LAS VEGAS-It was supposed to be easier for Floyd Mayweather facing Marcos Maidana a second time but in reality it was a continuation of their first confrontation, with a big assist from referee Kenny Bayless on Saturday.
The social networks were ablaze with complaints about Bayless, who allowed Mayweather to hold, fire low blows and would break them up whenever Maidana had the advantage. But in reality, it’s a fight. Even if Maidana bit him, there were infractions aplenty.
Mayweather (47-0, 26 Kos) continued his stranglehold on boxing with another unanimous decision win over Maidana (35-5, 31 Kos) in their rematch at the MGM Grand. Altogether they fought 24 rounds but once again, it was no walk in the park before 16,144 fans.
Maidana came out smoking and did not allow Mayweather to set his usual rhythm. In reality, it was the resumption of their previous fight and basically you could call it round 13.
Round 2 was when Mayweather was able to control the flow with his side to side movement to create distance from Maidana. But it was something that at 37 he couldn’t do forever and Maidana stalked him waiting like a hungry lion.
Mayweather seemed to be confident he could knock out Maidana but after absorbing some big blows, especially in round three with the Argentine connecting flush with a counter right at the end of the bell. Even in the next round Mayweather seemed to be in a slight fog as Maidana continued the assault, blasting away like a psycho windmill.
Finally, Mayweather seemed to regain his senses and the jabs and counters to the head and body began to flow. For the next several rounds it was a Mayweather highlight show and infomercial on how to beat a brawler. But Maidana had some tricks in his bag too.
During one of Mayweather’s numerous clinches – that he was never warned for by the referee – Maidana was accused of biting Mayweather’s left glove. He ran around the ring complaining vigorously about the infraction and it took a while to resolve as fans and the media sat puzzled.
“He bit me,” said Mayweather. “We were tangled up and he bit me.”
Later, in round 10, another Mayweather clinch took place and Maidana pushed until his rival fell down. The referee took a point away from Maidana but never warned or took points away from Mayweather for elbows and repeated low blows. Maidana flung some elbows too.
Mayweather fired some more low blows in round 11 and time was taken to allow Maidana to recover. But despite more Mayweather low blows there were no points deducted. Maidana was the aggressor and landed more frequently with his wild rights and lefts.
The final round saw Mayweather dance and skim around the ring as Maidana chased him and cornered him on a few occasion. The Argentine landed a few blows as Mayweather was content with surviving the fight. No illegal blows were fired.
“I felt in great condition. I never felt tired,” Maidana said.
Three judges scored it for Mayweather 115-112, 116-111 twice. It was good scoring in a foul-infested fight. But Mayweather clearly was the victor.
Maidana felt otherwise.
“I think I was the aggressor and attacking all the time,” he said dejectedly. “There’s no reason for another fight.”
Mayweather said he’s open to a fight with Manny Pacquiao “if it presents itself.”
WBC junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 Kos) needed a round and 55 seconds to figure out his old sparring partner Manuel Roman (17-3-3, 6 Kos) and take him out with a counter right cross that sent him sprawling. Referee Robert Byrd counted out Roman who tried to get up, but could not.
“I did what I had to do to give the fans a great fight,” said Santa Cruz. “I did my job.”
Roman, who had sparred with Santa Cruz in the past, had no excuses.
“I got caught cold,” he said. “Nothing else to say.”
Santa Cruz has moved up to win world titles in two weight divisions and seeks another against feared Cuban champion Guillermo Rigondeaux who holds a featherweight world title.
“I’m coming for you Rigondeaux,” Santa Cruz said. “I’m not scared of any fighter.”
Soto vs. Molina
Former champion Humberto “Zorrita” Soto (65-8. 35 Kos) was not shy about laying some leather on the always dangerous John Molina (27-5, 22 Kos) in the first round. The first saw Soto score easily as Molina seemed to be measuring his power.
The second round saw Molina open up the guns and his plan for the fight. A sort of counter-attack bomber style seemed to work effectively for Molina, whose punches resounded like gun shots throughout the arena.
From rounds three until the end was a mix of head shots, counters and low blows that seemed to go in Soto’s favor. During a furious exchange after the bell, Soto tumbled down from a Molina right hand missile. It was not ruled a knockdown.
After three low blows by Molina in different rounds, a pair of points were deducted from the Southern Californian in rounds six and seven. But the second low blow sent Soto to his knees for several minutes and looked to be a legal blow. Referee Jay Nady seemed to lose control of the fight after that as punches after the bell took place in numerous rounds. In two of the rounds Nady was hit in the back and in the front from blows by both fighters. Finally in the 10th and final round, Nady deducted a point from Soto for a low blow.
Soto was ruled the winner by unanimous decision 96-91, 95-92 twice.
Perro vs. De La Rosa
It was supposed to be somewhat competitive but James De La Rosa (23-2, 13 Kos) jumped out in front immediately and sent Alfredo “Perro”Angulo (22-5, 18 Kos) tumbling along the ropes with two left hands in round two.
De La Rosa employed a hit and run style at times against a seemingly slower Angulo, whose punches and movement seemed listless. During the second half of the fight Angulo seemed to find more spark in his punches. Twice he hurt De La Rosa in round nine first with a left hook, then a rocking right hand in close. The Texas fighter held on and survived.
“I wanted to put on a good show in the end. That was my fault,” said De La Rosa, who is Mexican-American. “That’s the Mexican in me.”
It was Angulo’s third consecutive loss.
“It was a good show. I thought he would run more but I never under-estimated him,” said Angulo. “Two Mexicans always put on a good show.”
The scores were 98-90, 96-92, 99-89.
Titere vs. Bey
IBF lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez (20-2-1, 10 Kos) survived the gauntlet set by Top Rank but not the Mayweather Promotions card and faced a hometown fighter in Mickey Bey Jr. (21-1-1, 10 Kos) in a battle of counter punchers. But Vazquez lost in a bizarre split-decision. One judge gave him one round.
Vazquez is a master of circling in an almost hypnotic motion then suddenly attacking. It led to several clashes of heads including a cut on the Mexican’s hairline. Midway through the fight Vazquez began charging. But in the end, despite one guy making the fight and Bey seldom attacking, two judges scored it in favor of the Las Vegas-based fighter 119-109, 115-113 for Bey and 115-113 for Vazquez. It was a weird ending especially with one judge giving only one round for Vazquez.
“It was a good fight, he is a dignified opponent,” said Vazquez. “I thought the fight was close and I thought I won.”
Bey seldom attacked and resorted to holding the entire fight.
“I am the number one lightweight now,” said Bey. “I beat him with one hand.”