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Mayweather likely to thwart Maidana and his ‘puncher’s chance’

Floyd Mayweather, left, weighed in Friday at 146 pounds, and Marcos Maidana weighed 146.5.
Floyd Mayweather, left, weighed in Friday at 146 pounds, and Marcos Maidana weighed 146.5.Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Marcos Maidana’s “puncher’s chance” against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their WBC/WBA welterweight title fight Saturday is not worth a wager, unless you consider the $65 Showtime pay-per-view fee to be a gamble.

Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) has been just about unhittable throughout his career, and he should have no trouble frustrating Maidana – for the most part, anyway. It appears Maidana (35-3, 31 knockouts) will do what all of Mayweather’s opponents do: chase him in vain.

“Everybody keeps asking who is going to crack the May-Vinci Code,” Mayweather said this week in the buildup to the bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “This guy has a good uppercut, this guy has a good jab. . . I still always find a way to win.”

Still, if anyone has the one-punch knockout power to surprise Mayweather, it’s Maidana, who clouted highly touted Adrien Broner early and often in December as he pulled off a spectacular upset. He seems to be expecting more of the same against Mayweather, although the longtime 140-pounder perhaps is not allowing for Mayweather’s larger frame.

“ I’m prepared for whatever he brings,” said Maidana, who is from Argentina and is sort of a throwback to 1960s-‘70s heavyweight Oscar Bonavena. “If he wants to trade blows, we’ll trade blows. If he wants to run, we can handle that, too. We’re prepared for everything.”

He’d better be prepared to be abused. The best way to beat a slugger is to attack him, and Mayweather is determined to do more of that as his play-it-safe career winds down. This is the third bout in his six-bout, $300 million deal with Showtime that began last year at this time against Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero and continued last September with a more action-packed victory over Canelo Alvarez.

“I think styles make fights. I’m looking to win and I’m looking to win very impressively,” Mayweather said. “I’m pretty sure he’s coming straight ahead, and we’ll see how the fight plays out.”

You can’t blame Mayweather or Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza for gambling that Maidana will make Saturday’s fight one of Mayweather’s most exciting.

“Why is this an attractive fight for the network? It’s very simple,” Espinoza said. “The combination of the caliber of competition that he’s faced, the team that he has behind him, his knockout power and, above all, his relentlessness. As we all saw in the Adrien Broner fight, there is a ferocity and a relentlessness that Marcos Maidana fights with. I think that’s the biggest asset that he brings to the table for this fight. It is for that reason, and almost that reason alone, that I’m very, very excited.”