Floyd "Money" Mayweather will put his perfect 45-0 record on the line on Saturday night when he takes on Marcos "El Chino" Maidana in a unification bout for the WBC, The Ring and WBA welterweight titles.
Mayweather is a heavy favorite, but there is always a great deal of intrigue surrounding his fights, regardless of the opponent. Maidana is far from a perfect fighter; however, with 31 of his 35 wins coming by way of knockout, he has a puncher's chance.
This clash of styles should make for an intriguing and exciting bout that could potentially whip the Las Vegas crowd into a frenzy. Boxing fans constantly speculate about Mayweather's future, but he has important business to attend to in the form of Maidana first.
Here is everything you need to know about when and where to watch Mayweather vs. Maidana, including keys to victory for both fighters.
When: Saturday, May 3 (Pay-per-view starts at 9 p.m. ET)
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
Watch: Showtime PPV
Keys to Mayweather Victory
Most boxing fans consider Mayweather to be the greatest boxer of his generation, and that is due largely to his unmatched defensive acumen. He has never lost a professional fight, as his opponents are rarely able to land flush shots. Even at the age of 37, Money is still significantly quicker than his competition as well.
All of that will come in handy against Maidana, as the Argentinian brawler relies on his pure punching power. But he can't hit what he can't catch, and Mayweather will do everything he can to make sure Maidana is unable to string together any meaningful combinations.
Perhaps even more important than in-ring strategy, though, is Mayweather remaining mentally invested in the fight. He knows that he is a better and more complete fighter than Maidana, so there is some risk in terms of letting his guard down.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, however, Mayweather does not intend to take Maidana lightly:
Maidana has had a lot of great wins lately. This is a very difficult fight for me. This is a guy I can't overlook. (...) Each and every time Marcos Maidana goes out there he gives it his best. I know I have to go out there and be at my best. I will sit down with my father (and trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr.) and go over a brilliant game plan and hopefully this training camp goes well.
The fact that he is seemingly locked in bodes well for his chances. There is no reason for Mayweather to deviate from what has worked so well in the past. He isn't one to chase knockouts or get suckered into slugfests.
Maidana will likely try to turn this boxing match into a street fight, but Mayweather should be fine as long as he sticks to his guns.
Keys to Maidana Victory
It is no secret that Maidana is a massive underdog in this fight. There isn't anyone who realistically expects him to come out on top, but huge upsets have occurred over the course of boxing history. Maidana beating Mayweather would be one of the biggest in recent memory; however, El Chino has some momentum entering this contest.
He is coming off a huge victory over Adrien Broner, and while Broner is no Mayweather, Maidana surprised a lot of people by winning that fight. Maidana had a game plan and stuck to it, which is something that most of Mayweather's opponents have failed to do.
Everyone has grand plans of frustrating Mayweather, but things change once the bell rings. With that said, Maidana knows that he has the power advantage, and he intends to use it in a creative manner, per Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail:
We're working on speed every day and I'm getting quicker. But it's not all about that. I'm also training harder than ever before so I can keep the pressure on Mayweather. I have that one-punch KO power in both hands but I won't only be going for the head. (...) Most of Floyd's opponents have done that but his defense is so good. I will be putting some of my power into a lot more body shots than he usually gets.
It's possible that nothing can stop Mayweather, but working the body is a sound strategy—something Maidana did well against Broner.
Executing it is easier said than done, and Mayweather will obviously be cognizant of it. Wearing down Mayweather's body will impact his mobility, so it will be interesting to see if Maidana succeeds in that regard.
Maidana has the power necessary to end this fight with a single punch, but the odds of that happening aren't good. He is an excellent fighter, but Mayweather is the best boxer in the world. From a technical standpoint, Mayweather is simply too good to get caught napping.
The seemingly clear result has led to plenty of criticism from those within the sport, but nobody has been more vocal than Manny Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum. According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Arum blasted Mayweather's decision to take on Maidana:
He even went so far as to suggest that fans should go out of their way to boycott the fight:
That isn't likely to happen due to Mayweather's popularity, but it underscores the difficult situation that he finds himself in. He is such a fantastic fighter that it is tough for him to find competition.
Pacquiao will continue to be mentioned as an option, but the two camps have never been able to reach an agreement. Mayweather took on a huge challenge in his last fight against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, and he conquered that with flying colors.
There is no reason to believe that things will be any different against Maidana on Saturday night. Mayweather will be in control of this fight's pace like always, and everything will be in his hands. As long as he doesn't fall victim to Maidana's power or chase a knockout in his own right, he will come out on top via unanimous decision.
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