Floyd Mayweather Jr. will look to add another win to his impressive resume when he faces Marcos Maidana. As long as he takes care of business, he should easily improve to 46-0 for his career.
Maidana comes into the fight with an impressive 35-3 record in his career, including a recent win over Adrien Broner. The 30-year-old boxer has knocked out 31 opponents as a professional and he is always a threat to land one big punch.
That being said, Mayweather has gone up against fighters of this caliber before and came out victorious. The undefeated champion is not only physically gifted, but he has the intelligence in the ring to almost always put him in position to win.
These skills are likely to allow Money to add another win to his personal record, as long as he follows this blueprint to victory.
Don't Fight Toe to Toe
It is sometimes a point of pride that fighters want to stand right next to a competitor in a bout and not back down. However, there is no reason for Mayweather to do anything but bounce around and avoid getting in too close against Maidana.
Jenaro Diaz and Lennard "Action" Jackson of the Church Street Boxing Gym broke down strategies for Maidana to pull off the upset, and the No. 1 thing he has to do is "get physical and fight inside."
Even Maidana himself explained that he intends to land a few big punches in this bout, according to Luis Sandoval of BoxingScene:
Every time I come into a fight with a good opponent, I'm always the underdog, I'm never the favorite. But that doesn't matter because I like to give surprises.
We all know he's a great champion but I'm preparing well and every time I fight a good opponent and I catch him with a good shot I hurt him and I could knock him out. With Mayweather, I expect to catch him with a good shot and I feel I'm going to hurt him too.
The Argentinian fighter has earned 31 stoppages in his 35 wins and has shown the ability to knock down elite competitors. He sent Broner to the mat twice in a victory by unanimous decision.
If Mayweather is not careful, Maidana has the strength to cause some damage with a big hit. Instead, the veteran has to remain defensive and continue getting out of trouble throughout the match.
Even if this leads to fewer punches for Mayweather, it is worth avoiding more trouble.
Wait for Opportunities
This is something that Mayweather has done better than anyone over the past 20 years, but it becomes important once again against Maidana.
Instead of being too aggressive while attempting to get punches in, he needs to let the fight come to him and make sure he lands a high percentage of hits. According to Compubox, Mayweather currently leads all boxers in total connect percentage at 42 percent.
This use of strategy over skill is something that Mayweather knows well:
The veteran was especially impressive against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, landing 53 percent of power punches, per Boxing Scene. In this bout, he did not force anything and allowed the younger fighter to make mistakes, leading to lots of damage.
Although Maidana has more experience against top competition than Alvarez did, he is still known to overextend himself. This is where Mayweather has to attack.
Money has only earned one knockout in his last six bouts and it seems unlikely that he will be able to stop this match early, either. However, the one chance he has is if he can load up on a counterpunch while his opponent is out of position.
Even if this does not lead to a knockout, it will still cause enough damage to help secure a win.
Do Not Overlook This Opponent
One of the big problems that leads to upsets in all sports is when the favorite simply does not take their opponent seriously. This could be an issue considering Mayweather enters this bout with -1000 odds to win, according to Odds Shark as of April 29.
This means that a successful bet of $1,000 would only net you $100. Obviously, everyone thinks that this will be an easy win for the favorite.
Some people are not even fond of the bout being set up at all:
Arum says Mayweather-Maidana is "encouraging the public to spend money on absolute crap."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 13, 2014
With Mayweather already looking ahead at retirement in September 2015, you can imagine him already assuming a win in this match. He has had little problems in his first 45 fights, and he can simply go through the motions in his final few before ending his career undefeated.
On the other hand, Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole notes that an upset is possible:
Maidana isn't in Mayweather's league, nor will he ever be.
That doesn't mean it's impossible for him to win. If Maidana has one forte, it is punching power, and though it has been virtually impossible for anyone to catch Mayweather cleanly with the kind of power shot it will take to put him out for the 10-count, Maidana hits hard enough to do it if he connects.
Iole acknowledges that this would be a longshot but anything can happen in this sport. Just because one of the competitors is arguably the best of his generation, it does not mean he is incapable of losing.
Mayweather likes to talk trash and have fun, but he needs to know that this is a serious fight that could have serious consequences if he loses. In order to avoid embarrassment, he needs to go into the bout knowing that this is as tough as any competition before him.
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