Floyd "Money" Mayweather hasn't made a living knocking out opponents during his successful boxing career, but there is a way that he could go against his standard and take out Marcos "El Chino" Maidana before their bout on May 3 goes to a decision.
Maidana is the more powerful fighter in this matchup, so it might seem interesting that we're analyzing a potential knockout in favor of Mayweather. While Money usually enjoys toying with his opponents and beating them up in bunches throughout the match, he is certainly capable of delivering a punishing blow.
Multiple things will need to come together for Mayweather to secure an opportunity for a knockout, but don't dismiss the idea. Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and he'll figure out the best strategy to get the job done while he's in the ring.
For now, this is the blueprint he should follow ahead of the match.
Maintain Lightning Speed
Mayweather is famous for his lightning-quick strikes and combinations. While they aren't always the most powerful, Mayweather saves most of his energy to prolong the combination to a point where the opponent really gets tired out. By doing this round after round, Mayweather successfully tires his opponents out to a point where he can continue to control the tempo of the match.
Generally, Mayweather just keeps this speed up all match and racks up the body shots. When it comes time for a decision from the judges, it's usually obvious that he's the winner. He simply lands so many punches that even the fastest of opponents cannot match him.
To knock out Maidana, Mayweather will need to adopt a slightly different strategy. In the 12-round fight, he'll need to work on controlling the tempo and fighting in his similar fashion for at least eight rounds. Then, when he has tired El Chino out, he'll be able to capitalize on his opponent's slower defenses and deliver a crushing blow.
Mayweather is an expert at studying his opponents, so realizing this strategy shouldn't be an issue for him.
This is just the first step in the blueprint of knocking out Maidana.
Don't Rush Things
Mayweather is a smart fighter, so I'm not expecting him to go crazy and fight against his own personal standards. That said, it is important to reiterate that rushing will put a damper on his game plan.
If Mayweather rushes, he will leave himself susceptible to Maidana's powerful blows. A key to knocking out Maidana is obviously not getting knocked out first. Against a much more powerful opponent, Mayweather will need to be careful.
Instead of attempting to parry Maidana's blows with ones of his own, Mayweather should block, defend and counter only when it appears as if Maidana's string of punches is complete. Sure, he'll absorb a strong hit or two, but by looking to go on the offensive, he could leave himself open for a hit that might find him on the ground.
Not pushing the envelope until later on in the match will also lead him into the final step in the blueprint.
Take Advantage of Opportunities
Mayweather must look to go for the kill starting in Round 8.
By that time, his speed and devastating combinations will likely force Maidana to get overly aggressive in hopes of knocking Mayweather out. Maidana won't win in a decision if Mayweather can successfully land his punches.
This aggressiveness on the part of Maidana will leave him wide open for big shots from Mayweather. As a smart fighter, Mayweather will recognize this change in strategy by his opponent and alter his own accordingly.
Mayweather's anticipation is matched by few others in the sport. He can sense when big shots are coming, and he has the quickness to evade them. Look for Mayweather to avoid Maidana and then connect with hits of his own.
A well-placed one to the side of Maidana's head should make it difficult for him to leave the mat in time to continue the fight