There is now a maximum of 108 minutes left in the boxing career of Floyd Mayweather and Saturday’s welterweight title fight with the Argentine Marcos Maidana at the MGM, the first of his final three fights, will let everybody in boxing know just how much he has left.
Mayweather is 37, unbeaten in 46 fights and slowing down, which he first admitted just over two years ago after Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto was able to connect cleaner than all of his previous opponents.
In May he met Maidana for the first time and once again Mayweather’s legs and reflexes were given a test, this time by a boxer it was suggested should not even be in the ring with him. However, in both fights, which are used as prime examples of Mayweather’s decline, he was a clear winner, even if one judge in the Maidana fight returned a bizarre drawn verdict.
After the Cotto fight, there was a gentle shift in training, overseen by Mayweather’s often estranged father, Floyd Snr, with slightly less emphasis on speed in the three fights since. After the adjustments, he made wins against quality fighters Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez look easy before running out of room to retreat in four of the 12 rounds against Maidana.
“He knows that I know how to beat him,” said Maidana, who is making $3m (£1.85m) on Saturday night, double his salary for the first fight. “I will not make any mistakes this time and the pressure will be on him in every round – I will get to him. I will beat him and I can tell that he knows this.”
Career in pictures: Floyd Mayweather
Career in pictures: Floyd Mayweather
1/6 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather triumphs in his rematch against Maidana last month by a unanimous decision, making easier work of his opponent than in their first bout
2/6 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana square off during their press conference to promote their rematch for September 2014
3/6 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather hands previously unbeaten Saul Alvarez a boxing lesson and leaves him slumped and desolate in his corner in September 2013
Getty Images; AP
4/6 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather throws a jab to the face of Robert Guerrero during his comfortable win in May 2013
5/6 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather is forced against the ropes in his last fight, against Miguel Cotto but prevailed by a unanimous decision in 2012
6/6 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather knocks out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round of their 2011 bout at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Mayweather has countered that this time he will go for a knockout, which would be his first legal stoppage since he sent Ricky Hatton crashing to the canvas in December 2007. Mayweather has had only one other stoppage in seven fights since then, but he sucker-punched Victor Ortiz in 2011 and was lucky not to have been disqualified. In that dirty fight Ortiz had just been warned by the referee for a series of desperate and illegal acts when Mayweather ignored his outstretched fist, which is a standard act after a referee has spoken to a boxer, and connected cleanly to knock out Ortiz. It was rough justice, but it a cheap shot.
In the first fight Maidana found a way to land his sweeping punches often enough to make Mayweather run and grab far more than usual. However, Maidana had too many rounds off and never took enough risks, but he won four rounds and they were clear rounds, which rightly concerns some sane members inside the Mayweather team.
“The first fight was exciting and that is why we are doing it again,” claimed Mayweather. “We all know that he is brave, he is determined but he is still only a slugger. I will be faster and stronger in this fight and I’m going for the knockout.”
There appears to be one change in Mayweather’s training camp and that is the unofficial addition of controversial strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, a man with links to far too many drug scandals; Mayweather was critical when Ariza worked for Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino fighter Mayweather has refused to fight because of disputes over the doping protocol. Ariza is, however, now “working” with Mayweather on flexibility and recovery. “I can say this about Alex,” said Mayweather. “Has he received a cheque from me? Absolutely not.”
Mayweather will keep his WBC welterweight and light-middle titles only if he has retained most of his speed since May. Maidana, you see, is Mayweather’s problem fighter, all great boxers have one, and he does seem to have the magic solution to the Mayweather enigma.Reuse content