No boxer is perfect, though Floyd "Money" Mayweather may technically be as close as it gets given his unblemished record of 45-0.
Every fighter has his own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Mayweather and his opponent on May 3, Marcos "El Chino" Maidana, will look to exploit each other's weaknesses with their own individual strengths. Each fighter is talented in his own right, but there's a reason Mayweather is considered the heavy favorite.
Given his skills and experience, Mayweather should win handily. The operative word there is "should," however. Maidana packs a punch and will look to dismantle Mayweather with a plethora of powerful shots to the body and head.
Yeah, I know. I'm excited too.
You'll want to know each fighter's biggest strengths and weaknesses heading into the fight in order to be ready for what may occur. Luckily, it's all right here for you.
Mayweather is the best all-around fighter in the sport today. He blends fantastic speed and anticipation with his overall athleticism to make it almost impossible to lay a finger on him. If you're lucky enough to make contact, it likely won't be solid.
The best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is aware that he'll need to be elusive against Maidana. This is what he told Josh Slagter of MLive.com: "I try to prepare all around the board for anything that's coming my way. He's [Maidana] a special talent guy … with 31 knockouts. It's obvious he's doing damage with both hands. I'm not trying to be in the way of those shots."
He doesn't just use his speed on defense, however. That agility is used to land lengthy combos to the body of his opponents. They don't do a ton of damage, as he's not as powerful as he once was, but they add up and eventually begin to tax the opposing fighter.
Even if the other fighter brushes off the punches, they still work in Mayweather's favor when it comes time for the decision. He doesn't knock out fighters all that often (just 26 KOs in his career), so he generally relies on consistency during fights to earn his wins.
What makes Maidana a unique fighter in the welterweight division is his propensity to knock out pretty much anyone he faces. Out of his 35 career wins, 31 have come via knockout.
This power is capable of taking down Mayweather in one shot, but it will be interesting to see the styles of the two fighters blend. Mayweather's strategy relies on elusiveness. Maidana's relies on standing tall and delivering strong blows. Which method will succeed?
Maidana: I’m going to attack Mayweather from the get go http://t.co/eYYOoygAAw— Boxing News 24 (@boxingnews24) April 28, 2014
It's hard not to side with Mayweather, especially because you can't hit what you can't touch. He moves too quickly in the ring to make solid contact with him.
But all it takes is one blow. All Maidana needs to do is land one punishing shot to the head of Mayweather to put him down on the mat. Even if Mayweather gets up from that shot, it will rattle him and leave him wondering when the next flurry of power will come.
Mayweather's lone weakness is his inability to deliver much power with his jabs. A good portion of his fights go the full 12 rounds, and this could prove costly against a powerful puncher like Maidana.
Mayweather: I’m looking for a knockout against Maidana http://t.co/kcvGFHg7CU— Boxing News 24 (@boxingnews24) April 29, 2014
More rounds equate to more opportunities for Maidana to connect. Mayweather will do his best to keep him off balance, but it'll take a calculated punch to knock him down.
That's not to say Money should change his strategy. He has fought powerful fighters before and gotten out relatively unscathed. He shouldn't look to go for the knockout if it means leaving himself open to receive one of Maidana's crushing deliveries.
You can have far worse weaknesses than not having enough power.
From a technical standpoint, Maidana is far inferior to Mayweather. He's really just a brawler—a very good one—who chooses to overwhelm his opponents with sheer power rather than polished technique.
That's not to say he doesn't have a plan going into his fights. Maidana knows how he'll go about working his opponents to open up and reveal their vulnerabilities. That said, it's a very rudimentary preparation that falls short against quicker, smarter opponents—like Mayweather.
Mayweather will find openings in Maidana's defense during the fight. When El Chino winds up, Mayweather—the best counterpuncher in boxing—will force him to miss and then capitalize with a few lightning-quick jabs of his own.
Not being a technical fighter will hurt Maidana's chances in this fight.