Not even a game Marcos “El Chino” Maidana could stop Floyd “Money” Mayweather from going 46-0 and unifying the WBC and WBA Welterweight titles.
After fighting a very uncustomary toe-to-toe crowd pleasing fight, Mayweather came out of this one wearing the signs of battle for one of the rare times in his career. A big welt shone brightly over one eye, and a patched-up cut over the other was unmistakable when giving post-fight congratulations.
“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.”
Judge Burt Clemens scored it 117-111 and Dave Moretti had 116-112 while Judge Michael Pernick unexplainably scored the fight a draw (114-114)
“The Moment”, as the fight was called during its promotion, might have had an expected ending. But it didn’t have an expected beginning.
Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) threw 100 punches while suffocating Mayweather against the ropes during the opening round. While Maidana was throwing punches in bunches, Mayweather was systematically using good body shots to slow the Argentine down.
The difference throughout the fight was accuracy, as Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) landed 54 percent of his total punches thrown compared to Maidana’s 26 percent landed punches. Business would pick up in the fourth round. Mayweather received the worst cut of his career as a result of an accidental head-butt.
“I couldn’t see for two rounds after the head-butt, but that’s what champions do – they survive and they adjust,” Mayweather said. “True champions adjust to anything. He’s a champion, I’m a champion and we did what we did in there tonight”.
Through six rounds many ringside observers, including myself, had the fight even at three rounds apiece, which garnered the attention of sports websites and fans across the world.
“He did dominate some rounds but the majority, I dominated them.” Maidana said.
After the sixth round, the fight would fall into form. Mayweather would lay on the ropes while motioning for Maidana to come in, only to catch him with a vicious left uppercut. Maidana would not go away. He was swinging heavy punches and taking everything Mayweather threw at him.
Mayweather, who earned at least $32 million for the fight, landed a lot of clean right hands and left hooks after making subtle adjustments in between rounds. Maidana, who made at least $1.5 million plus television revenue from Argentina and upside on the pay-per-view profits, was so aggressive that during the 11th round, he nearly tackled Mayweather out of the ring.
“He was not intimidated by Floyd. Even though Floyd landed some good shots, it didn’t seem to hurt Maidana at all,” Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said. “He kept coming and he wasn’t going to give up.”
With the victory, Mayweather now has 10 titles in 5 weight classes becoming the first fighter in boxing history to simultaneously unify alphabet belts in two weight classes – welterweight and junior middleweight.
With no obvious September opponent for Mayweather to face in the fourth fight of his six-fight, $200 million-plus contract he signed last year with Showtime/CBS, many journalists and fans across the world will be back on the “Mayweather Sweepstakes” to watch yet again.
Mayweather talked about a possible rematch post-fight but it is anybody’s guess who he’ll grace the ring with when he goes for win number 47.
“I’ll sit down with the teams and see if that’s what going to be next,” Schaefer said, who added that he liked the idea of a sequel.
Ultimately, the decision will rest with Mayweather, who talked about possible retirement in the days leading up to the fight. After Amir Kahn’s show stopping performance a rematch with Maidana is a possibility but not a slam dunk.
“If the fans want to see it again,” Mayweather said, “Let’s do it again.”
Kendrick Johnson writes for a daily newspaper and is an independent sports television, and print journalist who has covered championship boxing and UFC Fights, the NBA Finals and done numerous one on one’s with some of the biggest names and personalities in sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kendrickjohnso