Mayweather vs. Maidana: Odds and Round-by-Round Predictions for Saturday's Fight
When Marcos Maidana met Adrien Broner last December in San Antonio, the smart money said the rugged Argentine would be summarily dismissed as "The Problem" continued to stake a claim that he'd ultimately inherit boxing's pound-for-pound throne from incumbent kingpin Floyd Mayweather Jr.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation.
Rather than playing an outgunned second banana, Maidana brutalized Broner for significant portions of their 12-round scrap, wrested away the champion's World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title and placed himself squarely in the running for a chance to succeed Mayweather without waiting for a voluntary exit.
That chance comes Saturday night in Las Vegas, where Mayweather aims for his third straight win since signing with Showtime and a 46th consecutive victory since turning pro after he won Olympic bronze in Atlanta in 1996.
The oddsmakers don't believe Maidana will provide much of a challenge, as evidenced by the $1,000 wager required to gain just $100 as of Monday afternoon on VegasInsider.com. Meanwhile, a $100 outlay on the underdog would bring back a $650 windfall in the event of an upset.
And for his part, the favorite is insisting Maidana is a force not to be trifled with.
"Adrien Broner's a good boxer and he roughed Adrien Broner up and he got to victory, so we can't say what this guy, what he can or he can't do," Mayweather said in a pre-fight conference call. "We cannot overlook the guy. I can't just say he's going to be an easy fight because he's not going to be an easy fight for me, I don't think so. What I have to do is I've got to make sure that I'm at my best. So May 3 I've got to go out there and take my time, keep my composure and be me. Everybody thinks he's just going to be a pushover, but I don't think so. That's why I'm training hard and I'm pushing myself to the limit every day."
Date: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Time: Showtime pay-per-view starts at 9 p.m. ET; main event after 11 p.m. ET.
Venue: MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada
Odds: Mayweather (-1000), Maidana (+650)
Note: Odds provided by VegasInsider.com and correct as of 4/28/2014 at 5 p.m. ET; subject to change.
Mayweather comes out stationary and in the pocket, not moving much in spite of Maidana's immediate and aggressive approach at the opening bell. Mayweather lands a stiff straight right as the fight's first scoring punch.
They clinch, and Maidana is especially rough, clubbing Mayweather repeatedly with his free left hand. Mayweather is sharper with lead right hands, though Maidana is countering effectively. Maidana stares at end of round.
Maidana comes out aggressively again and is stopped at mid-ring by referee Tony Weeks before the bell actually rings. He corners Mayweather and lands a lunging straight left that prompts a clinch.
Weeks is letting them rough it up inside and the clinches are lingering before he intervenes, which appears to have Mayweather annoyed, if not downright frustrated.
Maidana takes a surprisingly patient tack in mid-ring, making Mayweather lead and then countering. Mayweather lands a straight right at the closing bell.
Mayweather stays patient and makes Maidana lunge, then lands a counter right hand to the head. Mayweather is landing solid single shots, then doing his best to smother Maidana's follows.
It's the pound-for-pound king's best round thus far, as he uses the jab, lands a straight right and keeps Maidana's comparatively reckless style from being utilized. Maidana's face is reddened as he heads back to his corner.
The pace slows noticeably. Maidana lands a glancing left as the round's first punch, but Mayweather quickly follows with a right hand that snaps his foe's head back.
Maidana finally forces the fight to the ropes as he walks Mayweather backward in a prolonged clinch, but Mayweather counters well and escapes the Argentine's attempt at a flurry.
Mayweather's speed and precision become more noticeable as the rounds pass.
Maidana lands a snapping counter left, and Mayweather follows with his own counter right in an extended engagement in center ring. Mayweather still isn't moving, but is instead relying on straight right-hand potshots and following with left hooks.
Maidana tries charging forward to bring the melee to the ropes, but Mayweather steps to the side and puts his body into a strong right hand. Maidana's work rate is clearly down from his past fights, as if he's noticing the difference in competition.
Maidana seems energized after an in-corner dressing-down by trainer Robert Garcia. He lands more counters and presses the action more than in the immediately past rounds.
Mayweather lays on the ropes and spins off with a precise straight right. Maidana wins the territorial battle, but Mayweather takes the round's final minute in terms of shots actually landed.
Maidana is again fired up upon leaving the stool, but even when he gets Mayweather in close quarters, he's smothering his own work and not leaving enough room to actually move his hands effectively.
Mayweather throws a few rare body shots, one of which noticeably bothers Maidana but is nonetheless replied to with an immediate pair of clubbing rights from the WBA champion.
It's Maidana's best round in a while, but probably not one that he actually wins.
Mayweather lands a flicking left jab in the first 30 seconds that's followed by a twisting right hand that opens a gash over Maidana's left eye. Maidana holds and dabs at the wound, which is bleeding but not gushing. It's an immediate spur for Mayweather, though, and he begins punching more in combination as Maidana seems suddenly preoccupied with the blood and disheartened by his lack of success.
Maidana rumbles when matters get close along the ropes, but Mayweather again spins off with a body shot and lands a shot behind Maidana's ear. Maidana complains, but referee Weeks indicates no infraction. A looping right hand wobbles the Argentine just before the bell.
Mayweather moves laterally and displays total comfort for the first time in nine rounds. He lands a jab and spins away from a Maidana reply hook. Mayweather jabs and circles away, leaving Maidana unable to mount an effective offense.
Mayweather lands two hard jabs, followed by a solid one-two. Maidana reels backward toward the ropes, where he takes a leaping left hook that drops him to one knee. He rises at seven and appears lucid but emotionally spent.
A follow-up flurry from Mayweather snaps Maidana's head back, and matters end quickly when a towel is tossed from Maidana's corner, followed by Garcia coming through the ropes to indicate surrender.
Official time: 2:18
Another night, another belt for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The decisive, concussive victory adds the WBA's welterweight title to the WBC strap he already owned and becomes the fourth sanctioning body jewelry he's owned at 147 pounds since 2006—when he decisioned Zab Judah to win the IBF and IBO belts. It also immediately prompts chatter from Amir Khan, who defeated Luis Collazo on the undercard to presumably move to the head of the line for Money's next fight.
"He beat (Maidana), now let him fight the guy the fans wanted," Khan says to Showtime's Jim Gray, referring to a dubious February poll whose results indicated the people wanted to see a Khan fight before a Maidana fight. "I did my part, now let's see him do his."
Mayweather doesn't take the bait at the post-fight press conference, though, saying only that Khan is a "great fighter" and that he would talk it over with his team before deciding who's next.
Maidana gives his conqueror credit, saying, "He's faster in the ring than he looks, and he makes it very difficult to land punches."