LAS VEGAS: Floyd Mayweather, coming off one of the biggest scares of his undefeated boxing career, wants to send a message on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) when he faces Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana.
Mayweather, who won a majority decision over Maidana in May, will battle the South American again for the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title and World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight and junior middleweight crowns.
“I know that I am almost 40 but I am still going strong,” the 37-year-old Mayweather said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila). “I am coming to make a statement.”
This is just the second rematch Mayweather has given since turning pro in 1996. Mayweather won a controversial unanimous decision over Jose Castillo in 2002. The pair fought again eight months later for the WBC lightweight title and Mayweather won by another decision.
Mayweather, 46-0 with 26 knockouts, will need to get off to a better start against Maidana than he did in their first fight in order to keep his perfect record intact.
Maidana 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.”
Maidana, 35-4 with 31 knockouts, came the closest of anyone to becoming the first fighter to beat Mayweather, landing 51 percent of his punches with Mayweather on the ropes.
His aggressive game plan worked for the first six rounds as he landed 221 punches on Mayweather, the most of any opponent. The only other fighter to land 200 punches on Mayweather was Castillo, who landed 203 in their first fight.
“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.”
Maidana said one of the keys for him is to be more patient and sacrifice quantity for quality.
“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.
His longevity in the sport has been attributed to brilliant counterpunching skills and a stingy defense that doesn’t allow opponents to land many clean shots.
And he said Wednesday that is just the way he likes it.
“I try not 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.”
More Mayweather mixed messages
Mayweather said prior to his May fight with Maidana that he could retire at the end of that fight. But once the bout was over and pay-per-view figures were in, he quickly reversed his tune.
Mayweather provided more mixed messages Wednesday, telling reporters he might stop or he might fight past his current contract with Showtime if they come to him with a good offer. He is currently in the middle of a six-fight contract with Showtime.
“I can’t really say. They may come with another contract. I am pretty sure they will,” he said. “It is not hard to stop right now. But I feel good. I am just ready to fight.”
Kenny Bayless will be the referee Saturday, marking the fifth time he has been in the ring as the referee for a Mayweather fight.
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 Wednesday that an agreement has been reached to use eight-ounce gloves on Saturday.