By Ludwig O. Daza
Floyd Mayweather has always been the face of sweet science – which is to hit the opponent and avoid being hit in the process. This skill-set is underpinned by a defensive gem like no other, and no one else uses this defense with ease and grace like Mayweather. In fact, if Mayweather applies a patent for this defensive skill, copy-cats would never worry him as no boxer would have the wherewithal in terms of skill to infringing such right.
The Shoulder Roll is Mayweather’s signature defense, and so far no one has been able to solve and penetrate that defensive stance which is the most likely reason for his unblemished record. But Freddie Roach says he has figured out a way to smash such defense and open the floodgates of punches that will overwhelm Mayweather.
Roach predictions have been way off the mark lately. Given his penchant for predicting the outcome of the fight and given the fact the he had missed big time when Juan Manuel Marquez knocked-out Manny Pacquiao cold in their last outing, I have dismissed those predictions as just a devise to get his fighter psyched-up.
Roach has to solve first the shoulder roll of Mayweather to enable the offensive skill of Pacquiao to get going. And then the hand speed is another matter. Roach has to consider the whole array of Mayweather’s skills if he wants knock-out to happen for his fighter. But Pacquiao himself believes that his footwork will play a vital role in defeating Mayweather.
Methinks the shoulder roll of Mayweather will be a factor in neutralizing the foot speed of Pacquiao, and so I decided to re-print my previous article verbatim, dated Sept. 22, 2011 as follows:
“Floyd’s skill-set is like a navy fleet, with an offense similar to an aircraft carrier provisioned with varied ammunition’s. His vaunted defense, comprising the shoulder roll, adeptness in clinching and cat-like reflex, is like a frigate that takes care of enemy strikes, both ground and air.
His movements are so effortless and so balanced that he is able to fend off attacks from all angles and launch an attack himself in split second. It’s like watching a movie of Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do discipline where a defense is at the same time an offense.
If Mayweather is a basketeer he would be Michael Jordan, an ambidextrous who lays-up basketball using left hand or right hand with equal ease. His balance is what makes him so fluid in his offense and defense. His shoulder roll is a defensive gem. How many fighters can do that? Only James Toney does a shoulder roll other than Mayweather, and he claims that Mayweather copied it from him.
Every fighter copies from his role model but he eventually develops a shot that is uniquely his own. Whenever Mayweather does a shoulder roll he tilts his head backwards, adding a unique safety feature. James Toney, however, does it hunching forward with his elbow flailing a bit.
Shoulder roll is first and foremost a defense, but it can also serve as a way to launch a straight with telling effect, because it hides a punch traveling at a shorter distance as the same is launch from the chest level. Shoulder roll protects the chin and the head from straight, and from left or right hook depending on which shoulder is utilized.
Mayweather seldom uses his jab, but with his dizzying hand speed he doesn’t need a jab to penetrate his opponent’s defense. His footwork can get him instantly within striking distance. Oscar De La Hoya found that out in their fight; he was always a step slower in reacting to Mayweather’s punches.”
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