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Crash Course: Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana

SI Now: Mannix: Marcos Maidana has no shot at beating Mayweather
On Wednesday's SI Now, senior writer Chris Mannix discusses why Marcos Maidana deserves this fight and why he has no chance at beating Mayweather.

Background

On Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather, the reigning WBC welterweight champion, will attempt to unify the 147-pound titles against WBA titleholder Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (Showtime PPV, $64.99)

The 37-year old Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO's), No. 1 in SI.com's pound-for-pound rankings, is fighting for the third time in the year and in the third fight of a six-fight, 30-month contract with Showtime that could be worth in excess of $200 million. Mayweather has been surprisingly active, fulfilling a promise to fight twice last year. Saturday's bout is expected to be followed by another fight this year. Mayweather will earn at least $32 million for this one.

Maidana (35-3) is one of the hardest hitters in boxing. Last December, he stunned undefeated Adrien Broner, a Mayweather protege, knocking Broner down twice en route to a unanimous decision win. At 30, Maidana is in his prime. In his sixth fight at welterweight, Maidana is fully comfortable fighting in the 147-pound weight class. Maidana is guaranteed $1.5 million for the fight.

In addition to Showtime's Pay-Per-View telecast, the fight is being shown in HD at 520 movie theaters across the United States.

Overview

Mayweather -- a world champion at 130, 135, 140, 147 and 154 pounds -- continued his reign as the most dominant fighter in the sport last September with a one-sided win over junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez. Against arguably the best 154-pound fighter in the world, Mayweather was brilliant, outboxing Alvarez all over the ring. While Alvarez's game plan was flawed -- he didn't attempt to be physical with Mayweather as Miguel Cotto had in 2012, preferring to try to win a tactical fight -- Mayweather befuddled him with his speed and elusiveness throughout.

Mayweather isn't showing many signs of slowing down. Whereas most fighters -- including Mayweather's longtime nemesis, Manny Pacquiao -- slow down as they get deeper into their 30's, Mayweather continues to look sharp. A career spent fighting a defensive style has preserved his mind and reflexes, and a superior ability to adapt as his athleticism has declined has kept him at the top of the sport.

If you eliminate Pacquiao and Tim Bradley, Maidana is the most credentialed challenger at 147 pounds. He has won four fights in a row since a lopsided decision defeat to Devon Alexander in 2012, all impressively. After stopping Jesus Soto Karass, Angel Martinez and Josesito Lopez, Maidana outclassed Broner, a rising star and a highly ranked pound-for-pound fighter. It was a signature win and it gave Maidana the credibility boost he needed to leapfrog Amir Khan in the Mayweather sweepstakes and earn the fight.

Still, Maidana fights a style that is easy to figure out. He has plenty of power and throws punches from all angles, but he lacks high-level hand and foot speed and is easy to hit. While Maidana has a better recent resume than Khan, there are many who believe the speedy Khan would have been a tougher test.

Matchup

It's speed and skill against blunt force. Mayweather was flawless in his win over Alvarez and has not been seriously challenged -- if a convincing win can be considered challenged -- since beating Miguel Cotto in 2012. Mayweather's defensive instincts are unparalleled. When he tucks his chin behind his shoulder, he becomes difficult, if not impossible, to hit twice. His legs aren't what they used to be, yet in recent fights he has been standing in the pocket, going toe-to-toe and even walking down fighters. He still counterpunches with speed and precision, using the jab to establish tempo and distance and a piston-rod right hand to keep opponents from advancing.

Maidana's advantage is his power. He has knocked out 88.5 percent of his opponents and has legitimate one-punch pop. He is something of a whirling dervish in the ring, throwing his power shots from all angles with a willingness to take a punch or two to deliver one of his own. Expect Maidana to try to work Mayweather's body early and hope to wear him down in close quarters.

Still, Maidana's punches are slow and often easy to see coming. And despite the theory that pressure bothers Mayweather (see Jose Luis Castillo's performance in 2002) no one has ever put enough on him to beat him.

