When Floyd Mayweather (45-0-0, 26 KO) squares off against Marcos Maidana (35-3-0, 31 KO) Saturday night in Las Vegas, both men will be fighting for much more than just a victory.
While Mayweather is looking to keep his unblemished record intact, Maidana is looking to cement his place in boxing history by pulling off one of the biggest upsets ever.
The resulting fight should be an instant classic.
Here are the best- and worst-case scenarios for each fighter in Saturday’s main event.
Saturday’s Best-Case Scenarios
The pound-for-pound king of boxing comes into this bout with a perfect record and the weight of the sport on his shoulders. As the biggest prize fighter of the last decade, there is a supreme confidence that Mayweather will win on Saturday.
The best-case scenario is that not only will Money win, but he will also do it in decisive fashion.
There have been questions about the caliber of the competition that Mayweather has faced in the last several years, but Maidana is no joke in the ring. With serious knockout power, a decisive win for the undefeated champion would be another chapter in his storybook career.
Mayweather has become the master of unanimous-decision victories, but a knockout from the American star would be a cherry on top.
After proving his dominance against Adrien Broner in his previous fight, Marcos Maidana will have to come out Saturday and attack Mayweather with a heavy dosage of left and right hands.
While coming out fast will be key, maintaining that pace and power through all 12 rounds is just as important. Mayweather gets stronger as the fight drags on, so Maidana must do damage early and be ready for the late-fight counterattacks.
If Maidana catches Mayweather off guard with his power and can break through Money’s previously impenetrable defense, the best-case scenario will be the Argentinean star lasting the entire fight and stealing a close split-decision victory.
Saturday’s Worst-Case Scenarios
A loss. The worst-case scenario for Floyd Mayweather in Saturday’s fight is plain and simple a loss.
The 37-year-old fighter has spent his entire career building his unblemished record, and losing it would be a huge blow to his legacy. While no one could take away his years of dominance, a loss would erase much of the aura that surrounds his larger-than-life persona.
As well as Maidana has fought recently, he isn’t the caliber of fighter Mayweather wants to lose against either. If Mayweather lost to another legend like Manny Pacquiao, the situation would be different, but this is Maidana.
If Mayweather loses on Saturday night, boxing fans everywhere will be stunned.
While the power of Maidana’s striking is unquestionable—fighters earn immense respect for an amazing 31 career knockouts—the legitimacy of his career will be tested against Mayweather.
Few experts expect Maidana to be victorious, but if he stays competitive and lands a few shots, he can earn even more respect on Saturday night. The worst-case scenario would be Mayweather making an example out of him and systematically dismantling him over 12 rounds.
Mayweather has become one of the most dangerous counterpunchers in the world, and with Maidana having a tendency of throwing wild punches, Money will find openings and capitalize on them with his quick hands.
A fight against Mayweather could cement Maidana’s spot as one of the best in the division, but it could also prove by getting knocked out that he doesn’t belong in the same tier as the top talents.
There is no discounting the power and strength Maidana has in his left and right hands, but he has never faced a fighter with as much defensive skill as Mayweather.
With one of the biggest issues for Maidana his accuracy and consistency, the always elusive Mayweather will force the challenger to make serious mistakes throughout the bout. Money has made his living counterpunching, and he will do enough damage over the course of 12 rounds to take the victory.
No judge wants to be the one who hands Mayweather an undeserved loss, so if Maidana wants to earn a victory, it will have to be decisive. With no fighter breaking through Mayweather’s defense yet, Maidana will lose via unanimous decision.
*Stats via BoxRec.com.