Floyd Mayweather seeks his 46th straight victory without suffering a single defeat as he prepares to face off with Marcos Maidana. While the undefeated five-division world champion will enter the bout as a heavy favorite, he can't look past the powerful Argentine veteran.
Maidana possesses dangerous power, as illustrated by the fact that 31 of his 35 career wins have come by knockout. Yet he's not getting much respect heading into his clash with Mayweather because he can't match the American's all-around ability.
The fight isn't generating as much hype as most of Mayweather's recent bouts in large part because Maidana isn't viewed as a serious threat. The oddsmakers seemingly agree with the public perception— "Money" is checking in as a -1,000 favorite (via Odds Shark).
Mayweather must be careful not to get caught up in all of the talk about him cruising past Maidana, though. Even though it's a fight he should definitely win assuming he performs anywhere near his usual level, all it takes is one momentary lapse to change the storyline completely.
Maidana is coming off back-to-back impressive outings to earn this opportunity. He scored a sixth-round knockout of Josesito Lopez and then put together what was probably the most well-rounded bout of his career in a unanimous-decision triumph over Adrien Broner.
In other words, Maidana can't match Mayweather's track record, but that doesn't mean he can't provide a serious test. And Money must be ready for that.
The good news for Mayweather supporters is the undefeated boxing superstar seems to realize that. Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal passed along his comments about choosing Maidana over Amir Khan as his next opponent based on recent fights:
He's a tough fighter; he brings it. Against Adrien Broner, Maidana went out there and looked tremendous. Look at Maidana's last four fights compared to Khan's last four fights. Maidana's got three knockouts and four wins. He's the better fighter.
Maidana also enters the fight in a position of strength knowing he has very little to lose but plenty to gain. He can come out and try to utilize that power to at least get Mayweather on his heels, which is something a limited number of opponents had the striking ability to make happen.
FightNights.com noted it's that ability to attack early with power that could very well make Maidana a tricky opponent:
I do believe Maidana will succeed where Canelo and Guerrero failed, and that is he will lay it all on the line and go for it.— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) April 20, 2014
Who's your pick to win the fight on May 3?
As mentioned, the Argentine fighter doesn't have the all-around ability to outlast Mayweather. But if he can make an impact with his power early, suddenly what looked like a routine bout becomes a lot more of a challenge for Money.
That's why Mayweather must put his defensive wall up early and focus on counterattacking in the opening rounds in order to wear down his potent foe. If he can contain that initial surge, the fight should turn entirely in his favor by the middle rounds.
It's a fight that Mayweather should win, but there are no guarantees, and that's why he can't afford to overlook an opponent with Maidana's power.