Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather Jr., with his 45-0 career record, will step into the ring as a professional boxer for the 46th time. For fight fans, Mayweather's upcoming bout with Marcos Maidana is an event marked clearly on the calendar.
After all, Mayweather's tactical and defensive brilliance are without compare—at least not without first turning back the clock a decade or three.
"I can feel when a guy’s gonna punch," Mayweather told the press in a conference call last week. "I can feel it. I don’t even have to see it—I can feel it. You know, this is just with experience and being around the sport so long. I can just feel a guy when he’s going to shoot his shot. A lot of times guys telegraph their shot. Their body language gives away when they’re going to shoot because of how they position themselves."
Of course, you know all this because Mayweather's also created a persona and developed a swagger that has succeeded in making an otherwise cautious counterpuncher the highest-paid athlete in all of sports. Mayweather earns an estimated $85 million per year, according to Forbes.
Think about that for a moment.
A small, defensive-minded fighter with subpar punching power has convinced the world he's an attraction that can't be missed. It's got to be one of the most amazing marketing achievements in the history of modern athletics.
Mayweather is more than a fighter. He's an icon.
Across the ring, doing his best to look menacing yet relaxed, will be Maidana, an Argentine journeyman politely referred to as a "slugger." It's a nice way of saying there isn't a lot of nuance in his game. He's going to come forward, hope beyond hope for a miracle and collect the biggest check of his career when it's all said and done.
However, billing this fight as must-see TV is a tough sell.
It lacks the spectacle of Mayweather's previous showdown with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. That fight had old-school glitz. Alvarez was outmatched, but he at least held his own in delivering pomp, circumstance and fans.
If Saturday is a can't-miss fight, it's because Mayweather is an artist in the true sense of the word. More than that, he's 37 years old and in the third fight of a six-fight deal he signed with Showtime last year.
This could be one of the last times we see him step into the ring.
If that means something to you, this is a fight you should be sure to watch. But if you are looking for suspense, for a contest without the winner all but written in stone before the opening bell, this isn't it. Mayweather is listed as an 11-1 favorite.
Still, it's boxing's biggest star looking to add on to one of the sport's greatest legacies.
What follows is more information about the fighters, the star-packed undercard and some storylines to track leading up to the fight.