by Matt Gerovac
On Saturday, May 3, Floyd Mayweather will put his undefeated record on the line against a very game, yet grossly overmatched Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather has made his money lining up worthy adversaries and beating them on points. Maidana will be more of the same. Many hopeful Mayweather haters are saying Maidana has a chance, trying justify their pipe dreams by pointing out Maidana’s dismantling of Adrien Broner. This comparison holds no gravity.
Mayweather is frustrating to watch for the fair weather boxing fans that just want to see carnage, blood, and guts. These same fans love to hate fighters like Ray Leonard, and even Muhammed Ali. These boxing “fans” would call these master technicians cowardly and have no appreciation for the mastery and artistry they exhibit every time they step into the ring.
If you’ve never trained or experienced boxing yourself or through a close friend or family member, how can you really comment or have a trusted opinion on the subject? The science of boxing has to do with foot work, angles, physical fitness, mental toughness, and psychological fortitude that most fans could not fully understand or appreciate. However unfortunate, the typical boxing fans can often be the overweight men seen sitting in bars sporting their Affliction or Tap Out gear, making beer-fueled, uninformed macho-man comments about whatever fight they’re watching from the comfort of their sadly over-worked barstools. But, rather than insulting boxing fans and alienating readers, let’s educate the uninformed boxing fans and encourage the real boxing fans out there.
Marcos Maidana, like past challengers Canelo Alvarez, Robert Guerrero, Miguel Cotto, Victor Ortiz, and Shane Mosley is a world-class boxer. In his last fight he broke down Adrien Broner by sticking with a great plan throughout the fight. Broner has a lot of skill and will likely beat Carlos Molina in his comeback fight which also on the undercard. But, when it comes to the art of boxing, Mayweather, like Leonard and Ali, is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent.
From a technical standpoint, let’s examine the shoulder roll of Mayweather versus Broner’s second-rate version. Mayweather has done this from the beginning. There have been many imitators, but no one does it with the effectiveness of Mayweather. When watching film on Mayweather and comparing it with Broner, there are a few major differences in the effectiveness of the defense. Mayweather anticipates an opponent’s next punch, bringing the shoulder up to protect his face while keeping his front left hand down to protect his body or to counter punch. Mayweather rarely gets caught flush with right hands because they are either deflected off his front shoulder, slipped with side-to-side head movement, or avoided with good footwork. One very important thing to notice is Mayweather’s eyes. He is always focused, eyes opened, and zeroing in on his opponent’s next move. Although he may roll with punches to neutralize their effectiveness, his eyes are always looking for tendencies, telegraphs, and holes in his opponent’s technique. Broner gets hit because he is not always looking. Maidana caught him, first with some great body shots and went to the head later. Broner was taking shots to the temple because he would turn his head away from Maidana. If Broner would’ve kept his eyes forward, and tucked his chin into his chest, Maidana’s punches would have glanced off Broner’s shoulder or his forehead and would not have had the same effect.
Another huge difference between Mayweather and Broner is their balance. Mayweather is never off balance, whether in a defensive or offensive mode. His feet are always under him, he brings them with him as he moves forward and pushes back with a dancer’s grace. Broner’s upper body moves without his feet, thus making him more prone to looping shots while he is in a prone, unbalanced position. This will not happen with Mayweather.
The greatest thing about boxing is that anyone that has two arms has a chance. Maidana can really punch. He has the tenacity and discipline to implement and stick with a good game plan, as he exhibited against Broner. But, to put it quite simply, Mayweather on a bad day is countless times better than Broner at his best.
And by the way, the only reason this fight will do well on pay per view is because it also has a great undercard. Nobody wants to see Mayweather fight anyone besides Manny Pacquiao.