The May 3 bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KOs) and Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) in Las Vegas is the unquestioned main event of the evening at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, but the trio of undercard fights doesn't feature any true slouches.
Promoters made sure to assemble some quality bouts to precede Mayweather's continued pursuit of perfection, including boxers who have tangled both main event fighters in the past. Most of the storylines involving the secondary acts involve redeeming themselves or having something to prove based on their recent performances.
Here is a closer look at what should be the most talked about sources of buzz regarding the other fights. Those who manage to catch the action should be in for plenty of excitement if these developments thicken the plot and passion surrounding these bouts as expected.
|Mayweather vs. Maidana Undercard Predictions|
|Adrien Broner vs. Carlos Molina||Broner wins via unanimous decision|
|Amir Khan vs. Luis Collazo||Khan wins via split decision|
|J'Leon Love vs. Vladine Biosse||Love wins via TKO|
|Predictions are personal opinion|
Will Adrien Broner or Carlos Molina Bounce Back?
It could have been Broner battling Mayweather, but instead he was knocked down twice and dominated by Maidana this past December, which handed him the first loss of his professional career in surprising fashion.
The unanimous decision cost him his WBA Welterweight Title, so Broner must regroup and figure out a way to get past Molina if he wants to work further toward regaining that belt. Retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya wondered if Broner would come back in even better form, per Golden Boy Promotions:
Molina is no pushover, having lost his first career bout to Amir Khan—who is also on the undercard—after a valiant effort to drop to 17-1-1 as a professional. That bout was stopped after 10 rounds and was thoroughly dominated by Khan. Unfortunately for Molina, he will be facing another fighter in Broner seeking to bounce back from recent disappointment.
This will be the first time Molina has entered the ring since December 2012, as pointed out by RingTV.com's Lem Satterfield, who logged some key testimony from Molina:
I think the only fight that [Broner]'s seen me fighting is probably my fight against Amir Khan, and with Amir Khan, I just fought a completely wrong fight, and I think that Amir Khan's style and his style are completely different. He's going to be surprised when I'm in there and I'm showing my speed and my boxing, because I've got boxing ability, also. I grew up in Los Angeles, and I've lived in Southern California my whole life, so we've got a great amateur system there. We've got great sparring, so he's going to be surprised.
Steve Kim of MaxBoxing.com captured footage of him training in April:
Chances are that Broner—already touted as the superior boxer—should encounter some difficulty in disposing of his foe in this match due to the pressure and Molina fighting with a chip on his shoulder of sorts.
Molina is evidently confident despite his hiatus, but the rust factor makes it tough to endorse him with Broner eager to exact vengeance for his recent fall.
Amir Khan Seeks to Avenge Main Event Snub
The move up to 147 pounds from his usual 140 will be an interesting development to monitor, but Khan has to feel slighted. Having beaten Maidana before, he was overlooked to take on Mayweather and instead was passed up for someone he'd already beaten.
Ronnie Nathanielsz of Yahoo! Sports is often controversial and pulled no punches in assessing Mayweather's judgment in this instance:
But Mayweather's choice was out of Khan's control, and he doesn't seem too concerned ahead of his showdown with Luis Collazo. In fact, Khan feels the fight will be better than the Mayweather-Maidana bout.
"I can tell you, our fight will steal the show,” said Khan, per The National's Omar Al Raisi. “We are two exciting fighters, one with skills and speed and the other a big hitter [...] It is a 50-50 fight and that’s what the fans want to see."
If that comes to fruition, perhaps media and fans alike can pressure Mayweather to take on worthier challengers who could actually pose a threat to him. If the quick, agile Khan is able to outfox his powerful adversary, it could cause a letdown for the main event, which Money is expected to dominate.
Not only would that be disastrous from a pay-per-view standpoint and perhaps discourage fans from tuning in to Mayweather's future fights, but it could also shape the course of his career. Maybe it would lead to the highly anticipated showdown with Manny Pacquiao that seems unrealistic to materialize at the moment.
Khan may very well be the one who has the more monumental, positive moment than Mayweather on May 3.
J'Leon Love's Quest for Redemption Following Suspension
The opening fight may be the least compelling of the three, but the super middleweight Love will seek to prove he's legitimate.
After winning a split decision over Gabriel Rosado in May 2013, it was revealed that he tested positive for a banned diuretic, leading to a six-month suspension and a $10,000 fine. His win over Rosado was also overturned and changed to a no decision.
This fight marks Love's third since returning to the ring. The 26-year-old knocked out Lajuan Simon in the sixth of 10 scheduled rounds in December to improve his record to 16-0, then stopped Vladine Biosse in February after 10 rounds.
There is still something for him to prove in this showcase against Marco Antonio Periban, though. "El Monstro" is explosive, evident by the 13 knockouts he's registered amongst his 20 wins. It will be key for Love to be careful and not try to go for the quick KO, because he could find himself in a world of trouble if he does that.
Pressure is on all these fighters to perform on this big of a stage and establish themselves in sharing company with the greatness of Mayweather. Getting a win could be big for their chances to enhance their resumes and lead to bigger and better things as potential main event attractions.
Among them, Khan has the best upside of anyone to do so, especially given the quality of his opponent. Broner must recover quickly if he does indeed want to be considered among the USA's elite, while Love is still early on enough in his career that he can recover from his misstep—or even a loss to Periban—and still make out fine.
Despite the dismissive nature innate in the undercard fights, with the Mayweather-Maidana tangle possibly being anticlimactic and one-sided, boxing fans may be well rewarded by watching out for the bouts that come before the main event.