Friday, May 2, 2014

Don't Expect The Unexpected - Mayweather vs. Maidana

Floyd Mayweather is fighting on Saturday. Did you know that? Did you know that the most recognizable name in American boxing has a major pay-per-view fight? More importantly, do you care? Is anyone other than his accountant excited about this fight? At least the Canelo fight had an engaging opponent in the young Mexican.

What does Marcos Maidana have going for him? Well, he beat Adrian Broner aka Mayweather, Jr, Jr, So the argument goes that he knows what to expect from Mayweather, he's seen the “roll shoulder” defense and he knows how to beat it since Broner pretty much employs the same style. To me that's like saying I could strike Eddie Murray out because in high school I struck out someone who copied Murray's batting stance. As far as I'm concerned “Chino” has no shot, NO SHOT, to win.

Sure he's saying all of the right things. He's going to attack, he's going to pressure, he's going to hurt Mayweather if he hits him. Which is kind of funny to me. Watching a couple of the “All Access” pre-fight shows I noticed Roberto Garcia, Maidana's trainer, uses the word “if” a lot. You would think the quote would be, “When I hit him I will hurt him” not “If I hit him”.

Therein lies the Floyd problem. He is a hard man to hit inside a boxing ring. Watching the Broner/Maidana fight is like watching a minor league version of the upcoming fight. All of the same actions are there, just at a slightly reduced speed. Those winging left hooks and chopping right hands that Maidana kept bouncing off of Broner's head? They're going to find nothing but air when he throws them against Mayweather. Either that or in the time it take “Chino” to wind up he'll eat two straight rights from the champ.

The time it took you to read this caption is about how long it took Chino to throw the punch

So how do you sell tickets to a fight that everyone knows the outcome to? You make it about something else. Hence the sudden retirement talk. If this is the last time Floyd Mayweather steps into a ring, isn't worth plunking down the $65 to see it? This could be one last chance to see greatness, and make no doubt about it “Money” is a once-in-a-lifetime great fighter, one last chance to see an artist at work. Shouldn't that bring in a couple of hundred more pay-per-views and buy Mayweather another Rolex?

After Saturday he has three fights left on his deal with Showtime/CBS. Even though he is an aging 37-year-old I don't see him throwing away another potential $100 million in purses to own the Clippers or promote other boxers. Besides, with his history of “retirements” and extended time out of the ring I wouldn't be shocked if Showtime/CBS had slipped a clause in the contract requiring a buyout or return of future funds should he not fulfill the six fight deal in a certain amount of time.

My guess, based on entirely nothing, is that after he disposes of Maidana he fights Amir Khan next (providing the flashy Brit doesn't find himself staring up from the canvas in his own fight), then Peter Quillin and maybe, just for fun, a final passing-of-the-torch match with his protegee Adrian Broner. I'm sure if Quillen or Khan muck things up you could throw Sergio Martinez's name in the hat as well.

The point being that Mayweather will fight three times over the next 18 months, but it won't be against anyone that can actually beat him. As much as he loves stacks of money, Rolexes, Bentleys and big mansions, he loves that big fat “0” in the loss column even more. That's what allows him to be who he is, the entire “Money” Mayweather myth is built around his invulnerability and the fact that no man has ever beaten him as a professional boxer. If he loses then he's just another good fighter who faded at the end of his career.

I don't think those are $1 bills

I don't want to dismiss Marcos Maidana as a fighter. He is a really good fighter who punches hard and has beaten some decent fighters in Broner and Josesito Lopez, but he also lost to the glass-jawed Khan and Devon Alexander – two fighters not exactly in Mayweather's league. However as an 11-1 underdog it appears the betting public has already dismissed him in this fight. That being said boxing is a weird sport. He might catch Floyd with a wild left hand. Or maybe he gets inside and gets away with some rough, brawling tactics – a low blow here, a forearm to the throat there – that gets Mayweather off of his game. Maybe the unfairness of receiving $1.5 million to Floyd's $32 million will motivate him to a level we don't think he's capable of. I doubt it, but that's why they decide it in the ring.

Mayweather has said that he's going to be aggressive in this fight and take it to Maidana. Mayweather says a lot of things before a fight that don't end up happening. I don't see him doing anything different than he has against Alvarez or Robert Guerrero or Miguel Cotto. He will slip punches, counter, fire off blistering combinations and then masterfully spin out of trouble before Maidana realizes what happened. Twelve rounds later the referee will hold his arm in the air as the unanimous victor. He's done it for 18 years as a professional and it's been successful all 45 times he's stepped into the ring. But will there be anyone watching when it happens?

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