Floyd "Money" Mayweather earned every penny of his $32 million payday on Saturday night with a majority-decision victory over Marcos Maidana.
The Argentine challenger brought a flurry of energy and punches to the ring and at times had the look of the more dominant fighter, but as the bout wore on his output dropped while Mayweather's jaw-dropping efficiency continued.
It is easy to get lost in the numbers, if not downright fun—especially when two opposing styles get together and create all sorts of controversy as either side makes a case for the decision.
Just look at the final totals, via Showtime Stats:
#ShoStats: Total Punches Landed/Thrown thru 12 Mayweather [230/426, 53%] Maidana [221/858, 25%]— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) May 4, 2014
Maidana tried to bully his way to a decision and clearly understood that those who have come closest to upending Mayweather have done so via sheer volume of output.
The predictable (not a bad thing) approach was obvious from the onset of the fight:
#ShoStats: Total Punches Landed/Thrown thru 1 Mayweather [16/33, 48%] Maidana [26/100, 26%]— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) May 4, 2014
It made for quality entertainment, which does much to explain why many felt in the early goings that Maidana was in control and won the early rounds. It also explains why some feel Maidana was robbed.
But efficiency most certainly matters. In Round 2, Mayweather hit on a 21-of-35 ratio. Through Round 3, he had hit on 67 percent of his power punches thrown. Maidana? Thirty-five percent.
Maidana's getting gassed by the mid-rounds was a major narrative the globe was aware to watch for, and the numbers show it came to fruition in a big way. He came out head hunting, knowing full and well a decision likely wouldn't go in his favor on the cards.
The disparity continued to grow. In Round 4, Mayweather hit on 80 percent of his 15 power punches. Maidana spammed his total to 49, but only landed 15.
Round 5 saw Mayweather deal with a cut from an accidental headbutt the round prior, but totals after the sixth revealed he had doubled up on Maidana:
#ShoStats: Percentange of Total Power Punches Landed/Thrown thru 6 Mayweather 66% Maidana 33%— SHO Stats (@SHOStats) May 4, 2014
The numbers continued to trend in Mayweather's favor, with the cut over his eye somehow staying shut. Maidana threw just 77 punches in the eighth round, landing 29 percent. Through 10 rounds, Mayweather landed 55 percent of his punches to 25 percent for Maidana.
ESPN's Myron Medcalf summarizes the lessons taught via the numbers in an apt manner:
Maidana threw twice as many punches as Mayweather did in the fight but landed fewer punches overall. That's the story.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) May 4, 2014
The round-by-round numbers speak for themselves. At face value, Maidana had his opponent where he wanted him for most of the fight, away from the center of the ring and on the defensive. So when the winner was announced, the crowd reacted in a predictable manner, as Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix muses:
Crowd boos. Naturally. But I think the judges got it right.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2014
It's as if the first time Mayweather has a close fight fans expect him to receive a loss. He's so routinely dominated the competition that anything other than that sort of showing should be a loss.
Mayweather himself put this best after the fight:
But the numbers tell a different story. Yes, Maidana gave Mayweather the first cut of his career. Yes, he landed more punches than any of Money's opponents. But it came at a statistical cost that ultimately cost Maidana the match.
A rematch may very well be in the cards if Mayweather so chooses, but one has to think it would play out in a similar manner. As the numbers show, Money, as per the usual, adapted to his opponent's style on Saturday and took over the fight in dominant fashion.
Maidana isn't one to radically change his approach, so the next fight could very well be a blowout. Fightnights.com concurs:
Three, in a rematch, Mayweather wins more convincingly. He figured him out.— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) May 4, 2014
Fans should want to see a second fight between the two. Promoters certainly do, as Maidana's style creates controversy as he stays on the offensive and appears to have control.
The numbers tell a different story, hence the outcome. Just don't tell that to anyone, because that would be counterproductive to business.
Note: Numbers courtesy of Showtime Stats unless otherwise specified.