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Mayweather outclasses Maidana in rematch but doesn’t put on a show

13
Sep
Floyd Mayweather Jr. complains to referee Kenny Bayless after claiming that Marcos Maidana bit him during their rematch. It was one of the few moments of drama during the uneventful fight won by Mayweather.  Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr. complains to referee Kenny Bayless after claiming that Marcos Maidana bit him during their rematch. It was one of the few moments of drama during the uneventful fight won by Mayweather. Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images

 

LAS VEGAS – Well there’s nothing wrong with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s legs. They work just fine. He proved that against Marcos Maidana much to the disappointment of the crowd of 16,144 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.

Mayweather pedaled his way to a 12-round unanimous decision over Maidana, successfully defending his RING, WBA and WBC welterweight titles and WBC 154-pound strap. It wasn’t a clean get away as Maidana had a point deducted for tossing Mayweather to the canvas; Mayweather was warned for hitting Maidana with a low blow and Mayweather claimed that Maidana bit his left hand during a clinch, which he said made his fingers go numb after the eighth round.

The fans must have felt like their bottoms had gone numb from not having enough action to get them out of their seats.



People started streaming for the exits early in the 12th round as Mayweather got on his bicycle and started to back pedal. It was not the scintillating conclusion that they had come to expect. It didn’t measure up to the first match against Maidana. According to CompuBox Punch statistics, Mayweather landed just one punch in the final round. There was no drama and nothing really to cheer about. It was a methodical, boring decision.

“I felt sharper in my first fight. I didn’t think my rhythm was on point. I’d rate myself a C or C-minus. I got hit with some shots I shouldn’t have let him hit me with,” Mayweather said.

Judge Guido Cavallerie saw it 115-112, while judges Dave Moretti and John McKaie both scored it 116-111. THE RING magazine scored it 116-111 for Mayweather.

Of course Maidana (35-5, 31 knockouts) had a different opinion of what happened in the fight.

“I felt in great condition. I never felt tired. I felt like I won. Maybe the judges like fighters that run,” Maidana said. “I was pressuring him and I was the aggressor. I thought I won the fight.”

After the fight Mayweather was waiting for the feeling to return to his left hand.

“After the eighth round my fingers were numb and I couldn’t use the hand,” he said. “We were tangled in the middle of the ring and I didn’t know what it was, then I realized he bit me.”

Again Maidana saw things differently.

“Maybe he thinks I’m a dog, but I didn’t bit him,” said Maidana, who was guaranteed $3.5 million. “No. He was rubbing my eyes with his thumb (in the clinch). Maybe he had his glove in my mouth, but I didn’t bite him.”

Mayweather’s record in world title bouts over his 18 year career was 23-0 with 10 KOs heading into the rematch against Maidana. After the opening bell, when Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) started moving away from the advancing Maidana, there was little to suggest that Maidana would do much to alter that unbeaten streak.

Mayweather, who was guaranteed $32 million for the fight, knew he had to alter his plan from the first match.

“I just couldn’t stay on the ropes. He’s a tough competitor. What can I say,” Mayweather said. “I got a couple of bumps and bruises. He’s a wild young fighter. My thing was to listen to my father – to hit and not get hit.”

This fight didn’t have the celebratory feel that Mayweather’s other matches have had. There was nothing elaborate about Mayweather’s ring walk. No Justin Bieber or Lil Wayne. No show business, just all business.

Perhaps the week leading up to the fight had taken some of the fun out of the night. He had gotten himself into hot water by throwing his support behind former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was dismissed by the team and indefinitely suspended by the NFL after a video tape surfaced of Rice knocking out his then girlfriend, now wife, Janay Palmer, in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino hotel. Mayweather later apologized for his comments, which never offered any support for Rice’s wife.

With his back against the wall in that controversy, Mayweather was not about to spend the majority of his time with his back against the ropes against Maidana. He did that in the first match, allowing Maidana plenty of opportunities to unload on a stationary target and that opened the door to questions about whether his legs are gone. Once Mayweather brought Maidana to the center of the ring, he didn’t look old at all. He outboxed the Argentine slugger for the second half of the fight.

