LAS VEGAS -- Coming into the ballyhooed rematch between Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Marcos Maidana, most boxing experts expected a one-sided drubbing at the hands of the world’s pound-for-pound king.
Some believed that Mayweather was going to teach his Argentinean adversary a lesson and stop him this time around. As it turned out, Mayweather not only didn’t obliterate Maidana, he was almost knocked out.
Mayweather began the tussle with his trademark movement and excellent surgical precision. He moved perfectly, snapped lethal jabs in Maidana’s face and countered him when opportunities arose. For the first few rounds, it looked like Mayweather was on his way to torching his foe. Maidana wasn’t as aggressive, looked sluggish and appeared to be unable to get his shots off.
However, as time wore away, Maidana warmed up and began to unload his maelstrom of punches, but per the norm, Mayweather avoided virtually everything. That was until the bell sounded to end the third frame, when a vicious overhand right caught “Money” clear on the head, buckling his knees. Maidana was unable to follow that up because referee Kenny Bayless was already there to end the round, but Mayweather stumbled into the ropes and then paused to catch his balance before sitting onto his stool.
Related: Mayweather-Maidana 2 Play-by-Play
From that point forward, it was not the same Mayweather the world has grown accustomed to seeing.
He wasn’t as precise with his counters, his typically automatic right hand failed to miss its mark repeatedly and he resorted to clinching as much as Maidana, rather than slip out the side door and counter. For the entirety of the middle portion of the fight, Maidana took it to Floyd, but even when he missed the majority of his shots, Mayweather didn’t -- or couldn’t -- make him pay for his mistakes.
And the fight eventually turned ugly, just like their initial encounter.
The two mauled and clinched each other on the inside dozens of times. Mayweather was warned for a low blow late in the fight also for his forearm use in the clinch. Maidana landed several borderline illegal blows to the back of the head and was accused of biting Mayweather on the left hand during a tie-up in the eighth.
It wasn’t until the ninth round or so when Mayweather seemed to get things back on track. From there, he began peppering the challenger with cobra-like right hands, short left hooks and blinding uppercuts on the inside. Maidana was still violently aggressive, but Mayweather was back to teaching him a lesson late in the fight.
Maidana didn’t help himself in the 10th when he threw his nemesis to the canvas during a clinch, which drew a point deduction from Bayless. Mayweather continued to dominate with the guile and cunning that is his reputation, but when he knew he was way ahead on points, he danced around and took the entire final stanza off.
Still, it didn’t alter the outcome as Mayweather was awarded the unanimous decision. Guido Cavalleri scored it 115-112 for the Las Vegas-based champion, while Dave Moretti and John McKaie had it 116-11 for Mayweather, who not only improved to 47-0 with 26 KOs, he also retained his WBC and WBA welterweight title and WBC junior middleweight strap.
But even with the win, a disappointed Mayweather was not happy with the outcome.
“I give myself a C-. I’m better than this,” he said immediately following the battle. “I got hit with some shots I should have gotten hit with … He’s a tough dude. He’s rugged, but he hit me with shots he shouldn’t have.”
Maidana, on the other hand, felt he was robbed for the second consecutive time.
“I thought I won the fight,” he grumbled to Showtime’s Jim Gray. “But if the judges like to watch fighters run, then they gave it to him. I thought I was the aggressor and I kept the pressure. I thought I won.”
When pressed about the alleged bite, Maidana laughed it off.
“If he thinks I’m a dog, (laughs) … I never bit him,” he said through a wry smile. “I bit him with a mouthpiece? He was rubbing my eyes with his gloves. Maybe his glove was in my mouth but I never bit him … It was a childish ploy by him.”
All eyes quickly turned to who Mayweather will fight next, likely in May. Naturally, the questions immediately turned to Manny Pacquiao. However, unlike in years past, Mayweather was open to the showdown.
“I’m going to go back with my team and reassess things,” he said. “If the Manny Pacquiao fight can happen, let’s make it happen. But Manny Pacquiao needs to focus on the fight that he has in front of him. If he can get past that fight, let’s make it happen.”
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