Friday, September 12, 2014

A Look At Mayweather-Maidana II

On May 3rd the Boxing world focused it’s attention on the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada when multi-division world champion Floyd Mayweather climbed into the ring to unify his WBC Welterweight world championship against WBA champion Marcos Maidana.  For some this was simply another fight in an illustrious career for Mayweather.  After all, in forty-five previous fights few fighters have been able to pose a threat to a fighter considered by many as the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

Maidana however, was not awed by the event and after defeating previously undefeated three-division world champion and Mayweather protege Adrien Broner last December was out to prove that his victory was not a fluke.  What resulted when Mayweather and Maidana squared off was frankly one of the closest fights in Mayweather’s career in what was a fight of the year candidate. 

Maidana’s consistent pressure and his ability to throw punches at all angles while forcing Mayweather back on the ropes and smother Mayweather’s counter punches made the fight extremely close. In a fight where both fighters had their share of moments it was Mayweather’s ability to turn the momentum in his favor in the second half of the contest, using his lateral movement to partially avoid Maidana’s pressure, but also as the fight progressed increasingly being able to get his offense off first.

An extremely close fight where there was a healthy difference of opinion as to who won the fight. Although at the end of the twelve round unification bout, Mayweather emerged victorious via majority decision to earn his forty-sixth victory in as many fights, Maidana’s performance fueled demand for something that has only happened once before in Mayweather’s career, a rematch.

Readers might recall in my coverage following the first fight in May that I stated that it appeared certain that a second encounter between the two might take place. Maidana, who was able to land more punches on Mayweather than any previous opponent Mayweather has faced was more than deserving of a second opportunity after the performance he put forth, and to his credit Mayweather said after the fight that if the fans wanted to see the fight that he was open to a rematch.

The rematch between the two will be only the second rematch of Mayweather’s career. Many will remember Mayweather’s encounters against former WBC Lightweight world champion Jose Luis Castillo in 2002 when Mayweather was campaigning in the 135lb. Lightweight division.

Much like Maidana, Castillo applied consistent pressure on Mayweather in their first fight in April 2002 and his pressure along with a consistent attack to Mayweather’s body created a difference of opinion as to who won the fight. Although Mayweather earned a twelve round unanimous decision over Castillo in their first fight there was demand for a rematch. When the two met in December 2002 Mayweather would score a second twelve round unanimous decision over Castillo.

Unlike the first encounter, Mayweather’s lateral movement and quick hands were the story of the rematch as he kept Castillo off balance and unable to apply the pressure that was successful for him in the first encounter. Now twelve years later Mayweather will square off for the second time with Marcos Maidana on Saturday night in Las Vegas at the site of the first encounter the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

Although there is no question of Mayweather’s dominance throughout his career, there have only been four fighters who many fans and experts alike believe were able to create an element of doubt when they faced Mayweather. Jose Luis Castillo, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, and now Marcos Maidana.

Maidana will now join Castillo as the only fighters to get a second fight against Mayweather. Will the Mayweather-Maidana rematch have a similar outcome as when Mayweather fought Castillo for the second time? There is no doubt that Floyd Mayweather possesses an extremely high Boxing IQ and has shown repeatedly throughout his career his ability to make adjustments during the course of a fight.

One question as this rematch approaches however, could be whether or not at thirty-seven years of age Mayweather can still utilize the kind of lateral movement that he was able to use to keep Castillo from being able to apply consistent pressure in the rematch twelve years ago. As I said following the first fight whether or not Maidana’s performance was an indication of age becoming a factor is a subject for debate. It is a subject however, that will probably continue to be a subject of discussion as long as Mayweather continues his career as a fighter.

The other question is whether or not Maidana will be able to make the adjustments necessary to maintain the success he had in the first part of the first fight in this rematch. Maidana was consistent in pressuring Mayweather throughout the entire fight, but Mayweather was able to make adjustments in the middle rounds and was able to get his punches off first throughout much of the second half the fight and was also able to counter effectively.

Although Maidana was consistent in his pressure of Mayweather in the first fight, he was not able to completely nullify Mayweather’s offense and was unable to keep Mayweather from using his lateral movement. It will be interesting to see if Maidana approaches this fight in the same way he did in the first fight.  Whether or not he will be able to maintain his offensive output and keep Mayweather on the defensive for the entire fight remains to be seen.

The first fight between the two was highly competitive and fueled the kind of demand that has resulted in an immediate rematch. Will the sequel be as close and competitive? We will find out Saturday night.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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