 
 
Last Five Fights
Mayweather Maidana
9/14/13 Saul Alvarez W MD 12 12/14/13 Adrian Broner W UD 12
5/4/13 Robert Guerrero W UD 12 6/8/13 Josesito Lopez W TKO 6
5/5/12 Miguel Cotto W UD 12 12/12/12 Angel Martinez W KO 3
9/17/11 Victor Ortiz W KO 4 9/15/12 Jesus Karass TKO 8
5/1/10 Shane Mosley W UD 12 2/25/12 Devon Alexander L UD 10
Career Record Career Record
 
Tale of the Tape
Mayweather
vs.
Maidana
Feb. 24, 1977
Birth Date
July 17, 1983
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Birthplace
Santa Fe, Argentina
Las Vegas, Nev.
Residence
Buenos Aires
45-0 (26 KO)
Record
35-3 (31 KO)
Orthodox
Stance
Orthodox
*
Weight
*
5'8"
Height
5'7"
72"
Reach
69"
Official weights announced at Friday's final weigh-in.
   
The Tweet Beat
 
 

Join the conversation about Mayweather-Maidana on Twitter. Track the hashtag #TheMoment to see who's tweeting what about Saturday's fight.

· @FloydMayweather (Floyd Mayweather)

· @chinomaidana (Marcos Maidana)

· @GoldenBoyBoxing (Golden Boy Promotions)

· @MrBrianKenny (Showtime host)

· @SHOsports (Showtime Sports)

· @ChrisMannixSI (SI.com's Chris Mannix)

· @KevinI (Kevin Iole, Yahoo! boxing writer)

· @timdalhberg (Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press boxing columnist)

· @orangerose (Gary Andrew Poole, Time contributing writer)

· @GarethBOXUFC (Gareth A. Davies, Daily Telegraph boxing columnist)

· @NYPost_Willis (George Willis, New York Post boxing columnist)

· @latimespugmire (Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times boxing columnist)

· @kieranmulvaney (Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters and ESPN boxing columnist)

· @danrafaelespn (Dan Rafael, ESPN boxing writer)

· @mgmgrand (MGM Grand Hotel)

 
 

The Odds

According to Las Vegas oddsmaker Bovada.lv, Mayweather is an 11-1 favorite. Maidana is a heavy underdog at 13-2.

Prediction

This is a Mayweather whitewash. Promoters have pushed the narrative that after beating Mayweather's protege, Adrien Broner, Maidana was ready to knock off the real thing. But Broner is to Mayweather what a Single-A prospect is to an MLB All-Star. Mayweather is stronger than Broner, faster and throws more punches. When Maidana comes forward, Mayweather will beat him back. When Maidana swings wildly, Mayweather will simply step out of the way. Maidana is tough and won't go down easily. But he won't win many -- if any -- rounds, either.

On The Undercard

Amir Khan (28-3) vs. Luis Collazo (35-5), 12 rounds for a minor welterweight title
Adrien Broner (27-1) vs. Carlos Molina (17-1-1), 10 rounds, junior welterweights
J'Leon Love (17-0) vs. Marcon Antonio Periban, 10 rounds, super middleweights
Undercard Grade: B

Programming Notes

Brian Kenny will host the Showtime PPV telecast, with Mauro Ranallo calling the action, Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi serving as expert analysts and Jim Gray and Heidi Androl reporting.

Veteran referee Tony Weeks will be the third man in the ring. The ringside judges are Dave Moretti (Nevada), Burt Clements (Nevada) and Michael Pernick (Florida). Moretti -- a veteran of more than 100 world championship fights -- was ringside for Mayweather's win over Alvarez, scoring the fight 116-112 for Mayweather. Clements will work his third Mayweather fight. Clements worked the Omar Figueroa-Jerry Belmontes fight last weekend, scoring it 116-112 for Figueroa. Pernick will be scoring his first Mayweather fight. Last month, Pernick worked the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley fight, scoring it 116-112 for Pacquiao.

More SI.com Coverage

Follow our live blog of the main event on Saturday night, and our Three Things We Learned analysis shortly after the fight concludes.

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