Those expecting Floyd Mayweather Jr. to coast in Saturday's marquee welterweight bout versus Marcos Maidana were in for quite a surprise when the prohibitive favorite was put to the test over 12 tough rounds in Las Vegas.
Mayweather did improve his perfect mark to 46-0 in the end by majority decision at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, but it was far from easy.
The fight that allowed "Money" to maintain his WBC and The Ring welterweight titles and gain the WBA title ran rather late and was seen by many on pay-per-view. Even huge fans of the sweet science may have missed it, and it's worth watching again even with the result already known.
Showtime Sports will have the coverage on Saturday, May 10, and Golden Boy Promotions confirmed that would air after a behind-the-scenes look at what unfolded after "The Moment":
As the fight wore on, Mayweather's technical superiority and efficient use of energy allowed him to assert his will and prevail. However, Maidana showed impressive stamina to hang tough through 12 rounds, throwing far more punches than his prolific adversary, per SHO Stats:
Although Maidana landed almost as many punches as Mayweather, it took him more than double Money's attempts to do so.
Still, one has to appreciate and credit the Argentine for remaining aggressive and being rather fearless in his attack-oriented style. It produced a far more compelling fight than the majority of outsiders forecast.
ESPN Stats and Info noted how Mayweather is recently trending in an interesting direction. Three of his recent appearances in the ring have resulted in grueling, 12-round tests:
Mayweather also took time to compare Maidana to two other encounters he's had as of late against Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, per Showtime Sports:
British boxing trainer Adam Booth provided his thoughts on how Maidana fared:
Amir Khan won on Saturday's undercard and was among the potential opponents whom Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated suggested for Mayweather next. But Money also didn't deny a potential rematch against an undeniably strong Maidana:
As reported by Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, Khan seems to welcome the possibility of facing Mayweather and feels Money is at least somewhat vulnerable:
There is undeniable intrigue on the horizon, as Mayweather is nearing the end of his career and appears to be as beatable as he'll ever be. That makes choosing his next opponent a tricky task, because a blemish on his record at this point would be devastating after so many challengers have fallen short.
Boxing enthusiasts who are lobbying for Money to fight Manny Pacquiao won't quiet down after Mayweather's hotly contested bout against "El Chino." After Mayweather criticized Pac-Man amid his back-to-back losses, it now looks as though Pacquiao has as good of a chance to emerge victorious as any active fighter.
What lies ahead for Mayweather is going to create plenty of interest in the industry, but his triumph over Maidana must be cherished while it's fresh. Next Saturday, Showtime Sports offers the chance to relive what was an epic clash, and the programming before the replay should serve as both an appropriate precursor to it and an insightful segue into the future—whatever it may hold.