Floyd Mayweather, arguably the greatest defensive boxer ever, needed every weapon in his offensive arsenal Saturday in Las Vegas to outpunch Marcos Maidana, win a majority decision, and remain unbeaten.
Mayweather, pummeled like we’ve never seen him pummeled, perhaps was trailing as late as the eighth round, but he outslugged Maidana over the final four rounds to cement the decision and add Maidana’s WBA welterweight title to his WBC belt. The scorecards read 117-111, 116-112, 114-114.
Mayweather landed his right cross at will, scoring on 178 of 274 power shots and connecting on 54 percent of his punches overall despite loading up for a knockdown with every other punch.
In other words, Mayweather fought Maidana’s kind of fight instead of playing it safe as he always has. “That’s what the fans wanted to see,” Mayweather said. “Tonight I wanted to stand there and fight.”
Plenty of observers thought Maidana won, but they were overlooking the damage Mayweather (46-0) was inflicting as he began to outgun Maidana during the middle of the fight.
Maidana (35-4) came up big early on. With Maidana, who ballooned from 146.5 pounds Friday to 165 Saturday, winning the first, fourth and fifth rounds, it was easy to get carried away by the drama. Maidana also had his moments in the second and third rounds, in which Mayweather landed the more impressive howitzers. The myth was building.
Mayweather was in real danger of losing. He had sustained a nasty cut on his right eyelid from an accidental butt in the fourth round. “For two rounds, I couldn’t see,” Mayweather said.
Not necessarily a lame excuse. Mayweather won six of the final seven rounds.
“A true champion can make adjustments to anything,” Mayweather said.
Maidana brought out the best in Mayweather. We wanted to see him challenged. He was challenged. He rose to the occasion, and he deserves credit for it.