Despite popular opinion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t think his first fight with Marcos Maidana was all that close.
However, boxing’s pound-for-pound king wants to please the fans, which is why the rematch with Maidana will take place on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas -- just four months after he captured a majority decision against the Argentina native.
“Well, the fans demanded it, the fans said it was real exciting,” Mayweather said during a recent conference call. “My team had a meeting. They came up with this guy, and like I said before, I’m a man of my word. Just like I said after the fight, if you feel like you want to do it again, let’s do it again.”
In their first bout, Mayweather struggled early against his opponent’s pressuring, aggressive style but gradually made the necessary adjustments to pull away down the stretch. Still, not all the ringside judges agreed that Mayweather was the clear-cut winner. While Burt Clements (117-111) and Dave Moretti (116-112) saw the fight in favor of “Money,” Michael Pernick scored it 114-114.
Such scorecard dissension might have only intensified the calls for Mayweather and Maidana to do it again. Although he is granting his first immediate rematch since a return date with Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, Mayweather is convinced he won decisively the first time around. With that in mind, he doesn’t believe it is necessary to make a grand statement -- i.e., posting a shutout on the scorecards -- on Saturday.
“Well, I think nine rounds to three rounds is a shutout … Just look at the fight. The fight is not close,” Mayweather said. “But he came out, he won the first round, I won the second round, he won the third and the fourth, and from the fifth on he lost every round.”
Maidana was able to make things interesting in part because of his ability to fight ugly. The Argentine fighter trapped Mayweather against the ropes for long stretches, brawled effectively and didn’t allow “Money” to race out to his customary early lead.
Mayweather believes that much of Maidana’s success came as a result of dirty tactics. While Tony Weeks refereed their initial meeting, Kenny Bayless will be in charge on Saturday. Bayless has notably reffed Mayweather bouts against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Moseley and Canelo Alvarez.
The champ expects that Bayless is going to keep a close eye on the action in ring.
“I think Tony Weeks is an extraordinary referee. I think Kenny Bayless is an extraordinary referee. Tony Weeks is only human. He’s capable of having a bad night. So it doesn’t matter who the ref was going to be, we just want to go out there and entertain and give people something -- give people an exciting fight. I’m pretty sure Kenny Bayless is going to be watching both sides extremely close,” Mayweather said.
“The job of the referee is to be fair and not lean towards my side or not lean towards Maidana’s side, but with the team meetings before the fight hopefully … like I’m pretty sure the last time my team didn’t know that [Maidana trainer] Robert Garcia was going to tell his guy to go out there and be extremely dirty,” he continued. “My health is more important than money or anything else. I have to be healthy to go out there and perform the way that I do, and I truly believe in having a career after the sport of boxing is over ... If you guys notice, I got tackled, the guy tried to knee me, I got a head butt and there were rabbit punches, and there were low blows, and the list goes on and on.”
Mayweather says that Maidana’s approach is nothing new. Opponents have been trying to bend -- or break -- the rules against him for years now. It all comes down to maintaining his cool in the ring on fight night.
By doing that, Mayweather believes he can set an example for his sons while not negatively affecting his overall performance.
“When it’s something like that I just tell myself keep your composure, just relax, and the referee’s going to do his job,” he said. “I guess on that night the referee had a bad night. This didn’t just start, this has been going on since the beginning of my career. If you guys go back and look and at how fighters have been fighting dirty in front of me with different dirty tactics -- even in the Canelo fight, you go look and see.”
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