Floyd Mayweather has been around the block too many times to suffer his first career loss at the hands of Marcos Maidana.
Entering their welterweight world championship unification bout on Saturday night, Mayweather is a perfect 45-0 over his illustrious career. That perfect mark will get tested by Maidana, an aggressive brute who bested up-and-comer Adrien Broner last December.
The triumph over the 24-year-old Broner, who tailors his style after Mayweather, is a signature victory in Maidana's career. Mayweather, on the other hand, has conquered the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Victor Ortiz over his legendary career.
For Maidana, the Las Vegas spotlights have never been more amplified. For "Money," this weekend's fight is nothing special. With all due to respect to his challenger, Mayweather has defeated many tougher opponents over the years.
Currently boxing's pound-for-pound king, Mayweather can't sit on top of the sport's hierarchy forever. At 37 years old, however, he has not shown any significant signs of slowing down. Instead of worrying about the old geezer keeping up, the story will be the renowned champion using his vast in-ring knowledge to earn his 46th straight victory.
Mayweather has honed his craft as a sound, savvy fighter. With two knockout victories in his last 10 matches, he's not a power puncher like his opponent, who has obtained 31 of his 35 wins via KO. But he doesn't need a knockout to emerge victorious.
He instead relies on his agility to avoid damage to resounding success. According to CompuBox, opponents have landed just 18 percent of their punches. While he no longer sparks any major haymakers, Money is converting more than enough blows. His 42 percent conversion rate on all punches is the best in the business, which also gives him the highest efficiency clip between his offensive and defensive effectiveness.
As his career advances, Mayweather is looking to outsmart his adversaries in the ring. He expressed his desire to be the "smartest" boxer to The Independent's Ian Stafford.
You asked me if I wanted to be remembered as the greatest boxer of all time and I said 'yes.' A few years ago that would have been it. But now? Well, now it's more about the legacy. Yes, I want to be the greatest. But I want to be the smartest even more.
He can take a step toward achieving that goal by manipulating his eager opponent, who needs a stoppage to pull off the monumental upset. Maidana must go for broke in the biggest fight of his career, and Mayweather will play right into that aggression.
He'll use his defensive prowess to frustrate the power punches, turning "El Chino's" knockout attempts into a steady stream of counter strikes. In the latter half of the fight, Mayweather will take his turn as the aggressor against his overworked, outclassed opponent.
Per Showtime Sports' official Twitter page, Floyd Mayweather Sr. evoked a whole bunch of negatives to express a similar line of thinking.
A titan like Mayweather getting derailed by Maidana would make for thrilling theater and one of this generation's best underdog tales. Fun to think about, but harder to actually envision when considering Money's sterling track record.
Mayweather's laundry list of big wins bodes well for another victory on Saturday. There's a reason the unexpected isn't expected.
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