By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada; Floyd Mayweather Jr. returns to the ring to rematch the hard-hitting Argentinean Marcos Maidana for Mayweather’s WBC/WBA Welterweight Titles as well as his WBC Junior Middleweight title.
Overall it’s a solid card, though the first fight between Mayweather and Maidana wasn’t close enough to many to warrant a rematch. Two other title fights will be on the card, as Leo Santa Cruz defends his WBC Junior Featherweight Title against Manuel Roman and Miguel Vazquez defends his IBF Lightweight title against Mickey Bey.
Alfredo Angulo and John Molina Jr. will also be fighting on the under card, but they are expected to easily defeat their overmatched opponents.
The following is a preview of the three title fights that will be televised on the pay per view.
Miguel Vazquez (34-3) vs. Mickey Bey (20-1-1); IBF Lightweight Title
Mickey Bey was once a young promising prospect who’s career never quite seemed to reach the promise that he showed as an amateur.
The main reason he’s fighting for a title is because his promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., is in the main event of the night. He’s thirty one years old, four years older than Miguel Vazquez, and he had a forgettable 2013.
Bey tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone and after he fulfilled his suspension he was knocked out in the tenth round by John Molina in 2013. He was able to bounce back from that tough defeat, but his hype is no longer what it once was.
Bey will be giving up about one inch in height and about three inches in reach to Vazquez. Vazquez is also the vastly more experienced boxer and has faced tougher competition throughout his career.
Bey does have an edge in amateur experience. He qualified for the 2004 Olympics by defeating Brandon Rios in a box off, but had to sit out due to contracting pneumonia.
Neither boxer has fight stopping power. Vazquez has stopped thirteen of his opponents while Bey has stopped ten. Vazquez’s style however can be aggravating for opponents and his defensive style can be described as awkward.
Vazquez has held the IBF Lightweight Title since August of 2010 when he defeated Ji-Hoon Kim. He has also defeated the likes of Breidis Prescott, Marvin Quintero, Mercito Gesta, and Denis Shafikov.
Bey has never held a major world title and his resume is very thin for a thirty one year old boxer receiving a title shot. He has defeated the likes of Alan Herrera and Hector Velazquez.
Vazquez should be able to use his experience to his advantage and box Bey from the outside and avoiding his range. If Bey is able to get inside of Vazquez he could make the bout interesting, but Vazquez should be able to hold him off with his jab.
Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1) vs. Manuel Roman (17-2-3); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
Of the three televised title fights on Saturday night this bout looks to be the biggest mismatch.
Santa Cruz and Roman are both twenty six years old and about 5’7, but that is where the similarities end.
Santa Cruz will have close to a five inch read advantage over Roman and has a significant edge in power, speed, experience, and anything else that matters in boxing.
Santa Cruz has fifteen knockouts to his record which dwarfs the six stoppages Roman has to his record. Santa Cruz also holds a significant edge in amateur experience. He won the gold medal as a world amateur champ at the age of fifteen while Roman has no notable amateur experience.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Cristian Mijares, Cesar Seda, Victor Terrazas, and Eric Morel. He has also fought nine times since 2012. Roman has defeated the likes of John Amuzu and a long list of nobodies and has lost to the likes of Randy Caballero and Anthony Villarreal..
This is an easy fight to analyze and we don’t need to go in depth. Anything other than a stoppage victory for Santa Cruz should be considered disappointing for the champion.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (46-0) vs. Marcos Maidana (35-4); WBC/WBA Welterweight Title, WBC Junior Middleweight Title
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has recently announced that he will fight two more times before retiring and focusing on his promotional company. He is also claming to be giving the fans the fight they want by boxing Maidana again, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a sizeable number of knowledgeable boxing fans that felt the first fight was close and warranted an immediate rematch.
However, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best pound for pound boxer on the planet and there’s little to say against that. He’s been a champion in several weight classes spanning from the 130 pound division up to the 154 pound division.
Mayweather was a bronze medalist in the 1996 Summer Olympics but many felt he was robbed in 1996. He’s never tasted defeat and has never really come close to being defeated.
His list of defeated opponents includes several hall of famers or future hall of famers. They include Marcos Maidana, Saul Alvarez, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Diego Corrales, Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, and many, many more.
Mayweather is getting older and at the age of thirty seven he doesn’t appear to have many prime ring years left. He should be able to overcome the six year age difference with his one inch height advantage, his three inch reach advantage, and his significant speed advantage and his superb defensive skills.
Maidana holds the clear edge in one area and one area only, and that’s power. He has stopped an impressive thirty one of his opponents while Mayweather has only stopped twenty six. In fact, Mayweather’s last stoppage victory occurred in 2007 against Ricky Hatton.
Maidana’s losses have come to Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, and Andriy Kotelnik. He has defeated the likes of Adrien Broner, Josesito Lopez, Soto Karass, Erik Morales, Demarcus Corley, and Victor Ortiz.
Maidana did well in the first half of his first fight with Mayweather by keeping the fight in tight and applying an unbelievable amount of pressure. But, he faded badly in the second half of the fight when Mayweather did what he does best, adjust on the fly.
Maidana needs to keep up an incredible pace for twelve rounds if he hopes to become the first to defeat Mayweather. That’s highly unlikely.
Expect Mayweather to win again on Saturday night but this time more convincingly, similar to how he defeated Jose Luis Castillo the second time they fought.