Floyd "Money" Mayweather entered Saturday's fight against Marcos Maidana with the weight of the world on his shoulders as a heavy favorite with an unblemished career record. Despite that, Mayweather once again rose to the occasion and proved to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports tweeted out the news of the majority decision win for Money:
Maidana showed early on that pundits who took this fight lightly would be proven wrong. The aggressive challenger tallied the early lead by being the busier fighter and consistently putting Mayweather on the ropes.
The juxtaposition of Maidana's reckless attack and Mayweather's slick efficiency made those rounds difficult to score. But in the end, it was Money's ability to adjust to his opponent's style that once again earned him the nod in the eyes of the judges.
Once Mayweather was able to move the fight to the center of the ring and off the ropes, his advantages in the speed and defense categories shined through.
The 37-year-old Mayweather improved his record to a perfect 46-0, and he captured the WBA welterweight title in addition to retaining his WBC and The Ring welterweight straps at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Most figured that the 30-year-old Maidana was overmatched coming in to the fight, but he had manufactured some surprising results in the past. The Argentinian brawler defeated Adrien Broner prior to his clash with Mayweather, and he certainly had momentum on his side.
It would have been very easy for Mayweather to dismiss Maidana and look ahead to his next challenge, but that obviously wasn't the case. Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe made it crystal clear prior to Saturday's bout that Mayweather was well aware of how dangerous Maidana could be, according to Lem Satterfield of The Ring:
This guy, right here, he's the real deal. Everybody else is taking this (expletive) lightly, but Floyd's busting his (expletive), day-in and day-out. That's because he knows what this guy is bringing to the table. He's young, he's hungry, and he knows that he's in the fight of his life. (...) In my opinion, Maidana's the biggest puncher that Floyd's faced. Maidana's the biggest puncher that Floyd has faced until this point. He has the highest knockout percentage that's out there. Like I said, he's never ever not in an entertaining fight.
Mayweather wasn't exactly cautious, but he was quite cognizant of Maidana's power as Ellerbe suggested. Mayweather's biggest assets are his quickness and defensive ability, which he used to his advantage in order to neutralize "El Chino."
Maidana was unable to string together many meaningful power combinations, and Mayweather simply picked him apart as he has done to so many opponents in the past.
Every boxer seemingly has grand plans and blueprints to beat Mayweather, but nobody has been able to execute his strategy effectively. Maidana was no exception as he revealed a desire to work over Mayweather's body, 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.
Maidana's strategy certainly sounded good on paper, since body shots could have potentially slowed down Mayweather and hindered his movement. Unfortunately for "El Chino," he was unable to land significant body shots with any type of consistency due to Mayweather's stifling defense.
Although Maidana was unable to pull off a shocking upset, simply being in the ring with Mayweather helps his credibility. He already had some pretty big opponents under his belt before Saturday's fight, and there are unquestionably some more on the horizon for him.
With that said, the main focus now shifts toward Mayweather. Boxing fans hold their breath in anticipation whenever Mayweather goes through the fight selection process. Inevitably, the one fight that remains on the minds of many is Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao.
The Mayweather and Pacquiao camps have never been able to reach an agreement, but Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum was extremely vocal and even belligerent leading up to Mayweather's fight with Maidana.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Arum called for boxing fans to boycott the fight:
He then claimed that he and the rest of the Pacquiao camp were ready to make Mayweather vs. Pacquiao a reality:
As intriguing as that fight remains, especially after Pacquiao's convincing revenge win over Timothy Bradley, fans probably shouldn't get too excited over the possibility. Unfortunately, there aren't many challenges left for Mayweather aside from Pacquiao.
He already vanquished a rising star in the form of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, and he has taken down everyone put in front of him. Bradley, Kell Brook and Amir Khan are all possibilities for Mayweather, but one can only assume that he would beat all of them with relative ease.
Mayweather simply operates at a different level than every other boxer in the world, and that includes Pacquiao. Hopefully Mayweather and his camp can come up with an intriguing and entertaining fight, but after watching Mayweather's virtuoso performance against Maidana, that is difficult to imagine.
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