He’s now 46-0
Truth is, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has options. He is the King of the Ring, the undisputed champion of boxing. When he fights he delivers a show, and he leaves his opponents with just enough of a crack of hope to say “what if.”
Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada was no different. Mayweather defeated a determined and heavy Marcos Maidana of Argentina for the welterweight unification title.
Usually over the years, fights have controversy over who really won. The variance of disagreeing with a judge’s decision just keeps people talking about the result. This time Maidana, a who-is-this-guy 12-1 long-shot underdog puncher, brought this fight to Mayweather. The fight was for the unification of the WBA Welterweight Division.
Mayweather weighed in at 148 pounds while Maidana was much heavier at 165 pounds — that’s 17 pounds more. He used that extra weight to hit Mayweather with some good shots. He was physical; he was on the attack with a powerful attacking style in the ring. From the opening bell he pursued Mayweather, trapping him in the corner and along the ropes early in the fight.
The younger Maidana (35-4) was very aggressive chasing Mayweather, who at age 37 is so polished and patient. Mayweather’s legendary defensive style — he was slipping punches and counter punching — has made him the great champion that he is. But Maidana, who has 31 career knockouts, made many believe that he had Mayweather in trouble and could physically beat him down.
Maidana threw 858 punches, twice as many as Mayweather’s 426. Mayweather, however, landed 54 percent of his punches. Maidana although aggressive and throwing far more punches, landed just 26 percent of them.
The 16,268 fans saw a competitive, entertaining fight. The younger Maidana fought as if he were starving and had to win. He let it all hang out. Mayweather gambled and let Maidana attack him with powerful rights and underhand body shots, suffering one of the first cuts of his career. Mayweather had a deep gash over his right eye that was bleeding and at times he could not see. The cut was determined to have come from a head butt from Maidana.
Mayweather’s corner was able to successfully stop the bleeding, and from the fifth round on Mayweather stayed in the middle of the ring where he countered Maidana and hit him with rights and lefts and regained control. One of the three judges ruled the fight a draw at 114-114 while the other two ruled Mayweather won a majority decision, 116-112 and 117-111.
So now what’s next for Mayweather, who took home $32 million? Many want to see a rematch in September. Or will Mayweather finally fight Manny Pacquiao? At age 37, as great as he is, Mayweather’s biggest strength as a counter-puncher and defensive strategist, as this fight showed, might catch up with him.
I’m convinced Maidana believes in his mind that he won and will be more confident in a rematch. Time will tell.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter @FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.