Veteran light-welterweight campaigner Demarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley(42-22-1, 25KO’s) will be working as a sparring partner with Floyd Mayweather Jr(47-0, 26KO’s) in preparation for Floyd’s May 2nd showdown with Manny Pacquiao(57-5-2, 38KO’s).
Corley has the distinction of being one of the few men to visibly shake Floyd with a clean punch when the pair met back in 2004. Corley has worked with him twice since in sparring for his battles against Zab Judah and Sharmba Mitchell.
As he has an unusual level of familiarity with Floyd given his intermittent dealings with him over the past decade. Corley is especially qualified to identify the pound-for-pound king’s best weapons, as he did for ‘Dontae’s Boxing Nation’ here.
“That lead right hand that he likes to throw, and that check-left-hook. And then he places his shots that’s the thing about him. He throws a lot of punches, but every shot that he throws is very accurate, it is a placed shot to slow you down. It’s not to hurt you, just to slow you down.”
Watching Mayweather probe his opponents in the opening rounds of his fights is like when you begin to pick at a tiny hole a sleeve of a sweater. The hole becomes wider, and the thread begins to come loose in your hands until all you have left is a formless wad of string. Mayweather’s opponents unravel just so when he begins to find the target with his shots, and he is a master at finding that tear in the fabric. The more he lands, the more space he buys himself, and the more certain he becomes of his punches landing.
This time he isn’t facing just any opponent though. The reason Mayweather vs Pacquiao is such a hugely anticipated event is the perception that Pacquiao is on his level and presents a genuine threat to a man ten steps ahead of everyone he’s every faced thus far.
The one constant in Pacquiao’s arsenal through his development from a balls-out brawler to his current, more controlled style is his powerful left hand from the southpaw stance. Whether throwing it behind the jab or leading with it, he has rung quite a few bells with that left hand. Regardless, Corley(a southpaw himself) believes Mayweather will be able to negate this weapon.
“Manny can’t lead with that left hand on Floyd. Everyone knows he does the stutter-step, that’s his mimic; he gon’ stutter-step and come with the left hand. He gotta plant his foot first, in quicksand, and that’s where Floyd’s gonna be waiting for him.”
Pacquiao is often pointed to as having many seemingly obvious tells in the ring such as the one just described. But his former opponents and sparring partners constantly point to his hand speed as a key determining factor in his ability to win fights. Floyd will only know how to deal with that when he makes contact on the night.
Another less believable theory making the rounds is that Mayweather has trouble with southpaws, in general; he struggled with Zab Judah for a while. He was rocked by Corley, Oscar De La Hoya gave him a close fight, Victor Ortiz seemed to bother him before he commenced his hugging fest. I don’t buy it myself. He beat all of these guys, and all of them convincingly in my opinion, say what you will about the De La Hoya split decision.
The thing is, as Corley is about to point out, whichever foot his opponent leads with, even if he has some early success, Mayweather figures him out sooner rather than later.
“I wouldn’t consider him having problems[with southpaws] he just make the adjustments within three or four rounds so you won’t land that again. You won’t hurt him again with that same shot you hurt him with. He’s done it with Shane Mosley after Shane hurt him, stunned him, after that he never got a chance to do it no more.”
Having said all that, you can probably guess who Corley is backing for victory in this, the biggest fight of all times.
“Unanimous decision if he[Floyd] don’t stop him. He gon’ seriously beat the shit out of him.”