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April 24, 2014

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Take 5: Boxing:

Confidence abounds

Each a multiple former champion, Mayweather and Marquez face off

Image

Steve Marcus

Floyd Mayweather Jr. weighed in at Friday two pounds heavier than the agreed-upon fight weight.

One for the "Money"

Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks with the media as he prepares to come back to boxing for the first time in two years. Mayweather Jr. fights Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday, September 19th at the MGM Grand.

It Is a Family Reunion

After a nine-year estrangement, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have reunited for Junior's September 19 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Mayweather, Marquez press conference

Floyd Mayweather Jr. stares down Juan Manuel Marquez during a press conference at the MGM Grand hotel Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

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Will Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19?

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1. Top-ranked

Floyd Mayweather Jr., a six-time world champion in five weight divisions, does not deny that tonight’s headliner matches two of the best boxers in the sport. It’s just that he insists he occupies the undisputed top spot as the No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound. “How can I not be No. 1 when nobody’s beaten me? Tell me that,” he said. Mayweather has flatly dismissed any concerns about his 21-month layoff from boxing or a rib injury he suffered while training in Las Vegas that caused the fight to be postponed from July 18. “This isn’t going to be difficult,” said Mayweather, 32. “Nothing is difficult. I just had to get back into the groove. I had to keep working hard. I love to box. I love to go into combat.”

2. Pressure’s on

Juan Manuel Marquez, 36, a five-time world champion in three weight divisions, has displayed a well-rounded set of boxing skills in his splendid career as a pro. He can dictate the pace with an aggressive style, throw vicious combinations and counterpunch. Although he is moving up two weight classes to fight Mayweather, Marquez has vowed to go on the attack and press his physically bigger, stronger opponent. “Mayweather is illusive and a counterpuncher,” Marquez said. “I am going to go after him. There is a chance he might try to come after me, but I know I am going to go after him.”

3. Sixth sense

Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez’s trainer, lauded his fighter for an ability to adjust on the fly, even against top competition. “We’ve trained for whatever Floyd can bring,” Beristain said. “I don’t know if you noticed, but Juan has that sixth sense. He improvises and figures out his opponent from one round to the next and adjusts very well.” Roger Mayweather, Floyd’s irascible trainer and uncle, is equally confident. “Roger watches all of the tapes, but Roger doesn’t tell me how I am going to beat (Marquez),” Floyd Mayweather said. “He says to me that I just need to fight and adapt. And if I ask him, ‘How am I going to do that?’ Roger responds, ‘because you are great.’ ”

4. Undercard

In response to pay-per-view competition from an Ultimate Fighting Championship card also taking place tonight, Golden Boy Promotions developed an attractive series of undercard fights leading to Mayweather-Marquez. In the featured undercard bout, unbeaten Chris John puts his featherweight world title belt on the line against Rocky Juarez in a rematch of their Feb. 28 draw. Another intriguing match pits Australia’s Michael Katsidis against 2004 U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo for an interim lightweight championship.

5. Whiz kid

Marquez launched a thousand bad puns with his revelation that he believes drinking his urine during training camp in his native Mexico City helps his body retain vitamins and energy — although the medical community has debunked the practice as an old wives’ tale at best. It helped renowned trainer Freddie Roach, who is not involved in this fight but is training Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 14 bout with Miguel Cotto, firm up his prediction for tonight. “I’m picking Mayweather to win,” Roach said. “I make it a rule to always go with the guy who doesn’t drink (urine).”

If You Go

  • What: Mayweather-Marquez weigh-in, open to the public
  • When: 2:30 p.m. today (doors open at 1 p.m.)
  • Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • On the scales: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez; undercard fighters Chris John, Rocky Juarez, Michael Katsidis, Vicente Escobedo, Orlando Cruz, Cornelius Lock
  • Emcees: Comedian D.L. Hughley, radio personality Piolin

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