Mayweather vs. Maidana: Head-to-Toe Breakdown of Epic Rematch
Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather made some big news at the BET Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Boxing’s undefeated kingpin used the ceremony—breaking from tradition a bit by not announcing via his Twitter feed—to announce, per Martin Domin of the Daily Mail, that he would be meeting Marcos “Chino” Maidana in a rematch on Sept. 13.
You can watch a video of the announcement right here.
The two welterweights met in a spirited encounter earlier this year, and for the first time in a very long time, Mayweather found himself in a tough, grueling fight with a fair bit of drama when the official scorecards were read, awarding him a deserved majority-decision victory.
The decision to face Maidana a second time doesn’t come as a major surprise, given the competitive nature of their first contest and the recent turmoil—in which Mayweather is a major part—that has shaken the boxing world.
September may seem like a ways off, but it’s never too early to break down the fight and the fighters.
This is your complete head-to-toe breakdown of Mayweather vs. Maidana 2.
Main Event: Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana; 12 rounds for Mayweather's WBC and WBA Welterweight Championships
Where: MGM Grand; Las Vegas
When: Sept. 13, 2014
TV: Showtime pay-per-view
All stats and information per BoxRec.com.
|Floyd Mayweather||Marcos Maidana|
|Record||46-0, 26 KO||35-4, 31 KO|
|Weight||146 (last fight)||146.5 (last fight)|
|Hometown||Grand Rapids, Michigan||Margarita, Santa Fe, Argentina|
|Last Fight||MD 12 Marcos Maidana (5/3/14)||L MD 12 Floyd Mayweather (5/3/14)|
*Maidana will be 31 years old on fight night.
What You Need to Know
Mayweather has been a central player in all the dramatics that have rocked the boxing world in recent weeks.
Earlier in June, Richard Schaefer, amid a firestorm of rumors and insinuations, resigned his position as CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, a position he had held since the company’s inception and used to develop a lucrative relationship with Mayweather.
The dominoes continued to fall just hours later, when Mayweather announced he would end his working relationship with the company, something he later qualified to mean for just his upcoming fight and not necessarily permanently.
So how did we arrive here? It’s pretty simple really.
Mayweather is the consummate businessman. Maidana, who as far as we know is both a Golden Boy-promoted and Al Haymon-managed fighter, is the best-available option for the pound-for-pound king’s next fight.
The first fight was competitive, exceeded expectations and should have little trouble doing even better business at the box office the second time around.
Maidana earned his first shot at Mayweather by knocking off his protege Adrien Broner to win a share of the welterweight crown last December.
The Argentine tough man parlayed that win into a fight on the biggest stage in boxing, and he nearly cashed it in. At the very least, he came closer than any recent Mayweather foe at shocking the world and stealing Money’s elusive zero.
And that alone makes him worthy of a second bite at the apple.
Maidana’s rugged, rough style gave Mayweather difficulties in the early rounds of the first fight. He didn’t show the pound-for-pound king any respect as he bullied him into the ropes and let his hands fly.
Many of the shots didn’t connect, but they created the perception of real danger and gave boxing fans a visual they haven’t become accustomed to seeing—Mayweather struggling to figure out a foe and deal with his physicality.
Maidana couldn’t close the show—Mayweather solved him in the middle rounds and took control down the stretch—but he far surpassed expectations, immediately jumping himself to the front of the line once again in the Mayweather sweepstakes.
Mayweather is the gold standard when it comes to boxing ability at the top level of the sport. You’re going to have quite the time finding any fighters who are even comparable to, much less exceed, the pound-for-pound king when it comes to pure boxing skill and innate talent.
Even as he’s gotten up there in years—at least in boxing terms—Mayweather has maintained tremendous hand and foot speed. His reflexes, which some felt might have slipped a bit during the first Maidana fight, are still razor sharp, and his boxing IQ—the ability to understand positioning and anticipate his foe’s actions—is unmatched.
Mayweather has been a tad more willing to engage in his most recent fights—he says it’s to give the fans what they want, but detractors say it’s because he’s slowing down—but he’s a pure counterpuncher. He waits out his foe, finds an opening and exploits it better than anyone in the game.
That’s how he was able to eventually solve Maidana and survive what was probably the toughest fight of his career.
The Argentine slugger knows only one way to fight—come forward and attack, attack, attack.
Maidana is a straight-forward brawler. He comes at you, lets his hands go in all different directions and from all sorts of angles and sees what sticks. That’s how he found some success against Mayweather in May.
For a fighter who prides himself on his preparation and ability to know what an opponent will do before he does it, Mayweather struggled with Maidana’s awkward, winging attack in the early rounds. It’s very hard to prepare for a guy who will throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at you in a crude, sometimes unrefined manner.
Maidana isn’t much of a technical boxer, but his awkward, highly aggressive style makes him dangerous, even after Mayweather has had 12 rounds of experience dealing with it.
Not much has changed on this score since the first fight.
Mayweather is clearly the superior technical fighter. He showed that down the stretch of the first match when he took over in the second half and put some distance between him and Maidana after many competitive early rounds.
Mayweather’s power is often cited as his one—and possibly only—weakness. He’s never been a big knockout puncher, struggled through hand issues early in his career and hasn’t stopped a foe since Victor Ortiz back in 2011.
But punching power isn’t just a function of how many guys you can drop and stop. Mayweather has a sneaky brand of power, much of it coming from the quickness and precision with which he lands his counters.
