Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana fought to an even tie Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, if one of the three judges was to be believed.
However, the other two judges gave the edge to Mayweather by scores of 117-111 and 116-112, moving his record to a perfect 46-0. There is no arguing that the bout was much closer than anticipated, and Maidana certainly controlled the first few rounds, but the idea that he deserved to win is misplaced.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix passed along the crowd’s reaction when Mayweather was awarded the victory, and some in the media feel that the 37-year-old champion is slowing down and completely vulnerable.
Unsurprisingly, ESPN’s Skip Bayless is yelling the loudest:
On the surface, we can look at the quantity of punches that Maidana landed and point out that Mayweather was in trouble. Mannix provided those numbers:
In fact, CompuBox has compiled stats in 38 fights featuring Mayweather, and not a single opponent landed that many punches against the champion. Compelling narrative, right?
Well, it is easy to look at the number of punches that were thrown, but if we dig a bit deeper and look at accuracy, it paints a different picture. Maidana did connect on 221 punches, but he threw an astounding 858 in wild and sometimes uncontrolled fashion. Mayweather, on the other hand, landed 230 punches on 426 attempts.
That’s right, Mayweather attempted 432 less punches throughout the fight than Maidana, but he still landed nine more. It’s hard to make a convincing argument that Maidana deserved to win with those totals.
Mayweather is known as a defensive boxer as it is, and he was able to dodge the vast majority of punches directed his way. He was even cut in the fourth round and prevented that from getting worse or even becoming a major factor in the fight.
He discussed that he wanted to entertain the fans, via Nick Schwartz of the USA Today’s For the Win: “I wanted to give the fans an exciting fight. Normally I box, I move, I blow the other guy out.”
Whether you choose to believe him at his exaggerated word or not is your call, but after the first four rounds when Maidana came out like an angry rhinoceros on a safari gone bad, Mayweather completely controlled the bout.
It was clear “Money” was sizing up his opponent in the early going, even if it meant sacrificing a point or two at the start. He was boxing, while Maidana was simply brawling.
Maidana threw multiple low blows, a number of wild overhead punches—many of which missed—and even a full-out tackle at one point. Mayweather weathered all of those borderline boxing moves and dominated the final rounds.
The saying goes that first impressions last a lifetime, and it was easy to get caught up in the fact that Maidana made the first impression in the fight. However, Mayweather closed like the champion that he is and flashed his supreme endurance, speed, athleticism and defensive prowess along the way.
Going forward, if there is a rematch, Mayweather won’t need a few rounds to figure out how to attack (or, better yet, defend) Maidana.
Throw in the fact that Mayweather will come out with a chip on his shoulder because the majority of the post-fight talk has centered on how close he was to losing, and the second time around will be much different. A motivated Mayweather who has a game plan going into the fight will be difficult for Maidana to handle.
Good luck with that.
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