Argentinean slugger Marcos Maidana ardently believes that he beat the hell out of American Floyd Mayweather Jr. the first time they met in May. Though a 12-to-1 underdog, Maidana took the fight to Mayweather and refused to go out of his shell.
When the rosin settled, Mayweather unified the World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight (147 pounds) championships with a hard-earned 12-round majority decision. Two judges scored the fight for Mayweather, but one judge, American Michael Pernick, saw the fight a draw at 114-114. That one fighter was able to claim a draw against him did not sit well with Mayweather and this paved the way for the return match with Maidana.
Maidana, 35-4 with 31 knockouts, will have another 12 rounds to find Mayweather’s elusive chin when they cross paths again on Sunday (Manila time) at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada. Do not expect anything new from Maidana as he is once again looking to hammer Mayweather from even the most oblique angle. If the post-fight statistics of their first fight will be used as a yardstick, the probability that Maidana will finally nail Mayweather appears high. According to CompuBox, Maidana set the record for the number of punches thrown and landed against Mayweather. You read it right, nobody was able to throw and land more punches at Mayweather than Maidana.
Make no mistake though, Mayweather (46-0, 26 knockouts) remains the odds-on pick to prevail. Boxing pundits believe that Mayweather agreed to a rematch with Maidana because he knows that the Argentinean will basically be the same fighter in the rematch. Mayweather only has to make the necessary defensive adjustments and stay true to his slick counterpunching credo to prevail.
Maidana, however, is turning out to be unlike any other fighter Mayweather has faced. Robert Guerrero and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are bigger than Maidana, but they succumbed to defeat in the hands of Mayweather when they tried to beat the cocky American at his own game. Maidana brings his own whirlwind, devil-may-care style to the ring and refuses to be cowed by Mayweather’s skills. He showed Mayweather no respect in the first fight and is likely to do the same in the return scuffle.
Mayweather, 37, will have to dig deep in his bag of tricks to turn back Maidana this time. Boxing legend Roberto Duran and trainer Freddie Roach have previously opined that the key to beating Mayweather is to attack him from all angles and not give him any breathing room. Oscar De La Hoya came out with guns blazing but ran out of steam and lost on points to Mayweather in May 2007. Alvarez promised to trade bombs with Mayweather but ended up being a spectator to Floyd’s boxing exhibition. In stark contrast, Maidana was able to sustain his offensive from the opening round down to the last.
It is also worth noting that Mayweather is coming in with a lot of excess baggage. A former fiancée, Shantel Jackson, recently filed assault charges against the fighter. Rapper 50 Cent, a former business partner, is going around town telling everyone that Mayweather cannot even read one page of the Harry Potter book. Mayweather has been adept at preventing domestic issues from getting into his nerve, but it may not be that easy this time as he faces a slugger like Maidana whose wild style will test his patience.
Mayweather-Maidana 2 should be an interesting return bout. Mayweather is still the favorite, but Maidana definitely offers more than a pulse. The challenger brings more harm than charm.
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