The so far indomitable king of the ring, Floyd Mayweather Jr, steps back into the ring at the MGM Grand for another mega money showdown in a highly anticipated rematch with the tenacious Marcos Maidana on September 13th with the WBA welterweight, WBC light welterweight and junior middleweight titles on the line.
Marcos Rene Maidana was seemingly cherry-picked by Floyd Mayweather and his team for the first fight as they opted for a fighter with a tough, rugged come forward style that the ringmaster has seen and dealt with a number of times over the years in his illustrious career. On the face of it, it was an easy win and the expectation was that Floyd would take the slower, ill refined Maidana apart with the surgical precision that saw him so easily disarm and dispose of the explosive strength of Saul Canelo Alvarez. However it turned out to be a much tougher fight than he would have anticipated. The underdog mauled and brawled his way passed Floyds usually impenetrable defensive armoury and despite being made to miss with the majority of shots, enjoyed a level of success that hasn’t been witnessed since ‘Money’s’ blockbuster bout with Golden Boy Oscar De la Hoya back in 2007. It would certainly be discrediting Maidana’s efforts to think that Mayweather was somehow trying to make it an entertaining fight and therefore strayed from his game plan as it has been suggested. It was a gruelling, tough fight and not through choice that is for sure.
Marcos Maidana, unlike many of Mayweathers opponents is not beat before he steps into the ring. He doesn’t give respect out on a reputation basis and is a fearless competitor by nature. Robert Garcia, trainer of the year in 2012, has built a formidable stable of up and coming fighters based in Oxnard, California. He is the man that has masterminded Maidana’s resurgence since his uncharacteristic performance and bitter defeat to Devon Alexander up at Welterweight. Garcia got his game plan more or less spot on for the first encounter by maximising his fighter’s strongest assets. In addition to his natural aggression and punching power, Garcia has developed ‘El Chino’s’ jab into a potent weapon allowing him to come into range far more effectively behind a powerful left hand lead. He is also acutely aware that punching in combinations is the key to breaking Mayweathers renowned shoulder roll defence. Often Maidaina had to throw four or five shots before he landed a clean blow. That is one of the reasons he is being made to throw 100+ punches a round in sparring. It takes that sort of power and intensity to land a shot on the defensive master that is Mayweather.
Having given due credit to the challenger, it was the champion who deserved to shade the fight, landing the cleaner work and gradually coming to terms with the Argentine aggressor in the second half of the fight. This time he will know exactly what to expect from the challenger and has had plenty of time to prepare for the relentless barrage of pressure that is heading for him. Maidana will almost certainly employ the same tactics as last time. Having ultimately lost the fight though, some small alterations are being worked on such as distance control when manoeuvring his opponent towards the ropes so as to not smother his punches and create more leverage on his clubbing shots.
One of the reasons that Mayweather has stayed at the top of the game for so long is his ability to adapt. Having tasted his own blood against Maidana he will certainly not be underestimating him now and should know how to better set about his task in taming the Argentine bull. Having said that this is by no means cut and dry victory. With every fight the champion is a little older, a fraction of a second slower and his precious ‘0’ grows evermore in its significance which all means he will secretly be hoping for a night that proves to be more measured than mayhem.
Maidana: Won 35 (KO31) Lost 4 (KO 0) KO% 79.49
Mayweather: Won 46 (KO) Lost 0 (KO 0) KO% 56.52