The July 2014 issue of THE RING Magazine, which is on newsstands now, includes a comprehensive preview package of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana fight.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there is nothing quite like true originals. Larry Donald and the late Greg Page were pretty good heavyweights, but their paint-by-numbers attempts to duplicate the distinctive style of their idol, Muhammad Ali, often came across as strained and kind of sad.
Like “The Greatest,” whose repertoire included such distinguishing features as the Ali Shuffle and the Rope-a-Dope, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is widely known for what might be described as a signature move. Mayweather’s shoulder roll had been employed by any number of predecessors, including his own father, before today’s finest pound-for-pound fighter came along and raised the bar. It has been tried out by any number of more recent fighters hoping to tear a page from Floyd Jr.’s playbook and use it as a crib sheet for their own in-ring exams. But the overriding opinion of boxing experts is that it’s always talent that makes a great fighter’s pet move work, not the move that makes a fighter great.
As Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) nears the May 3 defense of his RING, WBC and WBA welterweight titles against Marcos Madaina (35-3, 31 KOs) at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, five sharp-eyed observers of “Money’s” career gave their thoughts on his exquisite use of the shoulder roll. The panelists include:
Andre Ward, THE RING and WBA super middleweight champion; Sugar Ray Leonard, former five-division world champion and the first boxer to amass $100 million in ring earnings; Teddy Atlas, noted trainer and television analyst; Bernard Hopkins, IBF light heavyweight champion and, at 49, the oldest holder of a widely recognized world title; and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, former WBA light heavyweight champion and currently a highly regarded trainer.
So, guys, what makes Mayweather’s shoulder roll so effective, and what can Maidana – who twice knocked down a would-be Mayweather clone, Adrien Broner, en route to winning a unanimous decision on Dec. 14 – expect when he faces the master of the move instead of a mere imitator?
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