The month of May kicked off with a bang on Saturday night as the boxing world was treated to a four-fight card presented by Golden Boy Promotions on Showtime pay-per-view. The loaded fight card included three title bouts and one main event hailed as “The Moment,” between undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather and challenger Marcos “El Chino” Maidana.
Undefeated titleholder Floyd Mayweather, who is possibly closing in on the end of an illustrious career, was bringing a perfect record into the ring against an unorthodox brawler who defines the word ‘unpredictable.’ Also on the card was a showdown between potential opponents trying to cash in on the ‘Floyd Sweepstake,’ Amir “King” Kahn and Luis Collazo and a rebound match between the flashy, overly cocky Adrien “The Problem” Broner and Carlos Molina.
To say that the main event was anything less than entertaining and chaotic would be a massive understatement and undermine the quality of the fights Golden Boy was able to offer fans on May 3. What appeared to be an easy handpicked opponent for Floyd Mayweather in Marcos Maidana, ended up being a true test for Mayweather as he was introduced to a schoolyard brawl that truly tested his survival acumen. Floyd quickly learned that while ‘the blueprint,’ or ‘the May-Vinci code’ as he likes to describe it could be not be solved thus far, the man known as “El Chino’ quite simply didn’t give a shit. If ever a fighter came into a Floyd Mayweather fight with a specific game plan to throw caution to the wind and just fight – this was it. Maidana, who started boxing late at the age of 15, leaned on his natural killer instinct and threw technique out of the window. For him, it was kill or be killed. And at any cost possible.
The buildup to the Mayweather – Maidana fight was significant going into Saturday night as fight fans were treated to a bout that was sure to bring intense, nonstop action from start to finish. With each fighter in the division gunning for the pound-for-pound king, Mayweather expected Maidana to come into this fight with a physical strategy that would put him in precarious situations. Using his natural talents as a brawler instead of a boxer, Maidana has fine-tuned his technique by working with world-class trainer Robert Garcia and becoming more of a boxer-puncher. However, for this fight Garcia employed a strategy of relentless pressure, being physical and when possible bending the rules just a bit. After the opening bell everyone at the MGM Grand and viewers tuning in around the world were treated to just that.
Robert Garcia, Marcos Maidana’s trainer and former world champion, said early last week that Marcos just didn’t care about Floyd’s record or his legacy. And that he (Maidana) did not respect Floyd whatsoever. While other fighters who have faced Floyd showed him respect and let him impose his will on them, El Chino decided that he would need to do the complete opposite in order to have any chance at securing a victory and cementing his name in boxing history. .
At the opening bell Maidana did not hesitate as he settled in nicely by landing a barrage of overhand rights and looping left hooks on Mayweather. Maidana quickly cut off the distance and forced Mayweather against the ropes into a defensive position. In addition to a group of body punches on the belt line, Maidana did something that he felt would take Mayweather off of his game – he landed an obvious low-blow in the early rounds and followed the illegal punch with a head butt in round 4, which appeared to cut Floyd over the right eye. Also throughout the fight, Maidana was landing chopping overhand rights to the back of Floyd’s head. Referee Tony Weeks let the fight go and only warned both fighters without ever taking a point. After the low-blow in the early part of the fight Maidana refused to tap gloves following the break by Weeks and threw a looping overhand right to Floyd’s temple. This was a clear sign that El Chino didn’t plan to let Floyd breeze through this fight.
As the fight progressed from round one through four there was hope from the Argentinian faithful in the crowd at the MGM Grand that his may be the night Floyd Mayweather tasted defeat for the first time…and at the hands of their countryman, Marcos Maidana. The man known as “El Chino” threw punches from the opening bell, ranging from thudding body shots to chopping overhand rights that were finding a home past Mayweather’s legendary shoulder roll. It was hard to tell if all the shots were landing cleanly as Floyd used his impeccable defense, feints and head movement to avoid many of the punches from Maidana. The first four rounds were nothing less than chaotic as El Chino continued to swing for the fences. It became apparent that he was trying to end the fight early and his non-stop pressure began to bring on fatigue towards the middle part of the fight.
