LAS VEGAS – Three thoughts from Floyd Mayweather’s victory by unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana:
1. An easy, and predictable, win
In 2002, Mayweather, then a rising young lightweight, won a hotly contested decision against Jose Luis Castillo. The fight was so close the two agreed to meet in an immediate rematch, a rematch Mayweather won handily. Mayweather’s rivalry with Maidana, if we choose to call it that, is eerily reminiscent. Granted, the first fight wasn’t all that close. Despite Maidana’s protests, Mayweather won comfortably in the eyes of most. But it was entertaining enough that, when coupled with a diminishing number of options, Showtime signed off on a rematch. And like it was against Castillo, Mayweather won going away.
Mayweather was masterful, boxing beautifully, correcting a problem fighting off the ropes in the first fight by deftly moving off them quickly in this one. For every bull rush by Maidana, Mayweather had a quick counter. For every chopping overhand Maidana threw, Mayweather responded with a check hook. Maidana was never able to build momentum, was never able to develop a sustained attack. In the 10th round, Maidana was docked a point for leveling Mayweather with a forearm. The only drama came in the eighth, when Maidana appeared to take a bite out of Mayweather’s left glove. Mayweather said his fingers were numb after the alleged bite, which prevented him from throwing the left hand effectively for the rest of the fight.
The scores were reasonably close (115-112, 116-111, 116-111) but they were not a true reflection of the fight. This was a Mayweather whitewash, a thorough beating many expected.
2. Maidana didn’t deserve this fight
Last May, Maidana was a worthy challenger. He was coming off a dramatic win over Adrien Broner and was a legitimate titleholder in the 147-pound division.
This time? The selection of Maidana wasn’t so much about giving the fans what they wanted, as Mayweather suggested this week, but because Mayweather has dried up the pool of available options. Manny Pacquiao or Tim Bradley would have been more compelling opponents, but their affiliation with Top Rank made fighting them non-starters. What fans were left with was Maidana, who was, as expected, overmatched in his second try.
3. Don’t expect Manny Pacquiao next
Showtime’s Jim Gray asked the question: What about Pacquiao? And Mayweather, as usual, offered a vague answer. “I’m going to talk to my team and see what the future holds,” Mayweather said. “If the Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen.”
The Pacquiao fight has presented itself. Repeatedly. After initially balking at Mayweather’s laundry list of demands (random blood testing, a financial split in his favor) Pacquiao has publicly agreed to all of them. But Mayweather continues to show little interest in making the fight. The guarantees in his Showtime contract have raked in at least $30 million for each of his first four fights, and they will likely make him just as much in each of the next two. He has little incentive to bend over backward to make a Pacquiao fight.
Truthfully, while there is still a market for Mayweather-Pacquiao, to many in the industry making the fight in May 2015 would be disappointing. This fight should have happened in 2010 or 2011, when both fighters were in their prime. Pacquiao has slowed down and Mayweather, while still elusive, is far from the fighter who destroyed opponents early in his career. Mayweather-Pacquiao would still do big business, would still exceed two million pay-per-view buys. But the days of it determining the best welterweight of this era are long gone.