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.
Floyd Mayweather stays undefeated! He's now 46-0 after winning via majority decision! 117-111, 116-112, 114-114 pic.twitter.com/7NzG8ckeE4— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 4, 2014
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":
Mayweather vs. Maidana & Khan vs. Collazo will replay Saturday at 9:30p as part of Showtime's Free Preview Weekend. #Boxing— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) May 4, 2014
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:
#ShoStats: Total Punches Landed/Thrown thru 12 Mayweather [230/426, 53%] Maidana [221/858, 25%]— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) May 4, 2014
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:
This is the 4th straight Floyd Mayweather fight to go the full 12 rounds. #MayweatherMaidana— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 4, 2014
This was perhaps 1 of Floyd Mayweather's 3 toughest fights, his only fights decided by non-unanimous decision: pic.twitter.com/j2iP0FnOVR— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 4, 2014
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:
fight was very close. Wide scoring & commentary were bad. Maidana doesn't need sympathy votes. As for COMPUBOX, it's a dude pressing buttons— Adam Booth (@boxingbooth) May 4, 2014
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:
I'm OK with Mayweather and Maidana moving on. There are too many rematches in boxing. Give me Khan, Thurman or Porter next. New blood.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
Mayweather: "If [Maidana] feels he won, September--he can get it again."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
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:
Amir Khan saying he sees decline and weakness in Floyd— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) May 4, 2014
Whom should Floyd Mayweather fight next?
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.