From rounds seven through twelve things began to change. El Chino faced his biggest problem in the later rounds and everyone could see it coming. The problem? Floyd Mayweather is good. And when I say ‘good’ I truly mean he is closing in on the title ‘the best ever,’ a term that was expressed on the hate of Justin Beiber as he escorted Mayweather to the ring before the fight. While Floyd Mayweather boasts money, cars, woman and houses outside of the ring there is one thing he brings inside the ring that is unmatched. His talent is world-class. Whether he pitches a shutout and wins every round, or takes a beating like he did against Maidana on Saturday night one thing is certain – Floyd Mayweather can adjust. His techniques are perfect. Boxing is in his blood. And most importantly, Floyd “Money” Mayweather is a student of the game. By round seven, Floyd was able to take advantage of Maidana by moving around the ring, avoiding the pressure that El Chino was able to apply in the prior rounds and keeping the fight in the middle of the ring. Add in the fatigue that was beginning to settle in with Maidana and Floyd’s staple right cross landing at will and you could begin to see the fight swing into Mayweather’s favor. Maidana continued to punch and he continued to land, but the shots became less clean and less effective. Floyd utilized his footwork, strong defense and quick hands to slowly pick Maidana apart often times stealing rounds in the last 40 seconds. The momentum had shifted. Maidana continued to fight though and his countrymen inside the MGM tried their best to will their idol to victory. It was just not possible.
As the fight came to an end I couldn’t help but wonder how this fight would be scored. We all know how boxing can be. And we all know that it is best not to leave it in the judge’s hands. But did El Chino do enough? Did he fade too early? Was Floyd’s perceived shutout from rounds 8 through 12 going to be enough? As the scores were read I was very anxious when the first scorecard read 114-114. The next two came in at 117-111 and 116-112 both in favor of the champion Floyd Mayweather who became the first person in history to unify another belt in the Welterweight division alongside his 154lb unification. The 12-1 underdog Marcos Maidana was clearly disappointed and he, along with his trainer Robert Garcia, felt they had won the fight.
The final CompuBox numbers began to come in and I was astounded by two statistics. The first was that Maidana threw 858 punches in this fight compared to Floyd’s 426. Throwing nearly half of the punches, Floyd’s accuracy was on full display as he landed 54% of his punches compared to Maidana’s 26%.
The post-fight interviews with the fighters were actually exciting as Jim Gray owned his interview with Maidana by slapping what appeared to a be a cookie product out of Maidana’s hand. The ‘cookie incident’, Gray’s most prolific incident in the ring to date, appeared to be Maidana’s attempt at a shameless plug for one of his business ventures. I don’t know the cookie looked decent. I have to give credit to Jim for stepping up and regaining his integrity. There was even an incident after the Broner fight where Gray was not taking any shit from The Problem. It is about time he gets his balls back after that embarrassment of an interview he did with Lebron James in 2010. What we learned from the post-fight interview was that Maidana wants a rematch and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer is ready to give it to him. With the admitted rift between Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer and figurehead Oscar De La Hoya brewing it is difficult to determine if the rematch will be granted.
So what is next for Floyd? With only three fights remaining on his lucrative Showtime deal and the thought of retirement on his mind is it unreasonable to think that Floyd Mayweather would give Marcos Maidana a rematch? I can’t fathom the reasons that Floyd would put his record and legacy in jeopardy by taking another fight with a guy who challenged him the most he has been challenged in nearly 12 years. I don’t see it happening. Instead, I can see the argument for some of the younger guys who are waiting in the balance, like Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, getting their shot at Money. These are two guys who respect Floyd Mayweather and would be honored to be in the ring with him. If we learned anything from Saturday night it is this – the guy that can beat Floyd is the guy who doesn’t respect him (See Marcos Maidana). El Chino showed us that. And for that I am grateful. The Mayweather train will keep rolling on and I truly don’t see any situation where it will be derailed. We are witnessing boxing history folks. Just enjoy the ride whether you are a Floyd fan or not.