After months of speculation, innuendos and a seemingly daily stream of entries into the rumor mill, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather has announced via Twitter that he will be facing Marcos Maidana on May 3, likely, per Dan Rafael, at either the MGM Grand in Las Vegas or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO) easily dispatched of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in September, retaining his Junior Middleweight Championship and, per ESPN, setting all sorts of boxing revenue records. It was quite possibly the most impressive performance of an already Hall of Fame career, and it came against an opponent who was younger, bigger and stronger.
Maidana (35-3, 31 KO) earned his golden ticket by scoring a stunningly lopsided decision over Mayweather protege—some say wannabe—Adrien Broner in December. The Argentine blitzed "The Problem," knocking him down twice en route to an easy unanimous decision win and the WBA Welterweight Championship.
While May 3 is still a few months away, it's never too soon to break down the fight and the fighters.
This is your complete head-to-toe breakdown of Mayweather vs. Maidana!
Main Event: Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana; 12 rounds for Mayweather's WBC and Maidana's WBA Welterweight Championships
When: May 3, 2014
TV: Showtime pay-per-view
All stats and information per BoxRec.com.
|Floyd Mayweather||Marcos Maidana|
|Record||45-0, 26 KO||35-3, 31 KO|
|Weight||150.5 (last fight)||146.25 (last fight)|
|Hometown||Grand Rapids, Michigan||Margarita, Santa Fe, Argentina|
|Last Fight||MD 12 Saul Alvarez (9/14/13)||UD 12 Adrien Broner (12/14/13)|
When it comes to Mayweather, we've become conditioned to expect the unexpected.
Mayweather is the master of self-promotion, so in early February, it came as no surprise when he announced on Twitter that he would be allowing the fans to choose his next opponent via an online poll.
To the dismay of many, only two options—Amir Khan and Maidana—were presented. But over 35,000 people voted, and per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Khan was the runaway winner, securing over 4,000 more votes than Maidana.
Despite coming out on top, Khan took to his Twitter page this past weekend, chiding Mayweather and his team for being disrespectful, ducking the fight and even going so far as to jump the gun and wish Maidana luck before the fight was announced.
As it turns out, at least on that last point, he was way ahead of the game.
Maidana, for his part, must be feeling like he just hit the lottery. There isn't a fighter between 140 and 154 pounds who wouldn't love a crack at the pound-for-pound king. The notoriety that comes with participating in that type of event, to make no mention of the paycheck, is enough to make a fighter's career.
The Argentine has toiled, somewhat below the radar, for years now, and he's finally secured his one big chance at moving from the ranks of the good to the elite.
When it comes to pure boxing ability, you're not going to find many—if any—fighters who are better than Mayweather. The pound-for-pound king relies on his tremendous hand and foot speed, keen reflexes and an unmatched boxing IQ, to put himself in position to hit and not get hit in return.
His counters are lightning-fast, and he's usually out of Dodge before an opponent can even think about throwing his next punch. He's not the most active fighter in the sport, relying mostly on one or two punches at a time. But his selectiveness, combined with defensive prowess that's otherworldly, makes him virtually impossible to hit.
There's absolutely nothing pretty or technically sound about Maidana's approach to his craft. He's a straight brawler who is going to charge at you for every minute of every round. You can call him one-dimensional—and he is—but that one dimension has led him to 35 professional victories and multiple world championships.
Over the past few years, Maidana has worked diligently to add further wrinkles to his game. He's refined his craft to the point where his boxing ability is now passable, but he still prefers to engage his opponent, throw everything but the kitchen sink and hope to make his aggression the decisive factor in the outcome.
This one isn't even close.
Mayweather is clearly the superior boxer.
Maidana has largely gotten to this level through grit and determination, and that's no knock. Mayweather is here on pure talent and work ethic.
You could argue that one of Mayweather's weaknesses—perhaps his only weakness—is his lack of punching power. He's struggled with hand injuries since early in his career, which has made it hard for him to go all-in on his punches, and he's only stopped one opponent in the past five years.
