By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Mayweather SURVIVES Maidana
Floyd Mayweather (46-0, 25 KOs) may have successfully unified the WBC/WBA welterweight titles against Marcos Rene Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs), but what the 16,000 people watching live in attendance, along with the millions watching on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View didn’t expect was for ‘Money’ to appear as vulnerable and as close to defeat as he was last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mayweather survived 12 of the toughest rounds of his career, as won a 12-round majority decision that was much closer than the official scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114 indicated.
“It was a tough, competitive fight,” Mayweather said. “I gave the fans what the fans wanted to see. Normally, I box and move. Finally, I was in a tough, competitive fight. Tonight, I wanted to stand there and fight and give the fans their money’s worth.”
Recognized for his famous shoulder-roll defense, counterpunching, razor-sharp reflexes, hand-and-foot speed, Mayweather, at age 37, showed every bit of the affects of wear-and-tear that the sport of boxing can have on a fighter. Mayweather was flat-footed, square, and vulnerable to Maidana’s relentless straight-ahead, pressure-punching style. Mayweather wasn’t slipping and dodging Maidana’s punches the way he did in previous fights against Canelo Alvarez and Robert Guerrero.
Mayweather is the type of fighter that has great awareness and anticipation of his opponent every time he fights, but against Maidana, the ‘Money’ man was trapped against the ropes like a caged-animal from the opening bell. Maidana, recognized for his brutal display of punching-power in previous fights against Adrian Broner, Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz, and Erik Morales, intelligently attacked Mayweather’s body with left hooks to the ribs, right hands to the arms, and overhand rights to the head.
Throughout the fight, Maidana displayed the kind of boxing intelligence that many boxing experts failed to credit him for having. Maidana applied enough pressure to rob Mayweather of his comfortable shoulder-roll defensive posture by attacking him with overhand rights that either landed on top of Mayweather’s head or backed him straight-up. Maidana, following the overhand right, effectively followed with a wide left-hook that kept Mayweather off-balanced and unsettled throughout the fight.
The boxing world was stunned to see Mayweather’s body ripped behind the pressure of Maidana’s attack. The MGM Grand was in total silence, because the skills that Mayweather demonstrated for years weren’t present. Maidana forced Mayweather into an uncomfortable, unsettling, and unforeseeable dog fight. Mayweather, at last, selected an opponent that wouldn’t allow him to dictate the pace of the fight. Maidana, after so many years, came the closest (much closer than Jose Luis Castillo and Oscar De La Hoya) to defeat Floyd.
“I definitely think I won this fight,” Maidana said. “Floyd did not fight like the man I expected him to. He made me change the gloves. I had bigger gloves and everything and I still gave him a fight. He did win some rounds, but the majority of them I dominated. I did go after him, but he’s a difficult fighter.”
Similar to his fights against Castillo and De La Hoya, Mayweather found a way to win. Mayweather found a way to defeat Maidana by picking up his pace in the final four rounds. Mayweather dug deep within himself and applied more pressure by countering Maidana, who wasn’t as affective late in the fight, more effectively. Mayweather threw some very nice combinations and did a better job of blocking Maidana’s shots to win the fight.
But what does Mayweather’s performance tell us? Is Mayweather starting to show more chips in his armor? Is he simply getting old at age 37? Mayweather was shocking flat-footed, as if he couldn’t move away from Maidana’s as quickly as he would have liked. Mayweather appeared frustrated when he saw plenty of openings to punish Maidana, but simply couldn’t pull the trigger to throw his shots with the timing and efficiency as we’ve grown accustomed to watching.
Mayweather did a lot of complaining to the referee Tony Weeks. Maidana did cut Mayweather from a head-butt in the fourth round, he did land punches on Mayweather’s hip, and even landed borderline punches. But Mayweather had more conversations with the referee about warning Maidana for holding, using his elbows, hitting behind Mayweather’s head, and keeping his punches clean. Maidana boxed beautifully and fought as hard as anyone could against a fighter like Floyd. But once again, Maidana, like the previous 45 opponents, came up short against Floyd.
Mayweather is open to a rematch.
“If the fans want to see it again, we’ll do it again,” Mayweather said.
Maidana definitely is on board with a rematch, as well.
“I have to give him a rematch because I won the fight,” Maidana said. “I’m not scared of him. Why not give him the rematch.”
Amir Khan, the former unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion, successfully moved up to the welterweight division in pursuit of a big fight with ‘Money’ Mayweather. Khan (29-3, 19 KOs), in a very impressive performance and his best in more than two years, dominated former 140-pound champion Luis Collazo (35-6, 18 KOs).
Working with Virgil Hunter, the godfather/trainer for world super middleweight champion Andre Ward for the third consecutive bout, Khan boxed extremely well. He scored three exciting knockdowns against Collazo, who had no answer for Khan. Collazo’s reaction to Khan’s speed, movement, and power was poor
Khan did a masterful job.
“It was tough because Collazo was very awkward, but we pulled it together and came out with the win,” Khan said. “It was a tough fight to debut at 147 pounds after a 13 month layoff. Not many fighters would take a fight like this. Especially with Collazo coming off of a big knockout win over Victor Ortiz.”
Collazo was so frustrated with Khan, he constantly complained to the referee about being held during exchanges. Collazo’s complaints were often ignored, as Khan kept hitting Collazo with lots of authority and accuracy. Both men were docked one point in the eighth round. Khan was deduced a point for holding Collazo’s head down, after Collazo was penalized for landing a low blow. It didn’t matter because, Khan finished much stronger and started clamoring for a shot at ‘Money’ Mayweather.
“People want to see a fight between me and Floyd,” Khan said. “Floyd hasn’t seen speed. He’s fighting people with explosive power. But styles make fights and I think my style will give him a lot of trouble.”
Khan was fast, too fast for Collazo, who did the very best he could in a disappointing performance. The chance to fight Khan he on an epic SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View event was a one in a lifetime opportunity.
“I had to hang in there. That’s how we do it,” Collazo said. “His style was really hard. He kept grabbing me and it was difficult. Things happen. We’ll see what happens next.”
In other bouts: former three-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner (28-1, 22 KOs) defeated Carlos Molina (17-2-1 13 KOs). The judges scored it: 99-91, 98-92, and 100-90.
“I feel good. It was a comeback fight,” Broner said. “I shook the cobwebs, looked good and got the victory. At the end of the day, I don’t make my fights. I’ll fight anybody. I’d like to fight (Manny) Pacquiao before he leaves.”
Also, J’Leon Love (18-0, 10 KOs) defeated Marco Antonio Peribean (20-2-1, 13 KOs), via unanimous decision.
In the opening bout of the PPV telecast, super middleweight prospect J’Leon Love kept his undefeated record intact with a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Marco Antonio Periban, scored 95-93, 97-92 and 96-93. Love survived a hard knockdown in the early rounds to surprise Peribean behind speed and movement.
“Periban is a tough dude,” Love said. “It was a good fight. He has a very awkward style. He hit me with a tough shot and I knew it was smart to take that knee because he can be very aggressive.