LAS VEGAS-Floyd “Money” Mayweather sweated out a close victory over the rugged fighting Argentine Marcos “Chino” Maidana by majority decision on Saturday.
A rematch may be in store.
Few expected the fight to be as closely fought but Mayweather (46-0, 26 Kos) had probably never seen before the overhand blows that Maidana (35-4, 31 Kos) used with impunity before 16,268 fans at the MGM Garden Arena. It took the clever WBC and WBA welterweight champion half of the fight to figure out where to duck and move.
“He really came to fight,” said Mayweather, 37. “He had an awkward style, he was a difficult guy to fight.”
The clumsy looking but effective style of Maidana scored in the first two rounds with overhand rights that looked like scorpion stings and landed often on the back of Mayweather’s head. By the third round Mayweather began to find the mark for his patented right hand leads, but Maidana seemed unaffected. In many ways it reminded some of the Ricardo Mayorga-Vernon Forrest fights a decade earlier.
During some wild exchanges that saw elbows flying and overhand rights in round four, Mayweather emerged with a cut over his left eye. It had been years that the Las Vegas boxer had suffered a cut. He’s rarely hit but he was confused by the awkwardness of Maidana who landed more blows than any previous opponent, at 221 blows connected.
Mayweather finally scored a clear cut round in the sixth with some perfectly timed right counters and several left hooks. But Maidana still remained dangerous and was able to score too.
Flashes of the Mayweather speed were apparent in the seventh round as he fired a four-punch combination and slipped away easily. Maidana fired back but his blows were stymied by Mayweather’s defense.
Mayweather began to work the body with stiff jabs and some left hooks. It seemed to bother the Argentine, who backed off a bit. From that point on Mayweather began to control the fight from the outside with pinpoint counter rights and lefts. Maidana never allowed him to feel comfortable and kept the fight interesting.
“I was in a tough competitive fight,” Mayweather said. “I take nothing away from him. I couldn’t see for two rounds after the head butt. Real champions adapt to anything.”
One judge scored it a draw 114-114, but two others saw Mayweather winning 117-111 and 116-112.
“I thought I won,” said Maidana. “He did not fight like a man like I expected him to.”
Mayweather said he would be interested in a rematch with the rugged Argentinian.
“If the fans want to see it we can do it again,” said Mayweather.
Unlike Broner, who never was able to figure out Maidana, the Las Vegas speedster kept the fight in the middle of the ring and shot rights to the head and body. It kept Maidana from attempting bull rushes as in the first half of the fight.
Richard Schaefer, CEO for Golden Boy Promotions, said it was the most blows ever landed against Mayweather in a prize fight.
Mayweather, considered the undisputed best fighter in boxing at any weight class, is approaching the record of Rocky Marciano as the most wins by a world champion from the U.S. without ever experiencing a loss in his career.
United Kingdom’s Amir “King” Khan (29-3, 19 Kos) showed how to win the Mayweather sweepstakes by dominating former welterweight world champion Luis Collazo (35-6, 18 Kos) with three knockdowns in winning by unanimous decision.
“He was pretty awkward,” said Khan about the left-handed Collazo of Brooklyn. “People want to see a fight between Mayweather and me. Styles make fights. I beat him (Collazo) convincingly.”
All three judges scored it for Khan at 119-104 twice and 117-106
Adrien “The Problem” Broner (28-1, 22 Kos) defeated Carlos Molina (17-2, 7 Kos) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds. It was his first time fighting at junior welterweight.
“It was just a sparring match on TV,” said Broner, who is often compared to Mayweather.
Molina was very on point with his response.
“I thought I stayed in there too much,” said Molina, who had not fought in 18 months since losing to Amir Khan in 2012. “He was tricky to time the jab.”
Speedy J’Leon Love (18-0, 10 Kos) survived a brutal fifth round which saw him floored with several big blows from Mexico’s Marco Antonio Periban (20-2-1, 13 Kos). Referee Jay Nady made a signal to stop and then shoved the Mexican fighter across the ring. “I thought he called off the fight,” said Periban. Love survived by holding and then returned to jabbing and moving for the remainder of the fight. All three judges scored the super middleweight fight for Love 95-93, 97-92, 96-93.
Ashley Theophane (35-6-1, 11 Kos) battled the much taller Angino Perez (15-5, 13 Kos) and won the contest that featured numerous overhand rights. In the fourth round, Theophane was able to take advantage of the wider blows and land his own first. Numerous blows forced a stoppage of the fight at 2:44 of round four to give Theophane the technical knockout win in the welterweight contest.
Ladarius Miller (2-0) used a single left cross to knock out Richard Colas (11-3) at 58 seconds of round three in a junior welterweight match between Las Vegas-based prizefighters.
Lanell Bellows (7-1-1, 6 Kos) dropped Arkansas’ Thomas Gifford (2-2-1) with the first two punches he fired. Then in the second round, two booming right hands forced referee Jay Nady to stop the fight at 1:17 of round two in the super middleweight bout.
Andrew Tabiti (6-0, 6 Kos) stopped John Shipman (3-2) at 2:11 of round four in a cruiserweight fight.
Ron Gavril (9-0, 7 Kos) knocked out Tyrell Hendrix (10-4-2) at 1:58 of round four in a super middleweight fight.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV