Floyd Mayweather abandoned his usual defensive style and slugged it out with Marcos Maidana Saturday night. He got away with the strategy, earning a majority decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But he was far more battered than fans are used to seeing–a bandage on a cut over one eye, a bruise under another –and many, including Maidana, contend Mayweather’s scars reveal he lost.
Maidana was aggressive throughout the 12-round bout and at times controlled the fight by pushing and shoving and throwing wild right hands. Many fans said that they thought Maidana won.
“I was robbed” Maidana, a 10-to-1 underdog from Argentina, said through an interpreter before asking repeatedly for a rematch.
Mayweather, who is now 46-0, said he’s willing to fight Argentina’s Maidana again in September, but he assured he’d return to the defensive, dancing, counter-punching style that has been his trademark. Saturday night, Mayweather mixed it up more than usual, and the result was relatively close scoring by judges: 117-114, 116-112 and 114-114.
“He’s a rugged guy,” Mayweather said. “In September, if we fight again, will it be the same fight? Absolutely not. I could have made the fight a lot easier if I wanted to.”
Mayweather said he traded punches toe-to-toe with the heavy-handed Maidana to entertain the fans and pay-per-view audience.
Maidana, who earned just $1.5 million to Mayweather’s $32 million, said that he deserved the decision. Maidana said Mayweather “never hurt me with a punch” and that the cut opened over Mayweather’s right eye didn’t come from an accidental head-butt, as referee Tony Weeks ruled, but from a punch.
“I trained hard, and I fought a good fight,” Maidana said. “And I feel that this was an injustice.”
With his outstanding performance, Maidana probably denied welterweight Amir Khan the chance to be the next fighter to face Mayweather. The charismatic Khan, an Olympic silver medalist from England, was disappointed he didn’t get the nod over Maidana to fight Mayweather in the first place. Khan beat Maidana by unanimous decision in 2010.
What’s more, Khan looked tremendous Saturday night in an undercard victory over Luis Collazo, knocking him down three times on his way to a 12-round unanimous decision.
So had Mayweather made light work of Maidana, a Mayweather-Khan fight would have been the obvious answer. But when Maidana gave Mayweather all he could handle, that changed the equation.
Still, after watching the main event, Khan made a pitch Sunday for why he, and not Maidana, should be the next fighter to get a crack at Mayweather.
“I really believe that styles make fights in boxing, and with the style I have, the speed, the movement, it will really give Floyd problems,” Khan said.
Maidana, however, appears to be on deck. He will want to use custom-made gloves in the next fight, gloves Mayweather refused Saturday. The champion, his camp, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission argued that the gloves had too much padding in the wrists and too little in the knuckles. After much back-and-forth, Maidana agreed to wear a stock version of the custom Everlast gloves.
“When they took away my gloves, they took away my advantage,” Maidana said. “If I would have had my gloves, I would have knocked him out.”
Mayweather contended there were health considerations in his decision.
“I have a life after boxing,” he said. “He has a life after boxing. This is already a brutal sport. Of course we’re here to pleasure the fans, but what about our health? When boxing is over, half of the boxers that’s in the fight game now cannot articulate as well. So do we really care about the fighters’ health?
“Then they are always asking questions like, ‘How did this guy die? Why is he in the hospital? Why did he lose all his money?’ He lost all his money because he can’t count all his money by people not caring. I’m here to protect the fighters.”
He’d better be intent on protecting himself if they fight again.