Regardless of how surprising it was to see Marcos Maidana do so well in the first fight and actually get a rematch, this fight will be determined by the ability of Floyd Mayweather to stay focused, dodge wild punches and simply carry out his usually very cautious and careful game plan, which has worked out wonderfully for him in his undefeated boxing career.
Maidana was probably the first boxer since Jose Luis Castillo to really make Mayweather feel uncomfortable for more than a round here and there. He kept trying to push Mayweather into the ropes, keeping him away from the center of the ring and used his wild punches coming from angles that it didn’t look like Mayweather expected to actually get a clean hit on Mayweather’s face, cutting him around the eye, which is an occasion that’s rarely been seen in Mayweather’s career.
Maidana didn’t have the perfect fight. He did lose, although one of the judges gave him a tie on the scorecard, making it a majority decision in Mayweather’s favor. Maidana lost some weight before this fight, trying to make it possible for him to even put on more pressure on Mayweather during the fight, which means relentless punch-throwing, even at the expense of their power.
Some thing Maidana didn’t do was use jabs and go for the body. Mayweather dodgers head shots quite well, which is what Maidana was aiming for all the time. There’s no one more elusive than Mayweather in the ring. Even at 37, he’s still so difficult to hit because of his stance, his speed and ability to read his opponents’ punches so well. Yet something has to be exposed, and that leaves his body a big more vulnerable. If Maidana can catch him and be a little less wild with his punches, although not letting that focus take over the pressure and pace of his attacks.
Maybe Mayweather has slowed down, and last fight was just an example of an hall of famer starting to slow down. He hasn’t had a real knockout since beating Ricky Hatton. But maybe it was a combination of things: Mayweather not taking his opponent seriously, outside distractions like his breakup with his ex-fiancee.
This fight might be different, although Mayweather has had his distractions in the form of that same ex-fiancee coming out with allegations of domestic abuse from Mayweather. Mayweather himself commented on the Ray Rice situation. It’s interesting if he’s doing it just to increase the excitement heading into the fight, or is it truly his opinion, which casts an even uglier light on how he is as a person?
For Mayweather to make this fight a bit more friendly for him, he needs to keep things in the center of the ring and simply play to his strengths. His speed and his defense, countering with jabs to the body. Mayweather has been able so far in his career to avoid getting into slugfests and brawls because power and fighting wildly isn’t his thing. Despite his age, he has almost every advantage in this fight over his opponent, but there’s still a certain aura of vulnerability.