LAS VEGAS: Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. was in typically bullish mood ahead of Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) world title rematch with Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana, declaring: “Line them up like bowling pins so I can knock them down.”
But he did concede that their May encounter, which bubbled without ever exploding before going to the judges’ score cards, had been “very interesting”—tacit acknowledgement from the champion and best pound-for-pound fighter that Maidana had offered a severe test.
Mayweather, 37, almost never gives rematches, but he said he couldn’t wait to get another crack at Maidana, who outpunched the American in the first fight but still ended with a majority-decision loss.
“My job is to go out there and just be me and do what I do,” Mayweather said ahead of the Las Vegas showdown.
“You all seen this a thousand times, over and over again. ‘This guy is going to beat Mayweather. He’s the one, he’s young, a hungry lion. He’s a veteran, he’s got power.’
“Line them up like bowling pins so I can continue to knock them down.”
Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) and challenger Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) will square off for the World Boxing Association welterweight title and World Boxing Council welterweight and junior middleweight crowns.
This is just the second rematch Mayweather has given since turning pro in 1996.
“I am not one to give second chances in the ring,” Mayweather said. “He deserves a rematch.
“The first fight was very interesting. Hopefully this fight is a lot more exciting.”
Mayweather will need to get off to a better start against Maidana than he did in May.
Maidana, 31, will be trying to pace himself so that he doesn’t run out of steam in the later rounds.
“I don’t have to make any adjustments. He do,” Mayweather said. “I won. He has to make adjustments.”
Waste no punches
Maidana came the closest of anyone to becoming the first fighter to beat Mayweather.
His aggressive game plan worked for the first six rounds, especially when he got Mayweather on the ropes. He landed a total of 221 punches on Mayweather, the most of any opponent.
The only other fighter to reach 200 punches on the champion was Jose Castillo, with 203 in 2002. Castillo is also the only other boxer Mayweather has given a rematch to.
“I am very well prepared but this time around I already know him,” Maidana said. “Floyd is not used to giving rematches. So I got this great opportunity.”
One of the keys for Maidana is to be more patient and try to land more quality punches.
“I am going to pace myself this time. I am not going to waste punches,” he said.
Vegas oddsmakers have listed Mayweather as an 8-1 favorite ahead of Friday’s weigh-in.
The American’s longevity in the sport has been attributed to brilliant counterpunching skills and a stingy defence that doesn’t allow opponents to land many clean shots.
And he said that is just the way he likes it.
“I try not to take no shots,” Mayweather said. “I don’t want to be known as the guy that can take a good shot. I want to be known as the guy that can dish it out.”
Kenny Bayless will be the referee, marking the fifth time he has been in the ring as the referee for a Mayweather bout.
Mayweather complained bitterly about the choice of gloves that Maidana wanted to use prior to the first fight, saying they didn’t have enough padding.
Maidana’s trainer, Robert Garcia, said there will be no glove controversy this time around.
“We will be wearing eight-ounce gloves,” Garcia said.
The undercard features American Leo Santa Cruz defending his WBC super bantamweight title against Mexico’s Manuel Roman, and Miguel Vazquez, of Mexico, battling Mickey Bey, of the US, for the IBF lightweight world title.