By Thomas Choong
This Saturday’s match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana has, like most of Mayweather’s recent fights, got the boxing world buzzing. In Maidana, Mayweather faces an opponent with, knockout power, relentless aggression, and an apparently granite chin – all of the elements that excite both casual fans and pundits alike. Add in a heroic back story that includes a rise from poverty, a newborn baby, and a rugged determination to win, Marcos Maidana is a boxing champion whom fans have nothing but respect and admiration for.
However, there’s one key element that many people seem to have forgotten as this match comes upon us:
Marcos Maidana was the Mayweather opponent that nobody really wanted. I’d be lying if I said that Maidana’s upset victory over Adrian Broner didn’t have me cheering infront of the tv, or if I said I didn’t want to see him fight again. Unfortunately, this was one case where that didn’t apply.
Floyd Mayweather stands firmly atop the boxing heap, and both fans and haters alike stand united in acknowledgement of this. However, when it comes to establishing supremacy beyond the absurdities of politics and sanctioning bodies, there is one universally recognized rule that fans will agree to – that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. While there is currently no fighter in boxing’s 140 – 154 pound landscape that would stand as a betting favorite against the pound for pound king, Maidana certainly doesn’t stand out in anyone’s mind as being the man to solve the “May-Vinci Code”.
The marketing machine that is Floyd Mayweather has done a brilliant job of hyping up Maidana as an opponent using the momentum of the Broner victory to buildup this fight that, a year ago, we would not have even considered. It’s very similar to what was done with Mayweather’s recent opponents Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero – two men coming off solid victories, but lacking any perceivable chance at victory.
The thought of Maidana seizing “The Moment” has most boxing enthusiasts scoffing.
Many writers have made reference to Maidana having the proverbial “puncher’s chance”, but I have yet to see a writer actually laying claim to an upset.
Personally, I think it’s insulting to boxing fans that we no longer have a say in who our superstars match up against. However, this makes no difference to Mayweather as he stated in this bout’s press conference announcement back in March:
“I fight who I want to fight. Nobody is forced to watch me.”
The Mayweather marketing machine that garnered the world’s attention years ago had him play the role of the antagonistic villain – a man with unquestionable skill, but also possessing an attitude and brashness that drew attention from casual fans looking for someone to cheer against.
Now, we’re now left with “the icon”, a man who whose bouts have worldwide attention whether they are deemed competitive or not.
There’s no question that winning the “Mayweather Sweepstakes” is the biggest opportunity that a pugilist can get. For this fan though, I can’t help but be disappointed that despite all of he thanks we, the fans, receive after each of his bouts for helping line his pockets, he still won’t return us the favor of giving us the opponents that we ask for.
In spite of all this, I will be ordering this Saturday’s event. I feel that Golden Boy has put together a solid undercard, and I find the bout between Amir Khan and Luis Collazo particularly intriguing.
It’s doubtful that I’ll be salivating for the winner of the bout to face Mayweather next, but I look forward to seeing a skilled and under-appreciated veteran like Collazo showcase his skills on a world stage.
As for the main event, there’s little to expect outside of Mayweather’s typical formula against overmatched opponents. I feel that at the bouts offset, Maidana’s aggression will allow Mayweather to land some cringe worthy countershots, and by mid fight, Mayweather will be walking Maidana down into a defensive posture and out of his comfort zone. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mid to late round stoppage.
In fact, it’s something I feel paying fans should be demanding from this bout. If Mr. Mayweather is willing to take our money to see him face a 16-1 underdog, the least he can do is make an exciting show of it.