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Three Thoughts: Mayweather's win over Maidana much closer than expected

Marcos Maidana (left) felt his loss to Floyd Mayweather was an 'injustice.' (Eric Jamison/AP) Marcos Maidana (left) and Floyd Mayweather could meet again for an epic rematch. (Eric Jamison/AP)

LAS VEGAS -- Three thoughts on Floyd Mayweather’s majority decision win over Marcos Maidana:

This was a tough fight

Few reporters -- including this one -- gave Maidana much of a chance coming into the fight. His slow feet and free swinging ways seemed tailor-made for Mayweather, who had dismantled the bigger, stronger Canelo Alvarez just last year. But in front of 16,268 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Maidana was relentless, attacking Mayweather from the opening bell, muscling him against the ropes, winging away with chopping shots. He came in with a huge size advantage (he rehydrated to 165-pounds Saturday afternoon, whereas Mayweather weighed in at 148) and he used every pound of it. Like Jose Luis Castillo and Miguel Cotto before him, Maidana was able to make Mayweather uncomfortable and capitalize on his ability to keep the fight on the inside. An accidental head butt in round four affected Mayweather’s vision -- ”I couldn’t see for two rounds,” Mayweather said -- and despite taking some heavy shots Maidana just kept coming. In the 38 Mayweather fights CompuBox has tracked, Maidana landed the most punches (221) of any opponent.

Still, Mayweather did more than enough to win. Mayweather was far more accurate (230 of 426 punches landed, 54 percent) than Maidana (221 of 858, 26 percent) and the eye-test showed Mayweather landing the majority of the cleaner shots. Give Maidana credit: He would not be denied. He never stopped coming forward, never stopped attacking, but so often Mayweather was there to beat him back with sharp, accurate punches. Two judges saw it as a clear decision for Mayweather (116-112, 117-111) while a third scored it a draw (114-114).

SI.com scored the fight 116-112 for Mayweather.

Is Floyd slowing down?

It’s a question a lot of ringside reporters were asking throughout the fight. Maidana is a top-five welterweight but a younger Mayweather--even a Mayweather of two years ago--would have escaped the ropes faster. Mayweather allowed Maidana to punish him with chopping body shots and consistently push the fight into the corners. Mayweather claimed he wanted to give the fans the fight they wanted but it’s clear Mayweather’s legs were sluggish. At 37, Mayweather still maintains his defensive brilliance (try finding an exchange where Mayweather didn’t keep his right hand up) and his reflexes remain sharp but Maidana, perhaps more than any opponent, made the 37-year old Mayweather look his age.

So...rematch?

Maidana wants it (“I feel this is an injustice,” Maidana said) and Mayweather is open to it. The fact is that if Mayweather wants to fight again in September, his options are limited. Amir Khan scored an impressive decision win over Luis Collazo on the undercard but Khan’s commitment to Ramadan in July makes him an unlikely candidate to fight in mid-September. Beyond that, fights with Danny Garcia or Lucas Matthysse don’t have much sizzle. A showdown with Miguel Cotto could be appealing if Cotto can take the middleweight title from Sergio Martinez next month. Cotto-Mayweather generated 1.5 million pay per view buys in 2012 and could do a lot more if a 160-pound title is on the line.

And stop: A fight with Manny Pacquiao isn't happening.

A rematch with Maidana though could be the simplest route. The Twitter-sphere was abuzz with pay per view buyers outraged by the decision and Maidana’s fan friendly style will get Showtime executives on board for a rematch quickly. Maidana took short money for the fight (a guaranteed $1.5 million to Floyd’s $32 million) and a decent pay bump will get him back, too. The guess here is that Mayweather waits to see the outcome of Cotto-Martinez before making any decisions on his next foe.

- Chris Mannix

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