It was a close one to be sure and Marcos Maidana likely deserves a rematch against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Whether or not we’ll ever see it and whether the outcome would be any different is a matter for debate.
Mayweather received his 46th victory without a loss last night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, but there were enough close rounds that left the crowd of 16,268 booing when the official scores of judges Burt Clements (117-111) and Dave Moretti (116-112) who had it for Mayweather were announced. Michael Pernick had it even at 114-114 which was a much more realistic version of the events that transpired.
This writer also scored it 114-114 as did The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The Associated Press, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and The Ring magazine all scored the bout 115-113 in favor of Mayweather. Most agreed that the official scores of Clements and Moretti were off the mark as the fight was much closer than their scorecards indicated. Mayweather landed only 9 more total punches than Maidana over twelve hotly contested rounds.
Mayweather said last night he will fight in September and also claimed he is open to facing Maidana again if that’s what it comes to. The Argentine was aggressive throughout and he opened a cut over Mayweather’s right eye in the fourth round that bothered the pound-for-pound king. Overall, Maidana followed his fight plan to the letter, but he seemed to run out of gas after the eighth round as on this writer’s card Mayweather swept 3 of the last 4 rounds.
A few observations in regards to Mayweather’s performance:
Mayweather fought in spurts last night. There were times when he would take part of a round off and lay against the ropes with his hands held high. This is not a new tactic for him, but last night he was less effective fighting off the ropes. Maidana was able to get through and land punches to the head and body. At 37-years-old Mayweather does not seem comfortable or able to fight three minutes of every round. It is reminiscent of when an aging Muhammad Ali laid against the ropes and fought in spurts later in his career against Ron Lyle, Jimmy Young, Ken Norton and Earnie Shavers.
There were times that Mayweather was out of position, which is rare for him. On two occasions in the fifth round he looked as though he was going to throw a punch and did not. It was odd to see that happen as he is typically in perfect position both offensively and defensively.
After the eighth round Mayweather got back on his toes, kept the fight closer to the center of the ring and landed the cleaner, sharper blows. He seemed to become better as the bout wore on while Maidana at the same time seemed to fade and throw less often.
It is difficult to say at this point whether all of the outside distractions affected Mayweather or whether he is beginning to show his age. Maidana is seven years younger and an extremely awkward fighter who is tough to look good against. Mayweather’s much publicized break-up with his fiancée likely made it difficult for him to focus on training and the fight itself.
My belief is that if a rematch occurs Mayweather would likely soundly thrash Maidana. Two reasons I say that are because last night was the type of fight for Maidana that was the fight of his life. He trained like never before and was at a mental and physical peak. I say it is unlikely he can replicate that form in a rematch. For Mayweather, last night was another day at the office for him and he was just a bit flat. In a rematch he would correct the mistakes he made and be sharper. When Mayweather came forward he was in complete control and it was only when he backed up that Maidana had any real success.
No question it was a close fight. Under no circumstance do I feel that Maidana deserved the win. At best for him he won 6 rounds, at worst he won 5 rounds. It was that close of a fight and it was the closest fight Mayweather has had since he beat Oscar De La Hoya by split-decision in May 2007.