By Rudy Mondragon
The highly anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marco Maidana is scheduled to take place this Saturday May 3, 2014 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Most fight fans, critics, analysts, and boxers are giving the edge to Floyd Mayweather, as they should. He is the champion, has been a champion for over 17 years, has been here before and been successful 45 times without a blemish on his record. Although I too give the edge to Floyd due to the many advantages he has, I also believe that this fight is going to be closer than most feel. Here is why…
Floyd and Referees
One of Floyd’s major advantages is that referees allow him to get away with a lot. With Floyd’s experience, he is able to implement elbows, clenches, and forearm action with no consequences. When was the last time Floyd was deducted a point, let alone a verbal warning? Closest he got was in the Hatton fight, yet Joe Cortez did not allow Hatton’s bully and rough tactics, which threw off a worthy game plan by the Englishman. Referees have also turned a blind eye to what Floyd does in the ring and instead capitalize on other fighters. Think of the Ortiz headbutt. Ortiz used that same dirty game plan against Andre Berto and not once got warned (he did get a point off for rabbit punches though). In the fight between Ortiz and Mayweather, Joe Cortez was quick to not allow Ortiz to carry out his dirty game plan. In this upcoming fight, Maidana will look to make it a rough fight. It will be critical that Tony Weeks calls it in an equitable fashion. Weeks knows Floyd has earned this platform, but that should not mean his officiating of the match should take away from the challenger. Floyd will, however, have the edge with the referee.
Calm and Collected
Although the referee, in my opinion, will be favoring Floyd Mayweather, Chino Maidana possesses a unique energy. He is a calm and collected individual who would prefer to fight without the bright lights and cameras. Don’t get it twisted, the lights nor cameras phase the man. He has been on platforms where he has been expected to fail in order to raise the stock of other chumps. Look at Victor Ortiz and Adrien Broner. Although he lost, he exposed Devon Alexander and Amir Khan. Floyd is also a calm and collected professional. It has been what has made him in his long career. But when I see how Maidana comports himself during interviews and press conferences, all he cares about is beating his man down. He has faced other fast and technical boxers, yet he does not get intimidated or thrown off. His game plan stays the same and it works for him. Staying cool and chill in the fights has allowed Maidana to press his opponents and stay on their asses. With the fine tuning and strategies that his head trainer, Robert Garcia, has provided him, Maidana is in a position to press Floyd for an exciting 12 rounds.
X-Factor is defined as a hard to describe influence or quality that is important with unknown consequences. These two fighters have it. Maidana has a new born baby, a new source of motivation and energy. A man is changed when he brings a new life into this world. The urgency to provide and stay on top of their game because others are counting on him mean something. Chino will bring this energy to the ring Saturday night. Floyd also has an X-Factor. To what extent it will provide consequences is yet to be seen. Floyd’s 4 year engagement was recently called off. This is behind the scenes information as made available by ShowTime’s All Access. When interviewed by Robin Leach, Floyd joked that he does in fact wear ties and he will wear one on his wedding day. Obviously a wedding date is no where in sight. He also mentioned wanting to get married in a recent interview and starting a family and also vented about his personal life in the last episode of All Access. All that context to say this, Floyd is processing a void in his life. This is common for successful, workaholics like Floyd. All the time invested in their craft comes at a price and Floyd is now seeing that implication. These are the types of things that can take a man’s focus away from his craft and in the process risk his throne.
Awkward versus Technical
Two different styles. Floyd is a conservative, technical defensive boxer who is quick and smart. Maidana’s style is one of brawling and fighting rough, throwing power shots from awkward angles and having zero respect for his opponents. Maidana’s lack of respect for his opponents is what separates him from the recent Floyd victims. Canelo Alvarez and Robert Guerrero both were intimidated, got frustrated, had no game plan, lacked a strong corner, and fought to survive. Maidana will come into the ring Saturday night with the intentions to hurt Mayweather at any cost. This might mean that his momentum will be an advantage for a Floyd counter-hook that can put Maidana down. I can see that happening, however, Maidana will get up and fight on. Mayweather will not finish him off, it’s not his style of fight anymore. Maidana will make it a close fight because of his awkward fight style and ability to land complex angle shots and his no quit determination.
In the end, I give Floyd the edge to come out on top via a decision. I see a decline in Floyd’s game, more on the side of his mental focus than his physical ability to stay relevant. Maidana will fight to the end and will land some devastating body blows and some to the head that will make the crowd go nuts. If Maidana uses his jab, the fight will be closer than close.
Saturday night will be a good night for boxing. Think tenacity. Maidana will be the most tenacious boxer Floyd has faced in the last 12 years. If Mayweather can weather the storm and neutralize Maidana, it will be a demonstration of the sweet science.