Maidana vs. Mayweather: Rematch Is Next Logical Step for Both Fighters

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2014

May 3, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Marcos Maidana defends against Floyd Mayweather Jr. during their fight at MGM Grand. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Do it for the fans, Floyd.

Talking to Jim Gray in the ring after his win over Marcos Maidana, Floyd Mayweather intimated that if the fans wanted to see a rematch between the two combatants, that's what would happen, per CBS Sports' Gary Parrish:

Of course, we've been down this road somewhat before, when Mayweather opened up a fan poll to determine whether he'd be fighting Maidana or Amir Khan. Khan won the poll, but Money chose Maidana anyway.

Whether Mayweather's comments on Saturday night were lip service or not, there's no question that a rematch between he and El Chino makes a ton of sense.

Few fighters have ever come as close as Maidana did to handing Mayweather his first loss. The Argentine star went on the offensive right from the opening bell and didn't let up over the next 11 rounds. While Maidana clearly tired as the bout went on, he never gave the champion an easy time of it.

None of Mayweather's previous 45 opponents has landed as many punches as Maidana did, per Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix:

El Chino's unorthodox style prevented Money from getting into a comfort zone later in the fight. Normally, Mayweather takes his opponent's best blows in the early rounds and then finds his footing around the fifth or sixth.

That didn't happen on Saturday night, and the main event devolved into something you normally don't associate with Mayweather: a brawl. From start to finish, the two put on a show for the crowd and left everyone clamoring for more.

You could make the case that scheduling a rematch right away is unimaginative and that the trend is hampering the sport's growth.

In this case, though, Mayweather-Maidana II would strike the right balance of fan interest and competitiveness.

Should Mayweather want to go in a different direction for his next fight, Amir Khan is one of likeliest candidates. Khan dominated Luis Collazo in what was viewed as the prerequisite fight before he could take on Mayweather.

There's only one problem: Ramadan.

With Khan fasting for a month in the summer, he'd be in no position for a fight in September, per the Daily Mail's Jeff Powell:

I can’t be ready for that date. Ramadan doesn’t finish until the end of July and I would need three months in training camp after that to prepare for a fight of this magnitude. The earliest I can be back in the ring after my fight here is late October or early November and that will have to be against another opponent.

I’ve told Floyd that and he assures me I’m still on his list. Of course I am still pursuing the fight with him but the next window for that is this time next year.

Keith Thurman could serve as the stand-in for Khan in September. He has a perfect 23-0-0 record and is the top-ranked WBA welterweight contender.

However, Thurman's name lacks a certain amount of cachet. He doesn't have that win against a former champion that would have elevated him into stardom.

The 25-year-old admitted that the chances of Mayweather selecting him seem unlikely.

"Floyd calls the shots," Thurman said, per's David Mayo. "Floyd picked this fight here. The one way I see Floyd fighting me (is via the mandatory)."

The simplest solution seems to be Mayweather fighting Maidana in September and then Khan in May 2015. Then when September 2015 rolls around, Thurman might be in a better position to force Money's hand.

While you can't begrudge those who want to see Money move on to somebody different and take on a new challenge in his next fight, the potential rematch with Maidana does have plenty of built-in value.