Stop me if you've heard this story before, Floyd's legs are shot. He's not fighting in the pocket more because he wants to please the fans, but because he has no other choice. He doesn't have the same spring in his step as he used to. That's been Freddie Roach's assertion for quite some time now, and he isn't backing off his beliefs. But when asked if a 2010 version of Manny would've been better suited to take out Mayweather, Roach responded:
"In 2010 the two-year age difference between the fighters was not significant to either, but that's not true today. Floyd at 38 is doing things he didn't do in the past. Floyd is a defensive genius but he has always depended on his legs to perform and you can see now that his legs do not have the same spring or fluidness of his earlier years. He cannot run the ring for three minutes per round as he did in the past and he covers that up by saying he is now fighting a more fan-friendly style by engaging more with his opponents. BALONEY! He's engaging more because he can no longer move like he used to do."
Whether or not you fully agree with Roach, he does make some credible points. Floyd is 38 years old now. He's still in great shape, but clearly not in the same kind of physical condition he was in his early-to-late 20's, but then again, who is? He has slowed down some, but in my estimation he's still plenty quick, and faster than most fighters even now. I do also think that Floyd rationalizing that he's engaging and fighting off the ropes more now to be more fan-friendly is a stretch. He isn't taking any more punches now to please the fans, he'd be plenty happy to never have a glove laid on him.
Yet despite his increasing tendency to stand in front of his opponents more often, Floyd has shown an ability to go from almost one extreme to the next. From standing and trading along the ropes (Cotto fight) to boxing and moving beautifully (Guerrero fight). Even in the second Maidana fight (though to the dismay of many fans) we saw him have the wherewithal to spend the last couple of rounds doing laps around the ring, which indicates to me that he can still move when he wants to. I think he's just more efficient in determining when he's going to move and when he's going to stand and trade in order to maximize what he has left in the tank. He's always saying as of late, "it's not about working harder, it's about working smarter." That seems to make sense to me, and is in alignment with what we've seen from him lately.
But what say you? Are Floyd's legs truly shot? Even though he's great defensively in close quarters, will standing in with Manny put him at great risk? All questions will be answered in just a couple more weeks.