The question waiting to be answered when Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KOs) and Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) step into the ring May 3 is whether the overlooked Argentine challenger can pull off the unthinkable by becoming the first man to out-duel the top pound-for-pound boxer on the planet.
Money isn't just a dominant champion; at 45-0, he's a boxing legend. Now, standing in the way of his 46th career victory is El Chino, a 30-year-old welterweight champion with tremendous potential, as pointed out by Capital Boxing on Twitter:
I don't think Marcos Maidana is Floyd Mayweather's toughest opponent but I do feel like people are underestimating Maidana.— Capital Boxing (@CapitalBoxing) April 14, 2014
Below, I'll highlight some of the top storylines heading into Saturday's highly anticipated main event.
Will Money Remain Perfect?
Anytime Mayweather is putting his unblemished professional record on the line, the top storyline will be whether he can remain perfect and add on to his already impressive legacy.
While defeating Maidana isn't going to change how experts and fans view Mayweather or his accomplishments in the sport, a loss to the South American certainly would.
After announcing the bout in February, the 37-year-old Mayweather warned fans of Maidana's knockout prowess, per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael:
Marcos Maidana's last performance immediately brought him to my attention. He is an extremely skilled fighter who brings knockout danger to the ring. I think this is a great fight for me and he deserves the opportunity to see if he can do what 45 others have tried to do before him -- beat me.
You'd be hard-pressed to find any boxing experts or analysts who like Maidana to shock the world in this bout. However, this is still boxing, and Mayweather is just one misread or lucky punch away from being brought back down to Earth.
Money defending his undefeated resume is no doubt the top storyline of this fight.
Maidana Faces His Toughest Test
While many project Maidana to become just another notch on Mayweather's belt, El Chino will have the advantage of taking on the underdog role and adopting a nothing-to-lose mentality. Nonetheless, Mayweather promises to be the Argentine's toughest test to date.
The payday alone will make Saturday's fight worthwhile for Maidana, but if he's able to hang tough and showcase his full arsenal, this bout could potentially serve as a career-defining moment for him. And if Maidana can go a step further and capitalize on his knockout prowess and spring the upset, he'll enter an elite category all his own as the first and only boxer to defeat Mayweather.
Coming off an impressive unanimous-decision win against Adrien Broner, faring well against Money will continue to shape Maidana's career and test his talents.
Last, but certainly not least, one of the top storylines this spring will center on the likelihood of a superfight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
When asked why a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight hasn't happened already, Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, pointed the finger at Money's corner, per the New York Daily News' Mitch Abramson.
"Look, we’ve been over this before a million times. The lines are open. If he wants a fight, sit down like a normal human being at a conference table and negotiate a friggin deal."
With Mayweather entering Saturday's fight as a heavy favorite to prevail, much of the conversation leading up to and following the bout will inevitably pertain to the potential of a showdown between two of the sport's best down the road.
It hasn't happened yet, but with Pacquiao coming off back-to-back victories and a boatload of cash to be made, there's no denying the possibility of the dream matchup becoming reality.
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