Friday, May 2, 2014

“The Moment “ Can Maidana Solve Mayweather’s Puzzle?

Following a lopsided decision win last September over previously undefeated Jr. Middleweight world champion Saul Alvarez the familiar question most Boxing fans and experts alike had was what would be next for Floyd Mayweather? Of course, any time you bring up the name Floyd Mayweather the idea of a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao is bound to come up when discussing potential fights.

The idea of a Mayweather versus Pacquiao encounter has been something that Boxing fans worldwide have been hoping for, for several years now. Despite Manny Pacquiao’s two losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, Pacquiao was and still is a significant marquee draw no matter who he fights. Although some may be of the opinion that the luster and demand for such an encounter between the two diminished somewhat due to those losses suffered by Pacquiao, a fight between the two would still be a big money draw.

The fight however, did not seem as though it was any closer to being made last September as it was when the public began calling for the fight to happen several years ago. So, who would be next for Mayweather and more specifically who could draw significant interest in terms of a pay-per-view draw?

As fate would have it the answer to that question would emerge last December and in the process present perhaps the perfect storyline for a pay-per-view attraction. In the build up to his clash with previously undefeated three-division world champion Adrien Broner, the power punching Marcos Maidana was viewed by some as a non-threat for a fighter in Broner who had modeled himself after Floyd Mayweather, despite Maidana having scored victories over the likes of Victor Ortiz and Erik Morales in his career.

On December 14th of last year Marcos Maidana showed that he was not a mere opponent and not someone to take lightly. Maidana’s consistent pressure and thudding blows dominated the action as he dropped the champion twice in rounds two and eight to score a convincing unanimous decision to win the WBA world Welterweight championship. A defining victory for Maidana that was unexpected by some. The victory however, over a fighter who has been called a protege of Mayweather did set up what this observer feels is an intriguing storyline.

After scoring what was viewed as an upset over Broner, could Maidana do what forty-five previous opponents have failed to do and defeat Floyd Mayweather? One might argue that one element of this storyline that makes this fight so intriguing is a scenario of Mayweather looking to avenge the loss of his friend Adrien Broner.

The idea of Mayweather facing a fighter who has a career knockout percentage of over 80% as Maidana has would seem to have enough merit to draw significant interest as it is. Maidana’s victory over Broner however, does add some sizzle to this fight as it approaches.

In thinking of how this fight might be fought I think it is important to remember that although Adrien Broner fights in a similar style to Floyd Mayweather, that does not necessarily mean this fight could end up looking similar to Maidana’s fight with Broner. There are however, things that Maidana was able to do against Broner that is a must against a fighter like Mayweather if he wants to be successful.

The obvious thing that Maidana was able to accomplish very early on in his fight with Broner was he started going to the body early and that set up his offense to the head. Maidana’s varied attack to the body and head of Broner, particularly how effective he was in being able to land overhand rights along with consistent pressure was what won him that fight.

There is no question in my mind that Marcos Maidana has the punching power to be a threat to anyone in either the Jr. Welterweight or Welterweight divisions. He has more than proven that he is a threat throughout his career. The key however, in this fight will be whether or not Maidana can apply consistent pressure on Mayweather, maintain that pressure for the entire fight, and deal with Mayweather’s precision timing and quick hands.

Fighters such as Jose Luis Castillo, Oscar De La Hoya, and Miguel Cotto all had success in their fights against Mayweather by applying pressure on him. Some observers, this one included felt that Castillo’s consistent pressure along with his body punching were enough for him to defeat Mayweather in their first fight in April 2002. An argument can be made however, that both De La Hoya and Coto stopped pressuring Mayweather in the middle and late rounds of their respective encounters and that was a contributing reason as to why both lost against him.

In order for Marcos Maidana to be successful in this fight he has to pressure Mayweather from the outset and not allow him any room to use his lateral movement. Maidana cannot be reckless however, as Mayweather has the hand speed and timing that can catch and has caught fighters off guard in the past. The primary difference in my eyes in this fight will be that unlike Adrien Broner, Mayweather will likely look to be elusive in looking to use his lateral movement to deflect and evade Maidana’s offense, in contrast to Broner who was more willing to engage and was a more stationary target in his fight with Maidana.

 Although Broner has a similar style to Mayweather, there is only one Floyd Mayweather Jr. What has made Mayweather such a defensive master throughout his career is his ability to anticipate an opponent’s offense, avoid the majority of that offense with quick reflexes and respond with counter punches with precision accuracy.

Even though Marcos Maidana does have momentum coming into this fight, he does have his work cut out for him. Maidana was able to defeat and solve a fighter known as “The Problem” in his last fight. Will Maidana have the answer to solve the puzzle of Floyd Mayweather or will Mayweather befuddle another opponent leaving fans and experts alike asking the familiar question of what’s next for him after this fight? We will find out Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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