Jose Luis Castillo should’ve been awarded the decision over Floyd Mayweather when they fought the first time in 2002.
So much so that HBO house/company judge Harold Lederman scored it 115-111 Castillo and only gave Mayweather four of the 12 rounds the fight went.
Miguel Cotto, albeit it 10 years later, roughed him up and gave Mayweather one of the hardest fights of his stellar career, but Floyd earned in the ring the unanimous decision he was awarded by the judges.
Two years later almost to the day, Marcos Maidana was giving Mayweather perhaps the second toughest fight of his career, but Floyd staged a furious rally during the last third of the bout to seal the majority decision he won.
Then came September 13, 2014 and Mayweather 47-0 (27) fought Maidana 35-5 (31) again in what’s only the second time he’s fought the same opponent twice as a pro. On this night, Maidana was fighting three opponents at the same time and lost to all of them. His first opponent was Mayweather, who was much more focused and purposeful during the rematch than he was during their first confrontation four months ago. The second opponent Maidana was fighting was referee Kenny Bayless, who didn’t allow any inside fighting to evolve, which is as much a part of boxing as body punching is. He constantly made Floyd and Marcos separate whenever they were tied up or in a clinch. And lastly, Maidana was fighting himself being that he was far less effective stylistically this past weekend then he was when they first met in May.
This past Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather looked listless and his combinations didn’t appear to be as strikingly accurate and blunting as they did as recently as his fight with Saul Alvarez a year ago. His offense seemed to lack a big threat and for a notably fluid guy, he has become recognizably brittle. Mayweather seems to have reached the point in his career when whatever natural talent he has starts to work against him. He’s got a first rate boxing brain, but still uses it without quite realizing that he doesn’t have the body to back up some of the things he wants to do. Floyd’s punches looked to lack their usual sting and his combinations were void of their usual imaginative repertoire. This wasn’t one of Floyd’s better nights aethetically and he even said so during his post-fight interview.
Mayweather won a 12-round unanimous decision over Maidana by the scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 115-112. I scored it 10-2 in rounds or 118-110 on points for Mayweather. Floyd controlled the action throughout the bout and was only shook once during the fight. And that came when Maidana landed his best punch of the fight, a right hand to the chin as the bell rang to end the third round. Mayweather was really rocked but his great conditioning enabled him to come out for the fourth round showing no signs of being hurt, and he quickly resumed control of the action.
Here’s more of my takeaway from the fight.
Mayweather looked outstanding for most fighters but it was a little below par for him. As was said here before the fight, Floyd would move a little more this time and he’d get off first with his quick one-twos and right leads. He kept Marcos turning in the corners, and whenever Maidana appeared to be set to either jab or get off, Floyd would either cut loose with a few shots or pull him in, thus forcing Maidana to reset and start over. However, I come away much more disappointed in Maidana than anything else, which really isn’t surprising. It was frustrating watching Maidana standing right in front of Mayweather like a fencer trying to time and calculate his next move, or when it was the right time to advance. That’s called the wait and react game and the slower, less accurate fighter loses the game of tag every time.
Maidana made it easy for Floyd to pick his spots and move to his left or right in order to avoid his sporadic rushes and futile attempts to get close and inside on Mayweather. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Marcos even tried to jab with Floyd without pushing the fight with his feet. Sure, the jab can help him get inside, and that’s where he needed to be in order to turn the boxing match into a fight. The problem was, Maidana left too much space between him and Floyd. This left him a sitting duck and opened the path for Mayweather to get in and out or change directions during the exchanges and that was exactly what Floyd needed to control the fight the way he did.
Either Maidana just isn’t strong enough to force the fight the way he needs to or his corner never let him know that every second you’re not moving your feet towards him, you’re losing. I think that Maidana is a very limited fighter. I got the sense that Robert Garcia was giving him the right instructions in the corner, but that Maidana couldn’t make things happen. It seemed that part of the problem is that he’s not a really physically strong guy. He’s a nice puncher, but he’s not big enough to push people around. But as we saw, he does have enough strength to push Mayweather around, but he was leery of that because doing that is what drained his battery during the first eight rounds of their first fight.
Maidana was really caught in a style conundrum going into the Mayweather rematch. If he fights like a caveman, he can make Floyd uncomfortable and dictate that Mayweather is forced to fight under duress instead of boxing. Only he can’t keep that up for 12-rounds because it takes too much out of him. His other choice was to dial back some of his aggression and pressure. That’s the route he chose for the rematch and that enabled Mayweather to eat him up during the many lulls of the bout. I’m not saying Maidana would’ve won if fought more aggressively and applied more pressure. What I am saying is Mayweather was there to be pushed to the edge of the cliff but Maidana didn’t go about trying to do it the right way strategically. The last thing Floyd wanted was a rough and tumble bout. Sure, Maidana tried to make it ugly with his rough-house tactics. But he wasn’t persistent enough in his aggression, and when he did pick it up in spurts, he was too reckless and wild. He seldom nailed Mayweather with punches he didn’t see.
It’s easy to say if Maidana was more aggressive he might’ve won the fight. But that’s cookbook logic. It sounds great in theory and words, but that’s not application. Had Maidana been more aggressive and caveman like, he probably would’ve been in the fight more. Then again he just may have been knocked out. At his best Marcos Maidana can compete with Floyd Mayweather, he just isn’t good enough to really come close to beating him. And it wouldn’t matter if Freddie Roach or Nacho Beristain were his trainer. The only thing that can be said with certainty is Maidana’s choice of ring strategy dramatically lessened his changes to stay with Mayweather let alone beat him.
Floyd is not quite the maestro he once was, but more than anything else it was Maidana’s poor execution and strategy that paved the way for Mayweather’s resounding one sided victory.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com