Undefeated WBC, WBA welterweight and WBC middleweight champ, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather (47-0, 26 KO), made his return to the ring for the second time in 2014 last night. For just the second time in his 17 year long career, Mayweather granted a rematch to an opponent. Marcos ‘El Chino’ Maidana (35-5, 31 KO) surprised many fans earlier in the year when he gave Floyd one of the toughest fights of his career, winning several rounds against the seemingly unbeatable Mayweather, on route to losing a relatively close unanimous decision. Fate and circumstance drew these two to have a second encounter to settle all doubts.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, hosted the anticipated rematch. Would the hard hitting Argentinean be able to follow up with the success he had early in the first match, or would Mayweather do what he does best and make the necessary adjustments to separate the gap between the two? Fans eagerly waited to see the answer.
In front of a sold out arena, both Maidana and Mayweather prepared for their thirteenth round. As the action kicked off in round one, they both took the center of the ring, Mayweather pumping out a quick jab towards ‘El Chino’ and using his footwork to keep the fight away from the ropes. Marcos Maidana did not have the wild start that he did in the first bout, no signs of the jab that had given him success last time out, and he was unable to pin Mayweather on the ropes.
The second round saw more of the same, Mayweather expertly avoiding any potentially dangerous encounter by circling away from the ropes. ‘Money’ also neutralized Maidana on the inside by clinching anytime the Argentinean managed to close the distance. On the outside, Floyd got off some solid combinations and was successfully countering with his trademark check left hook, as Maidana charged in. Two rounds in the bag for Mayweather.
Maidana hadn’t been able to get anything meaningful done and he looked to remedy that by coming out with more intent to the third round. Unfortunately for Maidana, Mayweather had no plans of letting him into the fight. Floyd uncorked some sharp lead right hands, while Marcos Maidana swung wildly. A glimpse of the Maidana jab was seen in the round, as he one snuck one in on Mayweather. As the round came to a close, Maidana landed a solid right cross which pushed Mayweather across the ring – his most effective punch of the night – the round came to a close a second later.
In the fourth round, Marcos did what gave him the success in the first match – he pinned Mayweather up on the ropes and let loose a variety of looping shots. Mayweather on the defensive trying to avoid damage but Maidana tee’d off particularly to the body of the unbeaten champ. While Mayweather did get some short counters on the inside, it was Maidana who landed the power blows. Floyd escaped the ropes and the final minute of the round was fought in the center as it had been in the opening three rounds. To the surprise of no one, Mayweather had his way when given distance and space to move. Nevertheless, Marcos Maidana had made an impact and won his first round of the fight.
Mayweather is known for his ability to make adjustments in fights, and he did that once more. He regained the center of the ring and resumed with the work he was doing prior to round four. Looking more aggressive than usual, ‘Money’ pushed the action and was sharp shooting from the outside. A vast speed difference was observed when the two fought away from the ropes. Once again, anytime Maidana closed the distance, Mayweather clinched and referee Kenny Bayless stopped the action.
Rounds six and seven were Mayweather dominated rounds. Marcos Maidana not able to trap Floyd against the ropes like he had managed to do in the fourth round. One thing that was noted was the excessive holding from Mayweather, which essentially killed off any chance of the fight being fought at close quarters. Kenny Bayless gave no warnings whatsoever, so Floyd continued to hold.
The most controversial round was round eight. Maidana again having no success at all and Mayweather just happily picking his shots on the outside. During a clinch, Floyd put the palm of his glove on the face of Marcos Maidana and a second after he let out a loud scream, claiming ‘El Chino’ had bitten his hand. The Argentinean insisted he did nothing, but Mayweather demanded that a doctor look at his hand. Replays left the matter unclear, no angle showing the alleged bite.
Round nine was a mirror image of the previous Mayweather dominated rounds. By round ten, Marcos Maidana had clearly fallen behind on points, and he was unable to recreate the moment that had given him success early in the fight. To his credit, Maidana kept moving forward, swinging and missing shots, and taking counter shots in the process. In a moment of frustration, Maidana shoved Floyd to the ground by sticking his forearm in his face. This resulted in a point deduction by the referee.
The eleventh round saw Mayweather do what he did for the majority of the fight, as he boxed and moved and avoided the wild advances from a desperate Maidana. In the twelfth round, Mayweather choose a different approach, as he was well ahead and only a knockout would win the fight for Maidana, he decided to move and avoid all exchanges, giving the round away to Maidana. The final bell rung and this event unlike the last, there was no doubt as to who the winner was. When the scorecard were read, Mayweather won by unanimous decision, with the scores being 115-112, 116-111, 116-111.
Now that Mayweather has definitively closed the Marcos Maidana chapter of his career, it is time to look ahead to what could be next. In the post fight interview with Jim Grey a very familiar name came up as an opponent for Mayweather’s upcoming May 2nd bout, as Manny Pacquiao was brought up for the first time in a long time, and Mayweather actually seemed open to the fight. There have been rumors in the lead up to the rematch with Maidana that there had been talks for a potential two fight deal to face Pacquiao both in May and September.
The fight has been talked about for over five years, and while Mayweather seems more open to the fight than in the past, he pointed out in the post fight press conference that it is hard to talk about potential fights with boxers that already have a bout in front of them. Pacquiao is set to face Chris Algieri on November 22nd, and while he is a heavy favorite, the fight is not walk in the park, so Mayweather seems right to be coy about what’s next.
If Mayweather and Pacquiao do meet in the ring, it will be a match that still will break every PPV and box office record. The fight itself has lost some of its luster as to who would win it, as Mayweather has remained undefeated, while Pacquiao has suffered two defeats, one in definitive fashion. If the fight does take place, Mayweather is sure to be the favorite, but for boxing fans that has been waiting so long for this fight, whether it ends up being a lesser fight than it would have been before, it will be great for the sport to see it finally happen.
Whoever ends up being next for Floyd Mayweather Jr, one thing was proven clear, he is still the best fighter in the world, and even at the age of 37 he still has the speed, reflexes, and legs that he had before, and he looks no closer to being beaten.