But punching power isn't all about a fighter's knockout percentage. Mayweather's punches are so quick— and often delivered from odd angles that make them difficult pick up—that he has a sort of undervalued, sneaky type of power.
The Argentine can crack with the best of them. In fact, this is his single biggest advantage coming into the fight. He possesses a concussive type of power, and he's used it to stop a slew of tough fighters, including Victor Ortiz, Jesus Soto Karass and Josesito Lopez. Against Broner, he felled his foe twice and had him in significant trouble on both occasions.
Obviously none of those guys is remotely near the orbit of Mayweather, but they're all tough and not one of them is a pushover. The biggest problem for Maidana will be whether or not his power will even play a role in the fight.
Maidana is clearly the bigger puncher, but it probably won't matter. You can have all the punching power in the world, but if you can't hit your opponent, it doesn't mean a thing.
When it comes to Mayweather, the question should no longer be where his defensive prowess ranks among active fighters, but where it ranks all time. When you look back at his career, it's truly remarkable that for a fighter who has competed at the top level as long as he has, he's never really been in any serious trouble.
That's because he does just about everything well.
He controls the distance of the fight—darting in to land and out to evade—and creates difficult angles with his head and foot movement, making it a Herculean task to hit him clean. On the rare occasion when his opponent does close the distance, Mayweather is the master at dodging and slipping punches.
There are definite pros and cons to being a relentless, all-action fighter. An obvious pro is that you'll always be in demand. Fans appreciate excitement, and brawlers like Maidana are certainly good at providing that. The Argentine is only concerned with landing his punches, and that often means he has to swallow a ton of incoming to do so.
He can take a punch, but he's struggled mightily against slick boxers—see his 2012 fight with Devon Alexander—of which Mayweather is the undisputed head of the pride. Maidana will come forward all night, and that means he'll be there to be hit.
Mayweather by a mile. Nobody is better at ducking, dodging, slipping and evading.
Maidana is fun to watch, but defense has never been one of his calling cards.
Stop me if you've heard this before, but Mayweather will look to box, stick to the outside, counter and win a comfortable decision. It's true that there's nothing groundbreaking or new contained within that sentence, but the book on Mayweather has been written and it's seldom revised.
He controls the distance, potshots with quick counters and frustrates his opponent by making him expend energy with no return on his investment. Mayweather is the prototypical boxer, and there's absolutely no reason for him to change.
Maidana only knows one way to fight. He comes forward, attacks and throws punches in bunches. Against an opponent as defensively aware and adaptable as Mayweather, that is a recipe to get shredded and lose in epic fashion.
The Argentine cannot afford to simply walk forward in the hopes of landing one decisive shot. Mayweather is too slick and too smart to get caught that way. Maidana needs to try to come in behind his jab. By sticking it out there—even if it's not landing—he can keep Mayweather on the defensive and increase his chances of connecting with something carrying more force.
Maidana's aggression is usually his best weapon, but against a slick counterpuncher like Mayweather, it will be his undoing.
Floyd is simply too slick, fast and defensively aware to get caught. He should be able to shred Maidana from the outside.
After an aggressive media saturation campaign, months of hype and an ambitious 10-city press tour, Mayweather and his team convinced millions of people that his elusive zero was in legitimate peril against Alvarez.
And then he went out and won virtually every second of every round.
Mayweather and his team are going to have a significantly harder sales job this time around, largely because most boxing fans aren't going to view Maidana as a serious threat.
Sadly, they're right.
Maidana is rugged, determined and has achieved more with less than most fighters could ever dream of. He's a tough, dangerous opponent for most anyone.
But Mayweather isn't most anyone. He's the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, and he'll win this fight with ease.
Expect Maidana to charge, attempt to force the fight and land something big.
But all he'll catch is air. As the rounds wear on, he'll start to fade, a combination of expending energy with no return and Mayweather's crisp counters.
By the championship rounds, this one will have been over for a long time.
Mayweather does what he does and wins a clear, lopsided unanimous decision.
Mayweather UD 12 Maidana (119-109)