On Saturday night, Floyd "Money" Mayweather will take the ring at the MGM Grand against Marcos "El Chino" Maidana.
Mayweather is an overwhelming favorite heading into the fight. According to OddsShark.com, Money has 1-11 odds to continue riding his unblemished record to 46-0.
Being such a huge favorite puts a greater amount of pressure on Mayweather. Sure, El Chino has fought well of late—most notably against Mayweather protege Adrien Broner—but if the fight goes to a decision, it could be conceived as a loss for the champion.
The pound-for-pound king hasn't recorded a knockout since his bout with Victor Ortiz in 2011. His last three contests against Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez have all come down to decisions.
Money must show that he still has a killer instinct in his upcoming fight.
Mayweather: I’m looking for a knockout against Maidana http://t.co/kcvGFHg7CU— Boxing News 24 (@boxingnews24) April 29, 2014
Mayweather has every advantage against Maidana. He's quicker, more accurate, has a higher intelligence in the ring and is a better counterpuncher.
Maidana relies on heavy jabs and an overhand right to get the job done. However, Mayweather's shoulder roll is a perfect asset to combat those maneuvers.
El Chino is a tough-as-nails fighter with a steel chin, but Mayweather shouldn't have a problem outmaneuvering his opponent and landing clean shots early and often.
Money must show aggression and can't rely on simply dancing around Maidana and settling for point-scoring jabs.
Remember the ongoing mantra for Manny Pacquiao before his rematch against Timothy Bradley? Many analysts and casual observers agreed Pacquiao had lost his killer instinct.
Mayweather not impressed with Pacquiao http://t.co/uiCriHFp0w— ESPN Boxing (@ESPNBoxing) April 29, 2014
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, Mayweather agreed:
I thought Pacquiao fought like an amateur also, and I wasn't pleased with his performance, but he got the victory the best way he knows how, but I wasn't pleased with his performance and I'm seeing something totally different in Pacquiao.
I don't see the same pop in Pacquiao's shots. Once again, I'm not saying this guy is doing anything, but I don't see the same snap in his shots. He's getting tired when he wasn't getting tired before. I'm seeing something totally different whereas me, I'm still sharp, I'm still smart, I'm not getting fatigued. I wasn't getting fatigued from the beginning, and those are the things that I see. I don't know if you guys see it, but that's what I see.
Will Mayweather KO Maidana?
Whether you agree with Mayweather's comments or not, one thing is for certain: Regardless of how he sees his own abilities, if he can't finish off Maidana, he may begin to hear the same kind of criticism.
The impending fight is heavily in Mayweather's favor for many clear, decisive reasons. He needs to step up, take control and finish off El Chino before the conclusion of Round 12.
If he can't, his legacy won't be tarnished. However, he could start to be viewed in a different light.