiority was nothing short of astonishing: Despite throwing 7.5 fewer punches per round (41.1 to 48.6), Mayweather out-landed Marquez 290-69 overall, 185-21 in jabs and 105-48 in power punches. Mayweather landed 59 percent of his punches in all categories while limiting Marquez to 12 percent in overall connects, 7 percent in jabs and 16 percent in power punches. Such domination is almost unheard of in high-profile pay-per-view fights between two confirmed superstars, so that’s why this fight is spotted here. 

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