Mayweather vs Maidana – What the Critics Overlooked

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Boxing
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Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana fought on May 3rd in what turned out to be a great welterweight boxing contest. Those reading that lead-in line may think I’ve gone bonkers for waiting almost two weeks to be posting any kind of comments or a review of the fight, but it is what it is.

I’ve delayed, actually resisted, posting anything until now because the back and forth banter between the die hard Mayweather fans and the Mayweather haters has been at fever pitch.

Every boxing article I’ve read has been declaring that Mayweather has lost his edge, is vulnerable, is beatable. The comments sections adjoining these articles are filled with Mayweather haters taking the comments of the writer even further or the Mayweather die-hards defending their favourite fighter’s every move.

In spite of all of this vitriol I have failed to read a single article, a single report, or a single comment that points to something I saw, heard and read before the fight occurred. I watched the Mayweather-Maidana pre-fight presser, during which Mayweather made a very similar statement to the one he made before the Cotto fight.

Mayweather said to all the gathered press representatives and the television cameras that we would not see the version of Floyd Mayweather who took on Robert Guerrero or Saul Alvarez. The Mayweather who danced around his opponent and landed shots when he wanted to while avoiding just about everything they threw.

The declaration before this fight was very similar to the one he made before the Cotto fight. He talked about adversities he’s faced in fights in recent years and still found a way to win and declared that in this fight he would stand in front of Maidana, a style that would suit his heavy handed opponent, and still find a way to win.

Those words have been completely overlooked as journalists have written stories declaring the fight as the beginning of the end for Mayweather. To justify their own words in attempting to prove that Maidana has proved Mayweather is slower, weaker and more vulnerable than ever they have overlooked this critical aspect of the fight.

Now, don’t get me wrong. In no way am I trying to take anything away from Maidana. Maidana fought a great fight and unlike many fighters before him he wasn’t awed by the occasion or intimidated or distracted by the Mayweather circus (in this instance literal as well as figurative circus). No, what I am intending with this ramble is to point out something that seems to have been overlooked by all.

Watching the fight, after listening to Mayweather’s words in the press conference, I was not surprised with the number of times Mayweather was against the ropes twisting and turning as Maidana pressed him. I was not surprised by the number of times each man threw three or four shots that were instantly sent back by the other.

I was not surprised that Maidana shut out all the sideshow acts that accompany fighting Mayweather as he was always cool and collected in the build up to fights with opponents like Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan and Adrien Broner that brought a lot of side activities. Sure, the spotlight is definitely brighter when you face Mayweather, but he’d been in fights with more attention and drama than your usual fight.

Did Maidana do well to succeed where so many others have failed against Mayweather? Sure. He fought a great fight and threw a lot of punches. He landed a lot on Mayweather, but it didn’t look like he had Mayweather in trouble at any point in the fight. There was no “Mosley Moment” in which he managed to buckle Mayweather’s legs.

I wonder, however, if Maidana would have enjoyed equal success had he faced the version of Floyd Mayweather who had Alvarez swinging for shadows in September. Given that Mayweather signaled his intent to stand and fight we can’t draw any strict conclusions from the outcome of this fight as to whether Mayweather is indeed showing signs of age and a recession of skills.

A rematch would be a great next step as I believe any closely contested bout should be met with a rematch so that both the boxing fans can revel in the excitement once more and the fighters themselves both get another shot at a truly definitive ending to the fight. In a rematch we may get to see how the pressure and punch output of Maidana would work against the movement and pot-shotting version of Mayweather we’ve seen in recent outings. That would give us an answer to whether there is any decline in Mayweather’s skills, or whether the fight was tough because he chose to make it tough.

Lets hope there’s more to come in this budding rivalry.

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