Entering the fight, there was seemingly not one person willing to back Maidana as a legitimate challenger. Why would they? He was a scrappy power puncher with 31 knockouts in 35 career wins, but before getting a smooth win over Adrien Broner, was a relative unknown all things considered and majorly struggled with the likes of Devon Alexander.
The writing was on the wall. Mayweather's evasive, counter-happy style—perfectly suited to down a fighter like Maidana—would make it an ugly affair en route to the decision.
Maidana wasn't willing to follow that script. His awkward style pegged Mayweather one too many times in the opening four rounds, with low blows and extra shots during clinches for good measure. Afterwards, his thoughts on the proceedings were quite clear, per Fightnews.com:
Maidana: "I definitely think I won this fight. He didn't fight like a man."— fightnews.com (@fightnews) May 4, 2014
He's entitled to that opinion, but spamming his way to 858 punches with a connection rate of 26 percent without a knockout didn't get the job done.
Which is fine, as Maidana's the closest we've seen to a Mayweather loss. He also hit Money more than any other opponent who has stepped into the ring with him. If that's not a career booster, there's no such thing.
Going on 31 years old in July, it's readily apparent Maidana is in the cusp of his prime. His awkward style, complete with flailing arms and robotic footwork, once made him a liability. Recently, it's turned him into one of the best fighters the sport has to offer.
Saturday's end result seems poised to lead to a rematch with Mayweather. The ceiling doesn't get much higher for a guy like Maidana, and that's not at all a bad thing. Per Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, a rematch makes too much sense for both parties, although Mayweather may have other plans:
A rematch with Maidana though could be the simplest route. The Twitter-sphere was abuzz with pay per view buyers outraged by the decision and Maidana’s fan friendly style will get Showtime executives on board for a rematch quickly. Maidana took short money for the fight (a guaranteed $1.5 million to Floyd’s $32 million) and a decent pay bump will get him back, too. The guess here is that Mayweather waits to see the outcome of Cotto-Martinez before making any decisions on his next foe.
As CBS Sports' Gary Parrish captures, Mayweather is on board with a rematch:
"If the fans want to see it again we can do it again." -- Floyd Mayweather (So the rematch comes later this year.)— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) May 4, 2014
That's ultimately what it comes down to—Maidana's future potential legacy and financial earnings resides in Mayweather's hands.
As promising as his career now looks, there's nothing better for Maidana than a rematch. His payday was miniscule in comparison to Money's Saturday night, but it's still much more than he can get in other fights. Also, the allure of being the one to put a mark in Mayweather's loss column is of the career-defining variety.
Unlike Canelo Alvarez, who was recently whipped thoroughly by Mayweather and is now struggling to carry his own pay-per-views (this is what happens when promotions try to manufacture a superstar and feed him to top-tier competition), one has to think Maidana can ride the coattails of public opinion, most of which claims he should have won, and carry his own programs with ease.
That's a huge win all things considered. Maidana's set to rake in cash as a top draw now that he's a household name who almost took down Mayweather. He also happens to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the globe currently.
A rematch must be priority No. 1, but it's safe to say Maidana's career is on an upswing as boxing's hottest commodity at the moment.