The biggest fight of the year thus far, Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Marcos “El Chino” Maidana is nearly upon us. Check out our preview to “The Moment” below.
I’m losing myself, I’m stuck in the moment
I look in the mirror, my only opponent
(Jay Z: “Welcome To The Jungle”)
If Floyd Mayweather could rap, he might’ve come up with Jay Z’s verse from his album with Kanye West, Watch The Throne. At this point, the only question these days is, “Who will give Floyd Mayweather a competitive fight?” Can Marcos Maidana be that person? Floyd’s strongest opponent is himself.
Floyd can be his worst enemy, as evidenced by his recent social media rant about his ex-fiance Miss Jackson. It was a classless attack. Not that his post at any time would be appropriate, but why only a couple days before fight night would he be worrying about Miss Jackson? My guess is because he left people wondering why they split up in part three of his All Access Showtime series. He mentioned making mistakes in his relationship with her, but ultimately being a good guy. Mind you, he was saying this while two of his female assistants were clothed only in a towel while being massaged as he watched.
What counts before the fight is getting people to wonder about what may happen in the ring. That’s what Mayweather is great at. But he’s so good once inside the ring, the intrigue can be lost, much like it was in his fight with Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. My guess is that he feels the same way with Maidana. No matter how impressive Maidana’s win over Adrien Broner was, the public is simply not interested in this fight like they were last time, with Canelo Alvarez. Maybe that’s the reason for the last minute classlessness/bad press.
Duan: Mayweather by unanimous decision
Following a Mayweather show where most fans felt letdown by the reluctance of his opponent, there should be little fear of a repeat here. “The Moment” is an appropriate title for this one because everything had to line up perfectly for Marcos Maidana to land this opportunity. He came off the biggest win of his career, with a built in story to challenge the top fighter on the planet, at a time when there were no other real options for Floyd. That’s the only way it could have happened. This is the chance Chino knows he could have gone his entire career without getting, so you can be sure that come Saturday night, whether he’s outmatched or not, he’s going to give what he has to make it count.
All the things which have been said about this contest are true: Floyd will be too fast, too skilled and too slick. Maidana is in many ways made to order for him, but Marcos is a big game player. He has guts and he’s willing to take the gambles – that makes him dangerous. Does he have a realistic chance? Probably one no better or worse than any of Mayweather’s other later career opponents. That is to say he needs luck on his side, a subpar Floyd, and the performance of his lifetime to have a shot.
Look, Maidana is a fighter. When he’s in a battle, he’ll battle. We know how he responds to adversity. We’ve seen it with Ortiz and Khan and Broner. He’ll bite down on his mouthpiece, comeback swinging and try make something happen. If he can’t find Mayweather’s chin once in 36 minutes, it won’t be for lack of trying.
In 2013, I believe we saw a version of Mayweather which was as good as (if not better than) we’ve ever seen. He may have slowed a step and he definitely doesn’t move the way he used to, but any physical deterioration has been offset by growing ring IQ and tactical smarts. The performances Floyd turned in last year were sensational. Maidana has his work cut out for him here only because any other welterweight in the world would too. He still earned his shot, and given the available options, Marcos is the right man for the job.
We expect a masterful matador-like display from Mayweather. That’s what is supposed to happen. Maybe he punishes Maidana’s offensive recklessness and puts over once or twice along the way. But maybe, Marcos Maidana will have that one moment. The moment where his aggression pays off. The moment where he finds a clean target. Then what happens next? It’s that premise which will keep us glued. If a 38-year old, trigger shy Shane Mosley was able to find the mark in that second round, is it really that hard to believe that four years later a fitter and fresher Maidana might be able to do the same?
Robert: Mayweather by late round TKO
This will be Mayweather at his best, as Maidana will force him to fight. Maidana’s aggression will allow Mayweather to land all night long with his sharp shooting right cross. Defensively, Maidana will be missing all night long. Maidana has the heart of a lion, so he will continue to eat that right cross until eventually, somewhere between round 9 and 11, his corner will either throw in the towel or not allow him to leave his corner.
Sarah: Mayweather by late round TKO
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is the American unofficial King of Kings in today’s boxing world and if that King prayed to a God, it would also be Mayweather. His supreme reign is due to his unblemished 45-0 record but also by the quality of opponents he has faced. Mayweather has beaten an astounding 20 world champions in his career. Marcos “El Chino” Maidana is the Argentine dangerous puncher that is young and hungry in the quest for “the moment” to shock the world and dethrone King Mayweather. He has proven his lethal punching power by knocking out six of his first seven professional opponents in the very first round.
As Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana meet in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, May 3rd can expect a “boxer” verses “puncher” stylistic matchup. Maidana has had good success in this type of match up, with his successful and shocking thrashing of Adrien Bronner. Mayweather has had good recent success in this type of match up as well, in his most recent win making an absolute mockery of the heavy handed Saul Canelo Alvarez. So what do these track records of past stylistic success mean for these two as they face each other?
As the “boxer” verses “puncher” worlds collide, adaption will be key. Maidana is cornered by Robert Garcia, a trainer with great ability to create mid-fight adjustments. The unfortunate issue is adjusting to the defensive style and counter punching of Floyd Mayweather. It is a near impossible task. He is too quick, smart and his infamous shoulder rolls are poetry in motion. To find success in this fight Marcos Maidana must stay balanced and steady at all times to avoid falling into the frustration trap that Floyd Mayweather lures his opponents into.
In the first few rounds, I see Maidana coming out aggressive with heavy hands, as Mayweather patiently feels out Maidana with his jab. As Mayweather boxes in the early rounds, he will also be mentally taking notes and feeding them into his boxing calculator of a brain. Once this process is complete he will then know to best exploit Maidana’s weaknesses. Mayweather will out-box Maidana with his fast and lethal counter punching combinations. Floyd will strategically pick Marco’s apart by moving in and out with lightning speed. This will make Maidana frustrated as well as setting him off balance. I predict this fight will end in a Floyd Mayweather knockout victory over Marcos Maidana in the late rounds.
GG: Floyd Mayweather by unanimous decision
Like most, I think this ends like just about every Floyd Mayweather fight. But Maidana has something that most of Mayweather’s recent opponents haven’t had and that’s a sometimes reckless style. Guerrero stayed in the pocket all night long. Canelo was too worried about messing up his hair and good looks to upset Mayweather’s tempo. Cotto stayed within himself, though ultimately had the best success. You have to go back to Victor Ortiz (don’t laugh) to find an opponent who didn’t mind using rough tactics to break up Mayweather’s rhythm. Now, Ortiz’s issue was that he couldn’t contain himself emotionally. Ortiz has never been described as being as cool as the other side of the pillow.
But if I’m Maidana, I don’t take the first round off like some of Mayweather’s opponents do. It’s well known that Mayweather uses the first round to feel his opponent out. So why would you let him figure you out so quickly? If Maidana can rush him and smother him early to break up his tempo, maybe he has a chance to land a couple big shots and change the landscape of the fight. However, maybe that’s the brilliance of Mayweather. Maybe he just mentally changes guys once they get in the ring. While I think Maidana can do well early on, I think we’ll see the same old Mayweather fight. If Maidana is willing to sell out, not only might he actually hit Mayweather a bit, but he may also set himself up to be in off-balanced situations, so we may see him go down like Mayweather was able to put Ricky Hatton down with something like a check hook.
While I’d love to see El Chino give Mayweather the fight of his life, I have a hard time visualizing it.