In a little over a month Marcos Maidana will become only the second fighter to get a rematch with the pound-for-pound king of boxing, Floyd Mayweather. The Argentine earned a rematch by coming as close as anyone’s come since Jose Luis Castillo to beat Mayweather using an assortment of chopping overhand rights, an off-time jab, and maybe a little bit of elbows, forearms, and knees.
Showtime caught up with both Maidana and Mayweather in their respective camps to get their thoughts as we draw closer to “Mayhem.”
“The first fight was action packed for the first four rounds before I took control. He has the will to win like I do. He’s a tough competitor and he has Argentina on his back–and of course I represent the red, white and blue so we must give the fans what they want to see… It’s another blockbuster.” Stated the 11-time, 5 division world champion.
Mayweather is right. Maidana’s awkward angles and wonky timing made for an exciting first 4 rounds as Mayweather looked like he might buckle under the non-stop onslaught from Maidana before he could make his usual mid-fight adjustments.
“On September 13, I will be faster. I will be stronger. I will be a better fighter. This time around it will be a more exciting fight.”
A bold promise from Mayweather. The first fight was the most exciting Mayweather fight we’d seen in a long time.
“I think that every time that Maidana has gone out and fought opponents, other opponents and even myself, he’s done the same thing. Whereas out of the 45 that I’ve faced, I was able to do different things. I can box. I can counter punch. I can box on the move. I can counter punch on the move. The only way that he can fight is to slug.”
Mayweather may have a point here in that he has shown a diverse skill set over his illustrious career. What is lacking in his statement is an acknowledgement, and perhaps is the source of his early struggle, of Maidana’s continued growth and transformation under Robert Garcia, a recipient of the BWAA’s Trainer of the Year award in 2012.
Under Garcia, Maidana has gone from all-out slugger to a sometimes slick, brawler-boxer. What Maidana has learned isn’t pretty, but it’s quietly effective. His head movement is above average, his jab is effective when he uses it, and his tactical game plans thus far have all been sound. No doubt a result of his collaboration with Garcia.
Mayweather’s tactics early, which appeared to be the same he employed in the late rounds against Ricky Hatton, were all based on his assessment of Maidana above. Mayweather looked to catch Maidana rushing forward with counters in an attempt to possibly knock him down or out. After 4 rounds, Mayweather abandoned this style after he realized Maidana was not going to be stopped for anything and switched back to his familiar style we saw when he shut out Canelo Alvarez last September.
Maidana’s comments were very much in-character for him. Short, confident, to the point.
“I don’t know if I’d say this will be easier because even the first one, I didn’t find very difficult. But I already know him and I think it’s a great advantage that I already know Mayweather because he hasn’t given a lot of fighters the rematch.”
Given Maidana’s feeling that he won the first fight, this comment is right on par with what we’d expect. Maidana is prideful and confident that he won the first fight.
“I don’t like the media attention, but I have to do it. It’s part of my job for the fight and for the promotion.”
It’s understandable Maidana’s not a fan of the attention. Anyone who relates to fighting on the biggest stage in boxing as ‘his job’ is probably not someone who enjoys the limelight.
“I think more attention is coming because Mayweather is very well known and when you give him trouble and give him a good fight people start to recognize you.”
This is certainly true. Mayweather-Canelo sold well based on the possibility or prevailing thought that Canelo’s size and youth would trouble Mayweather, with many going so far as to predict a Canelo victory. With the closeness of their Mayweather-Maidana I, far more are watching with a keen eye to see if Maidana can duplicate his success and perhaps score an improbable knockout against the top fighter in the sport.
History tells us it’s unlikely to happen. What Mayweather did in his second encounter with Jose Luis Castillo indicates, if history is to repeat itself, Maidana could be the one in trouble here. Also, looking at the final 6 rounds of their first fight tells a far different story than the one most fans were left with.
(Tangent: It’s similar to how most people remember the first encounter of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. Most seem to only remember the early stages where Leonard stood flat-footed in the center of the ring and banged with Duran, nearly getting himself knocked out in the process. What people seem to forget is that Leonard, always a master of mid-fight adjustments and comebacks, began to move and outbox Duran in the last third of the fight.)
Maidana’s counter, I’m sure, revolves around the conversation of gloves and which he can and can’t use. Whatever the case, the fight takes place live on Saturday, September 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can order through Showtime PPV. This is the fourth fight in Mayweather’s mysterious, but highly lucrative six-fight deal with Showtime/CBS.
No undercard has yet been announced, but there are rumors of Leo Santa Cruz making an appearance and a lightweight title fight between Miguel Vazquez and Mickey Bey.