Boxing fans are expecting another fistic charade when American Floyd Mayweather Jr. takes on Argentinean slugger Marcos “El Chino” Maidana on Sunday (Manila time) for the combined World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight (147 pounds) championship.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) has been installed as an 11-to-1 favorite to clinically beat Maidana (35-3, 31 knockouts). No offense to Maidana, the guy is fearless, tough as nails and punches as hard as a mule can kick, but observers agree that he is not in the same plateau as the talented Mayweather. The choice of Maidana as Mayweather’s opponent even drew a torrent of criticisms, with many claiming that the survey launched by Mayweather to let his fans choose his next foe was self-serving and nothing more than a desperate attempt to justify his choice of Maidana. For the last four years, just about everybody in the boxing circle has been calling for Mayweather to man up and face Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao. Instead of facing Pacquiao, Mayweather is peddling to the fight public a poor man’s version.
Maidana is a relentless slugger who fights like a toddler Pacquiao. The 30-year-old WBA titlist is not afraid to take a blow to land a haymaker of his own. Maidana throws punches in bunches, but he can be as slow as a statue and he offers a defense that is as open as a public park. Maidana turned pro in 2004 and first gained attention in 2009, when he poleaxed American Victor Ortiz in six rounds for the interim WBA junior welterweight (140 pounds) title. In December 2010, Maidana lost on points to Briton Amir Khan in a battle for the regular version of the WBA junior welterweight bauble, but not after he nearly knocked out the latter with a furious assault in the 10th round.
All of Maidana’s three losses have been on points, the last one coming in the hands of American Devon Alexander in February 2012. He has since chalked up four straight wins, including a December 2013 upset win over cocky American Adrien Broner for the WBA welterweight championship. Broner offered a pesky style similar to Mayweather’s, but Maidana broke him by throwing punches non-stop. Maidana is likely to employ the same go-for-broke style against Mayweather, only it may be not be that easy this time as he is taking on the real deal and not a mere copycat. Still, a puncher’s chance is better than nothing for underdog Maidana.
For his part, Mayweather is expected to handle Maidana in the same manner he dismantled Ricky Hatton in 2007. Hatton came out with both guns blazing, but Mayweather tamed the guy with patience, a slick defense and clever counterpunching. By the 10th stanza, Hatton fell to the canvas like a rag doll.
Mayweather has been guaranteed $32 million for the fight compared to Maidana’s $1.5 million. Before this fight, Mayweather bagged a whopping purse of $41.5 million in a decision win over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico. If things go according to expectations, Mayweather will again end up laughing all the way to the bank. Boxing fans are growing tired of Mayweather’s antics, though, and it will be interesting to see if he will still command megabuck attention if he continues to cautiously pick his foes and avoid Pacquiao.
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