When the swarmer/attacker legitimately loses to the boxer or better technician the first time, and this applies to the first Mayweather-Maidana fight, the rematch is usually a rerun and easier for the boxer.
Conversely, when the swarmer beats the boxer the first time, it’s not out of the ordinary for the boxer to win the rematch. Two of the most high profile boxer vs. swarmer/fighter match-ups in history unfolded just that way.
“Smokin” Joe Frazier conclusively beat Muhammad Ali in the “Fight Of The Century” back in March of 1971. However, in their 1974 rematch, Ali adjusted and used the ring more to move and box along with tying Frazier up on the inside and went on to reverse the decision loss he suffered against Joe the first time they met.
Six years later in the “Brawl In Montreal” Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran lured and prodded Sugar Ray Leonard into trying to beat him by fighting it out and trading with him. Like Frazier versus Ali the first time, Duran overwhelmed Leonard and won the fight via a close decision. When they met five months later, Leonard, having learned from the colossal mistake he made trying to kick Duran’s butt the first time, used the ring and boxed Duran. This resulted in Duran becoming frustrated and ultimately withdrawing from the bout.
Boxing history is replete with examples of the swarmer catching the boxer by surprise in the first fight and forcing him to fight and trade and not allowing or giving the boxer the time or distance needed to box. In the rematch, if the boxer happens to possess a dependable chin, they’re able to adjust and neutralize the aggression, pressure and power of the swarmer/attacker.
Fighting as a swarmer is the toughest way to make a living in professional boxing. If you notice, there have only been four great swarmers in heavyweight history – Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson. Swarmers/attackers have to be able to punch, cut off the ring, possess endless stamina and must be both physically and mentally tough. And since they get hit on the way in, they need tough skin. Swarmers are the least versatile of any style fighter. If they face an opponent who they can’t track down and work over on the inside, they’re dead in the water. If they confront an opponent who can hurt them from the outside before they can close the distance and force it on the inside, they’re dead in the water. In addition to that, if they have an opponent in front of them who isn’t bothered by their punch and can take whatever they dish out and have the capacity to come back and fight after they’ve beat on them with regularity, again, they’re dead in the water.
When Marcos Maidana 35-4 (31) fought Floyd Mayweather 46-0 (26) this past May, he was stunned and blunted often by Floyd before he was able to get inside and work. And when he was able to get inside and cut loose with his looping bombs, he wasn’t able to hurt Floyd or do enough damage to the point where Mayweather couldn’t box, pot shot and pick his spots when he needed to. In short, what we saw was, Mayweather was able to inflict some hurt on the outside before Marcos got inside. He was also able to handle and weather Maidana’s best when he did get through with something big. And we also watched Mayweather rally during the last third of the fight after Maidana had some big rounds working him over against the ropes and in the corners. When it was over Mayweather was the benefactor of a 12-round majority decision that should’ve been unanimous.
Earlier this year we saw heavyweight Bermane Stiverne beat Chris Arreola, who fights as an attacker, easier and more conclusively in their rematch. Arreola was picked apart the first time they fought and promised to be more prepared and ready for the rematch. Only that was a pipe dream because there was nothing Chris could do stylistically to reverse the first fight. Stiverne was able to take his punch and he was the superior fighter and technician. Without the capability of hurting Stiverne, Arreola didn’t own a single tool needed to beat him. There was nothing he could do because his pressure, punch and aggression couldn’t break Stiverne’s boxing and quicker hands.
So I ask: what can Maidana do in the rematch against Mayweather that he didn’t do the first time? I’ll answer…Other than more of what didn’t work the first time, nothing.
Without ever seeing Maidana before, Mayweather was able to handle his power and aggression. Maidana isn’t going to carry a bigger punch into the ring with him when they meet for the second time in September. Now what? Maybe he’ll try to be more aggressive and throw more punches – which will most likely open him up to getting hit more than he did the first time. Like he did in his rematch with swarmer Jose Luis Castillo, who should’ve received the decision in their first fight because he really did win it, Mayweather will box smarter and make his punches count more this time against Maidana.
Floyd will benefit greatly from having already seen Marcos. Maidana’s unorthodox style and punching angles will now look familiar and be easier for Mayweather to anticipate before they’re even sent. Mayweather now knows he can stand up to the best Maidana has – and Maidana knows it too. The reality is, unless Mayweather becomes an old fighter on the night of the fight, and there’s no indication that’s even plausible, or Maidana has Panama Lewis wrap his hands, there’s not one single thing Maidana can do differently or better when they fight again. Even if Mayweather consents to the so-called myth of the puncher’s gloves that Marcos wants to wear in this fight, which is more of a figment in Maidana’s mind. And that’s the biggest reason why Mayweather will object to it.
Mayweather got slightly surprised the first time (and he may also have taken Maidana a little lightly), and there’s no chance that he won’t be ready in the rematch. If he were even slightly worried, he wouldn’t have taken the fight; we know he’s just about the best matchmaker in the game. Give Floyd his due for giving Maidana the rematch he deserves. Marcos earned it with his showing in their first fight along with the compensation he’ll receive. However, this fight won’t be as hard for Mayweather as the first fight was, and Floyd realizes that.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com