Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana: Everything You Need to Know
Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather Jr., with his 45-0 career record, will step into the ring as a professional boxer for the 46th time. For fight fans, Mayweather's upcoming bout with Marcos Maidana is an event marked clearly on the calendar.
After all, Mayweather's tactical and defensive brilliance are without compare—at least not without first turning back the clock a decade or three.
"I can feel when a guy’s gonna punch," Mayweather told the press in a conference call last week. "I can feel it. I don’t even have to see it—I can feel it. You know, this is just with experience and being around the sport so long. I can just feel a guy when he’s going to shoot his shot. A lot of times guys telegraph their shot. Their body language gives away when they’re going to shoot because of how they position themselves."
Of course, you know all this because Mayweather's also created a persona and developed a swagger that has succeeded in making an otherwise cautious counterpuncher the highest-paid athlete in all of sports. Mayweather earns an estimated $85 million per year, according to Forbes.
Think about that for a moment.
A small, defensive-minded fighter with subpar punching power has convinced the world he's an attraction that can't be missed. It's got to be one of the most amazing marketing achievements in the history of modern athletics.
Mayweather is more than a fighter. He's an icon.
Across the ring, doing his best to look menacing yet relaxed, will be Maidana, an Argentine journeyman politely referred to as a "slugger." It's a nice way of saying there isn't a lot of nuance in his game. He's going to come forward, hope beyond hope for a miracle and collect the biggest check of his career when it's all said and done.
However, billing this fight as must-see TV is a tough sell.
It lacks the spectacle of Mayweather's previous showdown with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. That fight had old-school glitz. Alvarez was outmatched, but he at least held his own in delivering pomp, circumstance and fans.
If Saturday is a can't-miss fight, it's because Mayweather is an artist in the true sense of the word. More than that, he's 37 years old and in the third fight of a six-fight deal he signed with Showtime last year.
This could be one of the last times we see him step into the ring.
If that means something to you, this is a fight you should be sure to watch. But if you are looking for suspense, for a contest without the winner all but written in stone before the opening bell, this isn't it. Mayweather is listed as an 11-1 favorite.
Still, it's boxing's biggest star looking to add on to one of the sport's greatest legacies.
What follows is more information about the fighters, the star-packed undercard and some storylines to track leading up to the fight.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Record: 45-0 (26 KOs)
What more can you say about Mayweather? Apparently, plenty. For example, on the first episode of All Access, Showtime's version of HBO's 24/7, we learned Mayweather has purchased 14 different Rolls Royces in order to stock fleets of vehicles he keeps in several cities. He's also split with his girlfriend and, between all the drama, is working harder than ever in the gym.
You know—the usual.
Record: 35-3 (31 KOs)
By the time Maidana stepped into the ring for his first professional fight, Mayweather had already competed for 13 world championships.
That's pretty remarkable.
Maidana is a garden-variety banger. I say that with respect, because he comes to fight, pursues his opponent throughout and has plenty of pop in his hands. Although most of his fights came as a light welterweight, he's maintained his power at 147 pounds. If he lands cleanly, he can hurt Mayweather.
Of course, landing cleanly is the trick that opponents have failed to pull off for the last 17 years. Maidana, however, has a bit of a headstart. In December, he shocked Mayweather protege Adrien Broner, who utilizes a very similar style, in one of 2013's most impressive upsets.
Mayweather has a gift for finding conflict where none seemingly exists. Against Maidana, he's pinpointed his opponent's relationship with strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Ariza, who has operated for years under a cloud of suspicion that his fighters gain a possibly illegal edge, is now in Maidana's corner. That doesn't sit well with Mayweather, who is one of boxing's most outspoken advocates for aggressive drug testing.
"I noticed that when the guy, Alex Ariza, was in Amir Khan’s corner and when he faced Maidana, Amir Khan looked super strong in that fight," Mayweather said during a conference call. "Then you go back and look at it, I go look at Maidana’s fights against certain guys...in the Adrien Broner fight he was a lot stronger than he was in a lot of his past fights.
"I don’t know if Alex Ariza plays a major role in that, but when I sit back and I look, I’m looking at (Manny) Pacquiao versus (Timothy) Bradley and I notice ever since Ariza has not been with Pacquiao anymore there’s been a total change in his power. So I look at things like that and I question things like that to myself."
Of course, that issue is a red herring here. The real story is Broner, more specifically Maidana's embarrassing dismantling of the outspoken prospect last year. Broner is Mayweather's protege. Beating him put Maidana on Floyd's radar, and MLive.com's David Mayo asks if the reason for fighting the Argentine is "to avenge Broner, or to give his friend a reality check pertaining what might happen if he ever steps out of line and calls him out?"
The answer is both. Avenging Broner tells Maidana that no one gets over on Team Mayweather and lets "AB" know that the pupil is still not quite ready to supplant the master. The psychology of this matchmaking, in some ways, is more interesting than the fight is likely to be.
Amir Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) vs. Luis Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs)
Khan, an Olympic silver medalist, was expected to cross paths with Mayweather before the Broner upset gave Maidana the champion's full attention. The big-money fight is very much still in play, especially if Khan manages to impress against Collazo.
British boxing fans with long memories are a little nervous going into the fight. Fan favorite Ricky Hatton had hand-picked Collazo as an easy mark back in 2006. After 12 rounds, the southpaw had made a mess of Hatton's face and created some real suspense when the scorecards were read. Though Hatton emerged victorious, Collazo left the ring with newfound respect.
Will history repeat itself? Collazo is eight years older, and Khan is hoping for more than a close-fought decision. Now is the time to insert himself in the Mayweather sweepstakes. Khan can't just win—he needs to impress.
Adrien Broner (27-1, 22 KOs) vs. Carlos Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs)
Molina, part of a Mexican fighting family that is looking to make its mark on the sport, isn't here to beat Broner. Instead, he's here to help the rising star regain his confidence and composure after the disastrous loss to Maidana last year.
This Molina, not to be confused with the Mexican fighter of the same name who beat Ishe Smith on the undercard of Mayweather vs. Canelo, is a light-punching lightweight who shouldn't be able to floor Broner the way Maidana did. Broner will have time to find his groove and put on a show en route to his next money fight.
Odds and Prediction
The Odds (per Vegas Insider, as of April 28):
Taking bets against Mayweather is the closest casinos in Las Vegas come to giving money away. They've had to result in extreme measures to get any action coming in on Maidana. Even the prospect of a big payout fails to excite when fans realize the great Mayweather will have to actually lose for them to collect.
The lines are this lopsided for a reason: Maidana is the kind of conventional slugger Mayweather typically beats with one eye closed. It's the next best thing to a vacation for him. And, while Maidana certainly surprised the world with his win over Broner, Mayweather isn't trying to be the next AB. There's a reason he's the "big brother" in that relationship, and he'll prove it Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
Mayweather wins by lopsided decision
All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.