Sunday, June 25, 2017

Floyd Mayweather vs the Fab Five from the 80's?

I know there is a lot of hype around the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor exhibition right now,but if I'm going to write about Floyd Mayweather,I'd like to write about something interesting and thought about this-If Floyd Mayweather fought in the best era for great welterweights of all time,would he still be undefeated?

I mean,in my eyes,he's not undefeated anyway as being that I have vision and consider myself pretty capable of judging a fight properly,I had him losing to Jose Luis Castillo 116-113 in 2002,( Don't believe me? You watch and score) but in the record book,he is undefeated and that is what matters.

For the purposes of this,Mayweather will take on five Hall of Famers,all of which held the WBA or WBC welterweight titles from 1976-1983 and bring diverse styles that would challenge Mayweather's heart and talent,
So let us toss Mayweather into the TRS Time Machine and see just how he does...

Fight 1-Floyd Mayweather vs Pipino Cuevas.
Cuevas,an all-time TRS favorite (and profiled here in our Forgotten Superstars series) was one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history and defended his WBA title eleven times before being knocked out in two by Thomas Hearns after which his skills declined.
Cuevas would lose in his only other bout vs his Fab Five brethren being stopped by Roberto Duran in four rounds in 1983,but we're taking prime Pipino vs this bout.
Cuevas hurt whoever he hit (he even wobbled Duran past his prime) and if he hit Mayweather,this gets real interesting real fast as few finished foes like the relentless Cuevas.
However,Cuevas liked to wing his punches very wide as he walked opponents down and he wasn't fast on a good day.
This is the most style friendly fight for Mayweather in his gauntlet run..

Prediction:Mayweather Unanimous Decision.
Cuevas will attack for the distance of the fight (15 rounds,remember),so Mayweather has to be in shape and not get trapped along the ropes or things could change against the heavy handed Cuevas.
Mayweather avoids the wide punches and dances away from the attacking Cuevas to win a clear decision,but if Cuevas landed one of those legendary hooks,that might be the seminal moment of this event!

Fight 2-Floyd Mayweather vs Wilfred Benitez
Benitez,who won titles in three divisions in a time when that meant something,brings defensive skills that rival Mayweather's in this bout.
The "radar" that Benitez claimed to possess allowed him to slip shots through head movement and would test Mayweather against a fighter that was just as slick as he was.
Benitez was 1-2 against Fab Five opponents with a unanimous decision win over Roberto Duran and losses to Thomas Hearns (majority decision) and Ray Leonard (15th round knockout with seconds to go-the fight probably shouldn't have been stopped,but Leonard was going to win the decision anyway).
Benitez was a slick fighter,but he wasn't comfortable setting the pace and with only one exception ( a highlight reel knockout of Maurice Hope) didn't knock many out.
This will likely be a fight that Max Kellerman would love,but most would be spending a lot of time at the fridge..

Prediction:Mayweather Unanimous Decision
In a very dull and tactical fight,Mayweather is the fighter that breaks his normal style,throws more shots and outworks Benitez enough to earn a decision that might even be judged a majority or split nod.
This fight will likely be best remembered for the pre-fight buildup and staredown than for anything that happens in fight action,

Fight 3-Floyd Mayweather vs Roberto Duran
Duran,who won four titles (and had he skipped 140 pounds,would have won five) will offer pressure similar to that offered by Pipino Cuevas with more skills.
Duran was 2-4 against Fab Five opponents as the Panamanian stopped Pipino Cuevas in four and defeated Ray Leonard by unanimous decision,while losing to Leonard in eight in the famous "No Mas" bout and a later unanimous decision with both past their prime,losing a unanimous decision to Wilfred Benitez and losing in two rounds to Thomas Hearns in the bout that re-established "the Hitman" as a puncher.
Against Mayweather,Duran would have to set the pace and come towards Mayweather and attempt to walk him down.
Mayweather certainly wouldn't stand and slug with Duran,so this one will come down to which fighter is able to force things into what he wants to do...

Prediction:Mayweather Split Decision
This is the one fight of the five that I can see going either way and I've been back and forth on this one since starting this post.
If this fight was at 135,I'd pick Duran.
Duran is my pick as the best lightweight ever and that Duran overwhelms Mayweather,who was more tactical at 147 than 135 in my opinion.
However,Duran's punch didn't carry as well with the higher weight and even lightweight Duran had trouble with slick boxers with movement.
I lean toward Mayweather by a hairline call on the judges cards,which would most likely be split and controversial....

Fight 4-Floyd Mayweather vs Thomas Hearns
The "Hit Man" was the first fighter to win titles in five divisions and could punch or box.
Hearns owns two of the most spectacular knockouts in boxing history with his KO's of fellow Fab Fivers Cuevas and Duran and could box as well as shown in his majority decision win over Wilfred Benitez.
Those three wins with his 14th round stoppage loss to Ray Leonard combined with a draw in their rematch,which was such a robbery that even Leonard says he considers their series a tie at one apiece (Hearns dropped Leonard twice) gives Hearns a 3-1-1 record against Fab Five opponents.
Hearns only weakness was not having the best chin as he was knocked out in four of his five career losses.
This is a very tough out for Floyd Mayweather in this project.

Prediction:Hearns Unanimous Decision
Styles make fights is one of the oldest adages in boxing and it's true.
Considering that,I just don't see any way that Floyd Mayweather wins this fight.
The one weakness of Thomas Hearns (his chin) won't come into play in this bout as Mayweather is just an average puncher at best at welterweight.
Considering the reach advantage of the Hit Man (78 inches to 72),Mayweather will be held at bay by the Hearns jab and unable to win using his usual boxing manner from the outside,he'll have to make a decision-attack and risk a run into the famous Hearns right hand or be jabbed into defeat on the outside,
Looking at Mayweather's safety first career,it's clear which choice he'll make and Hearns will win a comfortable unanimous decision.

Fight 5-Floyd Mayweather vs Ray Leonard
This is the marquee bout and some of the luster is gone after the Mayweather loss to Hearns,but Mayweather actually matches up better against Leonard than he does Hearns.
Similar in size,speed and skills,although Mayweather is a little more of a mover (only two knockouts above 135 pounds) with Leonard being a harder puncher,this fight matches up evenly,
Leonard has a 4-1-1 record vs the Fab Five with two wins over Duran and stoppage wins over Hearns and Benitez to go with the Duran loss and the mentioned Hearns draw that was really a loss.
This would be a clear good vs bad in the buildup with the popular Leonard wearing the white hat against the brash and controversial Mayweather..

Prediction:Leonard KO 10
Floyd Mayweather will test Ray Leonard and I think he'll fight more than he did against Thomas Hearns.
In fact,I'll go as far to say in this fight,Mayweather will fight more like the lightweight Mayweather,which was a far more entertaining fighter to watch,
I think they will have plenty of toe to toe battles with a much better action fight than most expect.
Mayweather will have a slight points lead on the judges cards entering round ten,but body work by Leonard has slowed Floyd,which leaves him vulnerable.
The famous rolling shoulder rolls to block a Leonard right,but Leonard surprises with an explosive left hook that ends the fight.

Floyd Mayweather finishes with a 3-2 record,which indicates he would be very competitive against these fighters,but certainly wasn't head and shoulders above them.

Hope you liked this and let me know if you'd like to see similar things in the future...

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