His style has always been built on bringing guys in and popping them before they can pop him, and when you fight that way, you need something in your fists to keep an opponent honest.
Maidana is a bruiser, and he has very heavy hands.
He maximizes his power by being tremendously awkward and bullying his foe before letting his hands go. Against Mayweather, Maidana didn’t seem to land many shots that did significant damage, but that was more a function of his opponent’s defense than his punching power.
Maidana can crack with the best of them. You can bet that a lot won’t change in his approach this second time around—he will need to add a couple of new wrinkles to improve his accuracy—and he has the power to make any landed punch the last one.
Power is both a game-changer and, at times, overvalued asset in boxing. It’s great to have, but if you can’t land punches, it becomes meaningless.
Maidana definitely carries more one-punch dynamite in his fists, but like the first fight showed, it doesn’t help if you can’t land cleanly. By the end of the night, it was Mayweather who was landing the harder, cleaner punches, and he seemed to be the one scoring the hurtful blows.
The edge still goes to Maidana, at least in terms of stopping power, but he’s going to need to be more inventive in the ways he tries to find the target this time around.
Mayweather’s place in the all-time ranks is up for debate, but you can’t argue that his defensive prowess doesn’t rank among the best of any fighter to ever step through the ropes.
That said, Maidana, according to CompuBox tracking via MLive.com, was able to hit Mayweather more than any other fighter in the 38 of 46 professional bouts that the organization has tracked during the pound-for-pound king’s career.
Maidana connected on 221 of 858 overall punches, good for 26 percent. So this story goes both ways. You can credit Maidana for touching Mayweather up more than we’ve ever seen, or you can give it up to Mayweather for making his foe miss nearly three-quarters of his punches.
Given that he’s now had 36 minutes to figure him out, expect Mayweather to be far more elusive in the rematch.
The Argentine is a far easier target to hit.
It just goes to prove that there are both pros and cons to being an all-action fighter who attacks with reckless and relentless abandon.
Mayweather was the far more economical puncher in May. Despite throwing fewer than half as many punches as Maidana, Mayweather connected on nine more (230 of 426), good for a 53 percent connect rate.
Maidana isn’t going to become a defensive wizard in just five months since the first fight. He’s going to continue coming forward, and that’s going to leave him open to get hit.
As the first bout moved along, Mayweather became more comfortable with Maidana’s style, and he became far more elusive. It says something when your opponent more than doubles your output and you land more than him.
Many of the rounds, which appeared close to fans at home, were little more than Maidana winging big punches, missing by a mile and getting popped in return by a Mayweather counter.
Boxing’s primary scoring criterion is clean punching, and Maidana wasn’t able to do enough of that against a defensive wizard. Don’t expect that to change a whole lot in this redux.
Mayweather seemed to be caught a little off guard by Maidana’s aggression and pure physicality in the early rounds of their May tilt. The Argentine was a bull, rushing at the matador, forcing him into the ropes and giving him the business on the inside.
Maidana was able to land punches everywhere—many of the blows landing in illegal areas—and he even inflicted the first cut of Mayweather’s career with a headbutt in Round 4.
Mayweather is much more comfortable fighting the way he did in the second half of the fight. He sticks to the outside, using his foot and head movement to create angles and forcing his opponent to miss and leave opportunities to counter.
It seemed as though he had Maidana figured out by the midway point of the fight, and the second half wasn’t nearly as close as some would have you believe. Maidana just wasn’t as successful at bullying, and Mayweather’s laser accuracy became the dominant factor.
There’s an old saying that goes: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Mayweather won’t be fooled again. He has Maidana figured out this time around, and that will quickly become apparent.
Maidana just doesn’t know any other way to fight but come forward. It’s ingrained in his DNA as a fighter, and he’s not going to become something different overnight.
The Argentine will continue to come forward, seeking openings for attack and winging his big bombs in the hopes of hitting the lottery with one of them. It’s just what he does, and he’s used that strategy to twice advance to the biggest stage in the sport.
All you need to do is watch the second half of the fight to understand why Mayweather has a huge advantage in this category.
They say that the cream has a way of rising to the top, and by the end of the fight, it was clear that Mayweather’s boxing IQ had allowed him to figure out and exploit Maidana’s style.
What’s unclear is how Maidana changes enough to ensure that won’t happen again.
Mayweather can make adjustments.
Barring something truly stunning, there's really not a whole lot of doubt about this fight.
Sure, more people will be paying attention, roped in by the competitive—note that competitive and close are not the same thing—nature of the first fight.
Maidana, it would seem, really fired all his bullets in the first four rounds or so against Mayweather in May. He took his best shot, created a fair bit of drama and far exceeded the expectations set for him by most in the boxing community.
Mayweather generally takes a round or two of feeling out before he zeroes in on opponents and begins the process of using their strengths against them and picking them apart. It took him an extra round or so to successfully exploit Maidana, but he still found a way.
There was a fair amount of outrage over the verdict—Mayweather clearly deserved the decision—but much of that had to do with fans scoring the bout based on expectation and surprise rather than the actual fighting taking place in the ring.
Mayweather made the necessary adjustments after a few early struggles, and he picked Maidana apart over the second half of the fight.
Expect the rematch to be more of the same, just without the early struggles.
Mayweather takes this one in the fashion most expected him to take the first one—by wide unanimous decision.
Prediction: Mayweather UD 12 Maidana (118-110)
Kevin McRae is a featured boxing columnist for Bleacher Report and an auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). You can follow him on Twitter @McRaeBoxing.