Mayweather vs. Maidana: Floyd Taking the Best of Only Bad Options

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Mayweather vs. Maidana: Floyd Taking the Best of Only Bad Options
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Mayweather is the best in the sport. But shouldn't he prove it more than once a year?

Undefeated superstar Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) announced via Twitter he will face Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) on May 3, in a bout likely to be aired live on Showtime PPV.

According to ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, the fight will likely take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev., though there is a chance it could wind up at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. instead:

No matter where it takes place, Mayweather finally confirmed on Monday he will take on Maidana, the best choice of two terrible opponents the calculated Mayweather has tried to pass off as viable options.

Let’s put it this way: Maidana and Amir Khan are only viable options if viability is determined by how unlikely a contender is to win.

Look, Mayweather is coming off a noteworthy year. He defeated Robert Guerrero in May and Canelo Alvarez in September, two solid wins, the latter of which was more impressive.

For his efforts, he was voted the Boxing Writers Association of America “Fighter of the Year,” something well-deserved. It was the second time he garnered the honor, having previously won the award in 2007.

But Mayweather’s solid 2013 is over, and 2014 will now begin on a sour note. The worst part of it? It’s of his own doing.

Of the two proposed options, the ones Mayweather asked fight fans to pick from at the beginning of February, neither makes the grade as a true contender to the world’s best.

While Maidana makes the most sense of the two, something I’ve already opined about enough for The Sweet Science, the truth is neither Maidana nor Khan really stand much of a chance against Mayweather.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Maidana was crowned king over Broner in his last bout.

Each man has losses to fighters who are not elite, and neither has anything close to a size or weight advantage. This is a gimme fight for the best fighter in the world. This will be some of the easiest money he’s ever made.

Mayweather’s smart. He knows this.

But rather than go out on a limb to pick a stalwart junior middleweight to tangle with, someone like Erislandy Lara, and instead of crossing the Top Rank/Golden Boy cold-war line to fight a real welterweight contender like Timothy Bradley, Mayweather decided to open up 2014 with a low-risk engagement against someone he’ll be an absurdly strong favorite against.

In fact, Mayweather went so far as to rig the game to leave fight fans with a choice that was completely inconsequential.

Do you want to know how inconsequential? So much so, in fact, that he didn’t even bother picking the fighter who won the official Mayweather Promotions poll.

That’s right. Khan won the poll with 57 percent of the online votes cast in his favor, but didn’t get the fight.

It doesn’t matter, though. Some have argued Khan’s fast hands would provide a sterner test, but the difference between Khan and Maidana as contenders is almost as meaningless as the difference between a bad cold and the flu; you don’t really want either of them.

Khan, Maidana. It was all the same, really, and Mayweather knew it. Neither had much of a chance before the bout was announced, and now that Maidana has been given the nod, nothing’s really changed.

Eric Jamison/Associated Press
Here was the other option. Sigh.

Though valiant and a stout puncher, Maidana is just far too easy to hit. He has wide holes in his defense, and he tires as his matches progress.

In the grand scheme of things, Maidana isn’t really anywhere near the top of the list of fighters that he should be to have earned a shot at Mayweather. The top fighters in that category are clearly junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley and No. 1-ranked junior middleweight Erislandy Lara. These are the men from which the top boxer in the sport should be selecting.

But this wasn’t about who deserved what. It was just another case of Mayweather ruling boxing through whims and fancies.

Right now, he fancies facing Maidana, who is happy to oblige.

To Maidana’s credit, of the two candidates Mayweather proposed, it’s he who deserves the fight the most. The Argentinean brawler is coming off the best win of his career, a stunning 12-round beating of the previously undefeated Adrien Broner.

A huge underdog, Maidana knocked Broner to the canvas in Rounds 2 and 8, injured him on multiple occasions and showed more heart than Broner in the final rounds to win a decisive unanimous decision.

Ringside judges scored the bout 115-110, 116-109 and 117-109.

It was a great win, but Broner is no Mayweather.

In reality, all Maidana did was out-slug a poor man’s version of the best fighter in the sport. And for his efforts? He’ll get a big payday and an even bigger beating.  

Because for all his shenanigans, Mayweather is the top fighting talent in the world. It’s a shame he so rarely wants to prove it.

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