By Sean Crose
“I need a knockout and I’m going for it. I need it to make a statement.”
Words such as these are uttered all the time in the sport of boxing. This time, however, the words were, according to Bad Left Hook, uttered by Floyd Maywether – and they might ring truer than you think. While it’s true Mayweather doesn’t necessarily “need” a knockout against Marcos Maidana this Saturday, it would impress a whole lot of people if he got one. It would also quiet down a whole lot of negative noise – at least temporarily.
For Mayweather is entering his rematch with Maidana with a question mark hanging over his head. He’s the favorite to win the fight, sure, but fans are starting to wonder if the man’s best days are truly behind him. The first fight was close, after all. What’s more, Maidana is an extremely aggressive fighter who has little or no respect for the Mayweather legend.
While it’s true Mayweather claimed he intentionally made the last fight exciting for the fans, few people believe him. If he tries bringing the same kind of excitement this time around, he may end up in the company of Adrien Broner and others who Maidana has bested in the ring. The man, in short, has to go into the fight with the singular intention of winning.
And what better way to win than by knockout? It would be hard to argue that Mayweather is finished if he places his most fearsome opponent on the mat for at least ten seconds. A knockout would also take attention away from the bad press Mayweather has been receiving lately, bad press that some feel may start affecting him in the ring.
Furthermore, a knockout win for Mayweather would prove to the world that the first Maidana bout really was pretty much a fluke, that the widely recognized pound for pound king of the ring simply had an odd off night for himself.
If Mayweather is indeed looking for the knockout, however, the question arises as to whether or not he’ll be able to attain it. The truth, as far as this writer is concerned, is that a knockout victory for Mayweather is indeed feasible. Perhaps unlikely in the end, but feasible nonetheless.
All one needs to do is look at footage of the first Mayweather-Maidana encounter to see that Mayweather got around to landing some very effective punches on his opponent. Maidana may have given him a run, but Mayweather’s punch accuracy that night last spring was still at an extraordinarily high level. The man simply punched, as he always does, with laser-like precision.
If Mayweather has found a way in training to make those punches a bit more powerful, Maidana could end up in some real trouble. Maidana, after all, knows what it’s like to be sent to the canvas. Just ask Amir Khan, who nearly polished Maidana off without breaking a sweat. In other words, Maidana is more than capable of going down from decent shots.
What’s more, if Mayweather stays off the ropes this time around and keeps things in the center of the ring, he stands a very good chance of dominating the tempo. Maidana’s success in the first fight came from being effective offensively. If he can’t repeat that success in the rematch, however, he’ll be open to the kind of lightning fast, on-target Mayweather punching he experienced later on in the first fight.
It’s good to keep in mind, though, that Maidana is a very tough customer indeed. He knows this is his moment to enter the history books and he’s certainly going to make the most of it. Even if he’s outboxed by Mayweather, the guy will do everything in his power to avoid the humiliation that a knockout loss would bring with it. The whole fight may possible come down to a question of will power. Or just plain power.
The world will find out soon enough.