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Styles make fights: A brief history lesson

By TFF: We hear the term “styles make fights” thrown around a lot but to the casual boxing fan this term has no meaning due to lack of understanding. I’ll use for this an example the more current Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr as well as Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley and the fabulous four: Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

At plain sight we’ve seen Pacquiao defeat common past Mayweather Jr opponents in a more convincing way with the obvious exception of Juan Manuel Marquez. Floyd edged out a split decision win over Oscar De La Hoya and just a year later Pacquiao completely dominated Oscar every round till the TKO. Marquez fought Pacquiao several times until knocking Pacquiao out in their forth fight in 2012. All of the Marquez / Pacquiao fights were close and even in the last fight. Pacquiao was beating Marquez pretty severely till he got knocked out, and to a simple minded observer that would automatically equate to Floyd would beat Pacquiao because Floyd easily beat Marquez.

Well not so fast (no pun intended). It’s in fact the speed of Pacquiao that I believe would give Floyd major problems in their fight, along with Pacquiao’s footwork and punch output, and Floyd’s relatively low punch output wouldn’t help him either, but that’s to be determined whenever they decide to fight.

In our minds we see the fight going one way or the other and we convince ourselves that it can’t turn out any different, but unless there is a KO, the outcome could lie somewhere in the middle the grey area that we never thought about. It could end up being a very competitive fight. That’s something we’ve not taken into account.

Pacquiao fans think he would totally annihilate Mayweather because of speed and aggression. Floyd fans think that he can out-point Pacquiao and even KO him, even though Floyd hasn’t knocked out anyone since he stopped Ricky Hatton (Victor Ortiz doesn’t count for obvious reasons). But they are so convinced that Floyd can all of a sudden develop a strong punch and be able to catch a much faster moving target in Pacquiao. It’s highly doubtful but okay I’ll bite because like I said anything is possible. But now for actual outcomes that show why styles make fights is the ultimate truth in boxing. Both Sugar Shane Mosley and De La Hoya gave each other all they could handle twice and showed in the process they were basically equals. Oscar should have won the rematch but both fights were pretty close either way. Vernon Forrest had beaten Sugar Shane Mosley once as an Amateur but when Vernon Forrest faced Shane Mosley in 2001. Mosley was considered the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet and was the easy betting favorite to win. Forrest had a list of 20 wins against Mediocre and mostly unknown names on his resume. Forrest went on to beat Mosley via a unanimous decision and Mosley was almost knocked out in the second round as he was knocked down twice. They had a rematch 6 months later. Mosley did a little better but he clearly lost again. Forrest then faced Ricardo Mayorga in 2003.

Mayorga being the obvious huge underdog, he knocked out Forrest in the 3rd round. Immediately everyone said Forrest got caught and he was bullied by Mayorga’s strength and didn’t prepare for that type of fight. Mayorga and Forrest later had a rematch and the unexpected happens. Mayorga beats Forrest by unanimous decision.
That’s right he out pointed the boxer. You can scratch your head and try to make sense of this or just accept the fact that Mayorga had something in his arsenal other than just power that equated to a monkey wrench when matched up against Forrest’s style. Then fast forward to 2008; Mosley stops Mayorga in the 12th and final round resulting in an extremely close fight with one second remaining. In 2006, De La Hoya stopped Mayorga in just 6 rounds. In 1980 Sugar Ray Leonard loses to Roberto Duran via unanimous decision. Later that year, just 5 months later Leonard beats Duran in their rematch via TKO 8th round in the infamous no mas fight, he then beats Thomas Hearns in 1981 by TKO in the 14th round.

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