Floyd Mayweather is the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in the world and the sport’s undisputed king when it comes to selling pay-per-views. His last seven fights have done at least one million buys, and it is a virtual lock that his showdown with Marcos Maidana on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday will make it eight in a row.
It matters little whether or not one believes that Maidana is the foe best suited to test “Money” in the ring. People will tune in regardless, either in hopes of seeing him lose or simply to admire his boxing prowess. Hate him or love him, Mayweather is combat sports’ biggest star, making each of his appearances a must-see event. Just four fights remain on the 37-year-old’s current deal with Showtime, so an extended era of dominance could very well be nearing its end.
WelterweightsFloyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KOs) vs. Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs)
The Matchup: Maidana first garnered significant interest as a potential Mayweather foe following his unanimous decision triumph over Adrien Broner for the WBA welterweight title in December. The 24-year-old Broner was unbeaten until that point and recognized for employing a style similar to that of Mayweather’s.
However, Maidana never let the American get going. He floored Broner in the second and eighth frames and forced his opponent to respect his power throughout the contest. As a result, Broner was never able to put his speed advantage into play, as he expended a great deal of energy in attempting to keep Maidana at bay. The win capped off a remarkable turnaround for the 31-year-old Argentine, who contemplated retirement following a sluggish defeat to Devon Alexander in February 2012. Since uniting with trainer Robert Garcia, Maidana has appeared rejuvenated, winning four straight fights, including the upset over Broner.
During that time, Maidana has improved his footwork and head movement. In addition, he has displayed a newfound proficiency for the jab, often using it to set up his more powerful punches. His ability to throw punches in combination will be key against Mayweather, who is accustomed to racking up lopsided striking advantages against his opponents.
While the win over Broner has given Maidana confidence that he can employ a similar game plan to defeat Mayweather, wearing down boxing’s pound-for-pound king will be a far more difficult task. Mayweather expects to have a size advantage come fight night, as Maidana has spent the majority of his career as a junior welterweight. The American rarely allows his foes to hit him cleanly, whether he is utilizing his trademark shoulder roll or simply moving in and out of danger; Maidana could find himself gradually tiring after attempting to impose his will through power shots. If he fails to connect consistently -- a very real possibility against one of the best defensive boxers of all-time -- Maidana will find himself wearing down and becoming more vulnerable to counters.
Mayweather has an uncanny ability to time punches and will eventually respond with superior hand speed once he gets a sense of his opponent’s rhythm. “Money” will have to handle a great deal of pressure and aggression from Maidana early on, but it is not something he has not seen before.
Mayweather has not won by knockout since stopping Victor Ortiz in 2011, but his ability to rack up points while avoiding damage remains a sight to behold.
The Pick: Maidana’s resilience allows him to hang around, but Mayweather pulls away to capture yet another clear-cut decision.