By Sean Crose
The Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote “there is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” Floyd Mayweather would do well to take those words to heart. For even though he plays it safer than any attraction the sport has seen, he’s still leaving a lot to chance.
Sure, he’s probably going to take Marcos Maidana to school next Saturday. Truth be told, I wouldn’t be surprised if actually knocked the Argentinian out (provided Floyd’s hands are strong enough). Still, one never knows in the ring, just like one never knows in life. Here’s a few unlikely, but still possible, scenarios which might lead to Floyd seeing (gasp!) a check in the loss column.
First, there’s the possibility of Mayweather getting caught flush by Maidana. It’s almost silly to think about, I know, but there’s still a a chance of it happening – albeit a small chance. Say Maidana is being aggressive. Unlike others, he isn’t lulled to sleep by Floyd’s top notch defensive skills. He’s losing the fight, of course, but he’s still in the game. In other words, it’s become an exciting night in Vegas.
Then, maybe around the fifth round, as Maidana’s throwing a hailstorm of mostly ineffective blows, one lands flush on Floyd’s jaw. And down Floyd goes. Not for long, mind you, but down he goes. Mayweather beats the count and is able to survive the round, yet the tempo has changed. All Maidana’s aggression doesn’t seem so pointless any more. What a round earlier seemed like a waste of punches is now being read as ring generalship.
And Maidana improbably goes home with a split decision win.
Not believable enough? Here’s another possibility, then: Floyd’s age starts to show. It’s got to happen sooner or later, after all, be it in the ring or out. The day’s going to come when the reflexes just aren’t there anymore, when the legs just aren’t moving like they used to. Again, it happens to the best of them. Look at the Cassius Clay who beat Sonny Liston and compare him to the Muhammad Ali who lost the first fight to Frazier. More than Ali’s name had changed over time, let’s just put it that way.
Granted, Maidana is no Joe Frazier, but we just don’t know if Mayweather is Muhammad Ali, either. The guys’ never been in a real, down and dirty scrap before. What’s more, if his age is starting to show, Marcos Maidana is the last man Floyd’s going to want to find himself in the ring with.
Still not convinced? Then wrap your mind around this nightmare scenario: the judges rob Mayweather. The thought sends a knot straight into your stomach, doesn’t it? The judging in boxing can be so off the wall, so completely random and unfathomable, that I truly doubt there’s a single fighter who’s safe from it.
Chew on it: all Maidana has to do is keep it close. Wait, scratch that: all Maidana has to do is keep it competitive. After that, it’s anyone’s game. I for one am actually surprised Mayweather is still so eager to fight in Vegas after CJ Ross gave him a scare last year by ruling he had battled Canelo Alvarez to a draw.
Yet here he is, fighting in Vegas again. And it may only be a matter of time before the rod of incompetence beats Mayweather’s perfect record into confetti. What a disaster that would be. Yet how easy it all is to imagine. All the more reason for Floyd to give up his risk strategy. Better to lose clean than to be the victim of someone else’s mistake.