Mayweather’s legs looked fine from the opening round. He was moving fluidly, back pedaling and keeping his distance from the hard-hitting Maidana. When Maidana tried to pin Mayweather to the ropes, Mayweather would slip away or tie him up.

In the third round Maidana walked into two straight right hands that snapped his head back. He kept stalking Mayweather, throwing looping wide shots most of which missed the mark. Meanwhile Mayweather was timing him as he was coming forward. After the bell sounded to end the round, Maidana landed his own straight right that buckled Mayweather’s knees and sent him reeling backwards.

Mayweather retreated to the ropes for much of the fourth round and Maidana unloaded on him. He landed shots to the body and punched through Mayweather’s defense. It was the only place that Maidana’s strategy of aggressiveness and pressure was effective. Mayweather lost that round on the scorecards of two of the three judges. Mayweather brought Maidana back to the center of the ring in the next round and outboxed him.

Maidana didn’t have the foot speed to cut off the ring on Mayweather and he didn’t have the hand speed to nail him when the Pound-for-Pound king did get off his bicycle to take a breather. At the end of the seventh round, Maidana looked confounded. After the bell sounded he began walking to the wrong corner.

He might have been frustrated and sometimes confused, but Maidana was never dissuaded from coming forward and trying to keep the pressure on Mayweather.

Near the final quarter of the fight, things began to slip into the murky waters of a dirty fight.

Near the end of the eighth round Mayweather complained that Maidana bit his left hand while they were in a clinch. Mayweather had Maidana’s head down during the clinch and he snatched his hand back and complained that Maidana had bitten his hand. Bayless called a timeout and Mayweather went to his corner to have the glove inspected. Maidana complained that Mayweather was choking him in the clinch while he was holding his head down.

When Maidana wrestled Mayweather to the canvas in the 10th round, Bayless took a point away. He was trying to get a handle on things before they spiraled out of control.

In the 11th round Bayless warned Mayweather for hitting Maidana with a low blow. He gave Maidana time to rest, but didn’t take away a point from Mayweather. The low blow came on the heels of a body shot by Mayweather that looked like it took the air out of Maidana.

Mayweather had complained of dirty tactics by Maidana in the first fight and tacitly blamed referee Tony Weeks for letting Maidana get away with low blows, elbows and head butts. Mayweather suffered a cut over his right eye from a head butt in the fourth round and he said he was blinded by the blow. Bayless was assigned as the referee for the rematch and Weeks worked the undercard matches. Bayless should be given credit for keeping a lid on things and not allowing it to sink to a foul fest.

Maidana hoped to sustain the same type of pressure he brought for the first half of the first match throughout the entire 12 rounds of the rematch. And he wanted to straighten out some of the looping punches that he was missing with the first time around. But Mayweather pointed out that Maidana probably fought the best match of his life against him, winning three on Mayweather’s personal scorecard, and wasn’t going to be able to add that much to his game plan for the rematch.

He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t catch Mayweather with anything telling. He was left punching at air for most of the night.

“I was the aggressor and I was attacking all the time. I felt I was the aggressor and I felt I won,” Maidana.

The prospects for future opponents, outside of Manny Pacquiao, seem slim if Mayweather wants to continue making the kind of mega matches that attract the attention of the non-boxing fan. His selection of opponents is as closely deconstructed in boxing as presidential elections in politics. His decision to do a rematch with Maidana was a business decision that kept him from having to make that heavily scrutinized choice for the fourth fight in his six-fight deal with Showtime. But Showtime and CBS will certainly pressure Mayweather to come through with a hit for his next match.

With his boring rematch against Maidna, Mayweather may be forced into the arms of a waiting Pacquiao. Mayweather was non-committal after the fight. But he sounded like he could be persuaded to meet Pacquiao.

“I’m going to go back and talk to my team and see what we can asset and my next opponent,” he said. “If the Manny Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen. Manny Pacquiao needs to focus on the task in front of him (fighting Chris Algieri on Nov. 22). After he gets past that guy we’ll see what the future holds.”

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