The May 3 clash between Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Marcos "El Chino" Maidana has major implications for both men moving forward. Mayweather is heavily favored to win, but a different result could turn the boxing world on its head.
Mayweather enters the fight with an unblemished record of 45-0 (26 KOs), while Maidana is riding a four-fight winning streak and is 35-3 (31 KOs) overall. Three separate Welterweight titles are on the line, so this bout will have a huge impact on the boxing world regardless of who comes out on top.
There aren't many people who are giving Maidana much of a chance, but Mayweather can't afford to buy into his own hype. He has successfully avoided that in the past, and he must continue to do so against a dangerous opponent like "El Chino."
As Maidana prepares for the biggest fight of his career and Mayweather attempts to preserve is legacy, here is a look at what losing would mean for both competitors.
Mayweather Loss Implications
Having never lost a fight in his professional career, Mayweather puts his legend on the line each and every time he steps into the ring. Some might argue that he hasn't always scheduled the most difficult opponents, but Mayweather has conquered everyone who has been put in front of him. While that fact makes him boxing's biggest draw, it also puts an immense amount of pressure on him to perform and win.
Mayweather will always be remembered as one of the all-time greats regardless of what happens throughout the remainder of his career, but there is no doubt that the undefeated record is a big part of his mystique. If Mayweather loses that, then it is inevitable that his legacy will be damaged to a certain degree.
He will still be able to resume his career and compete in some big fights, but the vibe won't be the same. In fact, the undefeated record may be the only thing that keeps Mayweather going. The money is great, sure, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he could call it quits if he loses to Maidana. Mayweather is 37 years of age, and a loss might be the thing that pushes him out the door for good.
Mayweather is likely fully aware of that, which is why he and his camp have made it clear through the media that they aren't about to take Maidana lightly. Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe has been particularly complimentary of Mayweather's Argentinian foe, according to Ben Thompson of FightHype.com.
A lot of people talk about it and they get in there and they look and Floyd makes them miss the first couple of times and they get frustrated. This guy (Maidana), he continues to bring it and bring it and bring it and bring it and he doesn't stop, so we have to be prepared for what he's gonna bring to the table, and Floyd hasn't faced anybody like that before. And on top of that, his knockout percentage. You know, like I said, it's a known fact, when he hits guys, they fall.
Since Mayweather has never lost, that means he has never been knocked out either. That gives a fighter a huge sense of pride, and it speaks to Mayweather's quickness, defensive acumen and overall toughness as well.
Getting knocked out or even knocked down by Maidana would damage Mayweather in that regard, so look for him to do everything in his power to avoid that fate. Losing by any means would be catastrophic, but getting knocked out is the ultimate embarrassment for a boxer.
As pointed out by Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather is far and away the class of boxing right now:
Perhaps that will still be considered the case if Mayweather loses to Maidana, but for the first time in a few years, there will be a legitimate reason to question it.
Maidana has more to gain by winning this fight, but Mayweather clearly has more to lose.
Maidana Loss Implications
With very low expectations entering this bout, it can be argued that Maidana essentially has nothing to lose. It is obvious that boxers never want to come out on the losing end, but Maidana is in a position where he can come out firing with reckless abandon.
Maidana is a solid fighter, but he doesn't have much mainstream star power. That would change in a big way if he is able to hand Mayweather his first loss. El Chino would enter Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez territory with a victory, and it would totally change his career path.
In the event of a loss, Maidana might fall down the ladder to some degree, but all it would take is a win or two in a row to get back to the same level that he occupies currently. According to Mayweather Promotions on Twitter, Maidana has a lot of confidence entering the contest:
Maidana believes in himself, and he has the support of his trainer, Robert Garcia, as well:
While Maidana and his camp can talk all they want, it ultimately comes down to executing in the ring. Most figure that Maidana's best chance is to knock Mayweather out. Maidana may try to do precisely that if the opportunity presents itself, but he claims that he won't necessarily force the issue.
Per Thompson, Maidana is prepared to beat Mayweather at his own game after surprising people with his performance against Adrien Broner:
You know, Broner and Mayweather fight similar. Most of them have the same style, very similar style and defenses, but I already beat Broner the way I did and I think I can do the same with Mayweather. With Broner, everybody thought I had to knock him out and I beat him like a fish. I am preparing myself to go 12 rounds if it's necessary. I am preparing to hurt him every time I throw punches and if the knockout comes, then great, but I am preparing myself to win up to 12 rounds.
Beating Mayweather via decision would be an eye-opening experience for boxing fans since Mayweather is considered to be untouchable in that type of situation. In fact, it can be argued that it would be even more impressive than a knockout.
When push comes to shove, Maidana has very little to lose in this situation. Because of that, there is no reason for him to play it safe.
In terms of pressure, Mayweather has the weight of the world on his shoulders. The fact that Maidana enters the fight fairly loose could potentially give him an advantage, but things often change when guys step into the ring with Mayweather.
Everyone talks big and has grand plans prior to facing Mayweather, but "Money" has a way of intimidating his opponents and forcing them to do things that they normally wouldn't.
Maidana is a very solid fighter, but nothing about his makeup suggests that he will be significantly different from any of Mayweather's previous opponents in that regard.
As long as Mayweather controls the pace of the fight as he so often does, he should be able to win fairly comfortably. Mayweather rarely goes all out for the knockout, and that will probably be the case against Maidana since he could potentially ruin Mayweather's record with one punch.
With that in mind, look for Mayweather to win via decision and maintain his spot on boxing's throne.
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