The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of May 5
Talk about a pleasant surprise, right?
Floyd “Money” Mayweather took down Marcos “El Chino” Maidana on Saturday night, winning an epic and dramatic welterweight unification clash that most observers (not letting myself off the hook) had dismissed as mere exhibition for the pound-for-pound king.
He survived a blistering onslaught in most of the rounds and the first cut of his career to make the Argentine notch No. 46 in his Hall of Fame belt.
There is so much to unpack from that fight, and the remainder of the undercard, that we don’t even want to waste any more time.
This is your all Mayweather vs. Maidana edition of the hottest boxing storylines of the week.
Did Money Get a Gift?
Let's dismiss this one out of hand.
This Bleacher Report scorecard had it 115-113 for Mayweather by fight's end, and that was echoed by Dan Rafael of ESPN.com with the same score and Lyle Fitzsimmons of Bleacher Report and CBS Sports, who had the contest 116-112 for Mayweather.
Give Maidana a ton of credit. He, along with trainer Robert Garcia, came in there with a game plan, and they executed it to the best of their ability. He gave Mayweather some of the roughest rounds we've seen him in since, well, ever really, and even seemed to have the pound-for-pound king a little nervous midway through the fight.
But Mayweather, as he has made a career out of doing, eventually did figure out his man. It was a brutal dogfight, for sure, and perhaps the toughest night of his 46-fight reign. He was cut over the right eye—the first such incident of his career—by a headbutt which affected his vision, and nothing he did could discourage the Argentine from pressing forward.
Mayweather popped dozens of lead right's and short left hooks off his opponent's skull, particularly in the second half of the fight as Chino slowed down a bit and Floyd figured out his avenue of attack, but his foe kept coming.
By the end of the night, Mayweather was credited with a 230-221 advantage in landed shots, despite Maidana throwing more than 400 more punches than Mayweather. For all his Tasmanian Devil-esque activity, Maidana wasn't very accurate. His murderous shots, rough infighting and unwillingness to let up put Mayweather in some precarious spots, yes, but he missed over 600 punches.
Meanwhile, Mayweather, who was far more economical, connected at a 54 percent clip for the fight. He did a lot of making Maidana miss and making him pay.
You can't score fights based on expectations or on how surprised you are by a fighter exceeding those expectations.
Was Mayweather in a really, really tough fight? Yes.
Were there more than a few nervous moments? Absolutely.
Did Maidana massively exceed expectations? Beyond a doubt.
But just because Mayweather didn't win in the dominant fashion we all expected, and make Maidana look like a club fighter in the process, doesn't mean he didn't win.
He did. Not being dominant and losing are completely different things.
How Was Everyone so Wrong on Chino Maidana?
Back to managing expectations.
You'd be insane to not think that Chino Maidana blew his expectations out of the water on Saturday night. We discussed at length that he didn't win the fight, but he was absolutely in it until the end, and he certainly came the closest of the 44 men that preceded him to toppling the king from his throne.
Think that alone isn't an accomplishment? Think again.
Nobody, outside of his inner circle, gave Maidana any sort of chance in this fight. Boxing fans and media watched and reported news of the fight with something bordering on derision and contempt, feeling that the Argentine was there for a payday, some exposure and a lopsided defeat.
Surely Maidana, who got to this point by imposing himself on and dominating Adrien Broner, wouldn't be able to do that to the real thing. Not the fake Mayweather, but the real thing. A bona fide, certified Hall of Famer who has made a career out of making guys like him look bad, amateurish even.
But in large segments of the fight, he did just that. He bulled Mayweather, at one point nearly spearing him through the ring ropes, roughed him up and forced him to fight, really fight, just to survive.
Maidana wasn't nearly as effective, in terms of scoring damaging punches, but he no doubt got the attention of Mayweather and the rest of the boxing community.
Far from going down quietly into the night, Maidana won himself a lot of believers. And he may have done more than that.
The talk before the fight was that once Maidana lost, he'd be headed to a lucrative rematch with Broner. But that no longer seems likely.
Instead, Chino should find himself right in this same spot a few months from now in September. And you can bet that people won't be so quick to dismiss his chances in a second go around.
Do We Need an Immediate Rematch?
A funny thing happened on the way to “The Moment.” A legitimate fight broke out, and suddenly boxing’s pound-for-pound king has multiple good options for his next fight, tentatively scheduled for September.
Amir Khan, the former junior welterweight champion who impressively knocked off Luis Collazo in the main undercard bout on Saturday, heavily lobbied for the fight before, during and after Mayweather’s victory over Maidana, but he’s not an option for September.
Khan, who is a practicing Muslim, reiterated previous comments at the post-fight press conference that he would not be available for a September fight. Ramadan, the month where Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours, falls in July, and that would make training for a September impossible.
Mayweather, for his part, completely sidestepped questions about whether he’d be willing to wait until November for Khan, and it would seem that a rematch with Maidana seems far more likely.
Unlike this past weekend, the buzz and hype for that fight would be enormous, given Maidana’s exceeding of even the most lofty of expectations.
A rematch will likely generate a high level of public demand, and yes, big dollars at the box office.
The question remains, though: Will Mayweather want to put himself through a second rough fight like that just five months after suffering his closest call as a pro.
Who knows? But he’s in need of a partner for his next fight, and suddenly, he has some serious and legitimate options.
Is Amir Khan the Big Loser from "The Moment"?
Khan potentially came into “The Moment” with the most to gain, but as it turned out, he might have been the night’s biggest loser.
The former junior welterweight champion dropped former welterweight champion Luis Collazo three times en route to an easy unanimous decision win.
For Khan, the equation was simple. Put in a good performance on the undercard, somehow convince Mayweather to shift his plans for a fall fight ahead a bit and get the chance of a lifetime that he’s been pining over for the past several months.
At the post-fight presser, Khan, who isn’t available for a fight in September, almost painfully spent question after question talking up his ability to present Mayweather with something he’s never seen before in the ring.
But it fell on deaf ears. All the buzz was over how a crude slugger had just gone life and death, nearly pulling off an epic upset, and nobody seemed to be giving Khan’s words very much air.
And that’s not to say he’s entirely wrong either. Some of his points were valid, but nobody was much in the mood to listen. You almost felt bad for Khan.
After spending the better part of a year chasing Mayweather to no avail, he seems destined to lose out again.
Did Adrien Broner Prove Anything?
Adrien “The Problem” Broner made a successful return to the ring on Saturday, overwhelming light-hitting opponent Carlos Molina to secure a wide unanimous decision victory in his first fight since being brutalized by Maidana in December.
The fight was every bit as unspectacular and one-sided—after the first couple of rounds at least—as everyone expected it to be.
Broner’s hand speed was dominant, and while he settled into the same type of inactive lulls that got him in trouble in the past, Molina just didn’t have the power to really trouble him.
It was a win, yes, but it did nothing to raise Broner’s stock or prove that those who viewed him as a carefully crafted fraud were off the mark.
Broner was still more willing to showboat than fight, didn’t seem to have very much power on his punches and had to be smacked down by Showtime’s Jim Gray in the post-fight interview for making incendiary comments.
Otherwise known as, "same ol’ same ol.’"
The Problem just isn’t going to change his antics. That much is certain.
But he’d better get serious about his craft. That type of stuff will work against the Carlos Molinas of the world. But against the real top dogs at 140 pounds?