Recently I had the opportunity to interview Hall of Fame commentator, Al Bernstein. Al is one of the most well known and respected analysts in the game. The topics discussed in this interview include, the scoring and refereeing of Floyd Mayweather’s bout with Marcos Maidana, as well as a potential rematch between the two. Lastly, Al Bernstein spoke about Manny Pacquiao and if he believes Pacquiao holds a better chance of defeating Mayweather now. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say in part 2 of his interview.
Robert Brown: What did you think of Floyd Mayweather’s performance against Maidana?
Al Bernstein: I thought Floyd Mayweather backed himself up against the ropes at the beginning of this fight, it wasn’t all Maidana. It was intriguing that Mayweather came out so tentative in this fight, it was almost shocking to me — not using the ring, letting himself get back.
Of course if you give Maidana a start like that, he’s methodical, but we have to give Floyd Mayweather huge credit for after he got cut from the clash of heads — first time he’s truly been cut in his career. He was heading into round 4 — where in theory if that fight had been stopped because of the cut, he could have lost on a decision. Also he acknowledged later that he was having a hard time seeing because of that cut for a little while.
He came back and not only showed fortitude but also what we expect from Floyd Mayweather, which is a brilliant tactical fighter. He was able to get the fight in the center of the ring, he started working Maidana’s body — and that was really important and we made note of that in the fight.
Maidana’s the big body puncher, but I said this about round 4 or 5, “Don’t diminish what Mayweather has done to the body of Maidana,” and sure enough, it really paid dividends because Maidana slowed down a lot in the mid to late rounds and that was why Mayweather was able to come back and do well.
The second part of this is the question of fouling and Tony Weeks. If you are a Mayweather guy — and Mayweather himself said it, even though he said he still loves Tony Weeks and just thought he had an off night — then you look at it and say, “Maidana hit him low a bunch of times. He should have had a point taken away. The clash of heads was intentional, he was roughing Floyd up and Tony Weeks should have taken a point away.”
If you are Maidana or a Maidana supporter you say, “Boy, Mayweather held so much. Shouldn’t there have been a point deducted from him for holding? He was constantly holding.” Either way, somebody could be mad at Tony Weeks.
Then you get to the judging. I thought it was more in the Michael Pernick camp of 114-114 or Mayweather winning 115-113 or something along those lines, but one of the judges had it 117-111, which is a 9-3 fight I guess, then there’s 116-112.
If you saw the fight the way Brian Kenny in our broadcast did, you saw Mayweather land the cleaner more meaningful punches and boxing well. If you saw it differently, what you saw was Marcos Maidana getting inside, landing lots of body punches and obviously those overhand rights to the head and even though it was ugly, you had to give him credit for punches he was landing, but that’s wherein lies the problem — when it’s a messy fight like that, it’s hard to tell. This fight is very much one that can be seen through many prisms.
Robert Brown: For the people who thought Maidana won, is it that we’re so used to Mayweather dominating fights that when there are close fights perhaps we see more than what is going on?
Al Bernstein: Yeah maybe, but I think truthfully Maidana was in a position to win 6 rounds in this fight — 5 for sure and then once you get to 6 or 7 — I think there’s a case for Maidana winning this fight by a very narrow margin. I had a round even, so I ended up with a 115-114 for Mayweather.
You can make the case that Maidana may have won if you can find a way to give him 7 rounds — you can certainly give him 5, and he should get 5. I don’t think it’s just the perception that gives you a chance to say Maidana won.
Robert Brown: Apart from the Canelo fight, Mayweather spent a lot more time on the ropes in recent times. Do you think Floyd’s legs are starting to go?
Al Bernstein: Right, he has. Against Canelo — and to some degree against Guerrero — he did get off the ropes a lot more, but up to that point he had been staying on the ropes. In this fight he backed himself there. Maidana was coming forward but the question is, can he? By the end of the fight Mayweather was fighting better off the ropes — part of that was Maidana was a little more fatigued and so he wasn’t able to be as effective.
Normally when Mayweather is against the ropes, you just don’t hit him very much. Maidana did. I think there are some adjustments Maidana can make, for instance, we saw in the latter part of this fight the jab that Garcia has helped worked with him. For some reason early in the fight — and it would have helped him had he been jabbing his way in, instead of just bull rushing in.
He was jabbing in the second part of the fight because they were in the center of the ring. It wasn’t as if it was that effective and it landed all the time, but it did help him, especially in the last several rounds, those were certainly close rounds. It helped him when he was jabbing his way in, so I think there might be some adjustments that he can make, and a big one is that jab, to be committed to it.
He didn’t show it enough this fight, and if he does show it better in the second fight, it may help him get on the inside. You would be hard pressed to pick against Floyd Mayweather in a second fight, simply because he is so good at adjusting, but I don’t think it would ever be an easy fight against Maidana.
Robert Brown: I’ve always seen Mayweather as a rhythm fighter. In my opinion, as Paulie Malignaggi said on the call, you can’t time Maidana as easy as you can other fighters.
Al Bernstein: Yeah he’s got an awkward style, there’s no question about that, and that makes him a little more difficult for Mayweather, and that’s something he’s gonna face moving forward.
Robert Brown: I wanna talk about Manny Pacquiao. He had a very impressive win over Timothy Bradley. Do you think Bradley let the public pressure get to him in this fight, causing him to go for the knockout too much?
Al Bernstein: Well I think conduced himself at some point and Joel Diaz kept alluding to the fact that he may need a knockout to win because they felt there might be backlash due to the fact that many didn’t believe the first decision should have gone to him, and the judges may have felt the need to right a wrong.
Coupled with the injury — which effected his mobility — that made him be more stationary and try to throw big bombs, and obviously it was a mistake.
Robert Brown: Does the performance that Pacquiao had against Bradley and Mayweather’s performance against Maidana change your opinion on who would win a mega bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao at this stage?
Al Bernstein: Not so much, I think because Maidana is a certain kind of a fighter. I used to think Pacquiao had a much better chance to beat Mayweather, but he’s not as much of a volume puncher now and although his performance in the Bradley fight and against Rios, he showed the combination punching and some lateral movement — which I think is important.
He’s gotta overwhelm Mayweather with volumes of punches and not get hurt, and I think Mayweather will hit him with right hands and I think Mayweather is gonna be able to land punches against Pacquiao, that’s the big issue. It hasn’t really changed my mind, I would still favor Mayweather in the fight.