Floyd Mayweather will sanction Marcos Maidana rematch but has to repair spirits

American was made to work hard by the game Argentinian

Boxing Correspondent

After six rounds at the MGM Grand on Saturday Floyd Mayweather had been hit low often enough, hit with shoulders, elbows and caught repeatedly with desperate right hands that it looked like his perfect career was in jeopardy.

Mayweather controls the nights when he fights in Las Vegas and like the Strip’s best conjurers he can make danger vanish by waving his magic fists in a slightly different way; on Saturday Mayweather’s adjustments after six rounds left Argentina’s Marcos Maidana breathless in pursuit of his brief illusion of success in a hard, hard fight.

At the end of 12 rounds Mayweather was weary, bruised and cut for the first time in 46 fights but he had retained his unbeaten record and added Maidana’s WBA welterweight belt to the collection of baubles that accompany the money he makes. Mayweather earned $14,815 (£8,775) each second of the bout, which makes a mockery of any fighter’s claim that it is not about the money.

Maidana is not even close to the best boxer to face Mayweather but for six rounds the outcome was in the balance as he relentlessly applied a savage massage of abuse with just about every part of his body, including at one point a wayward knee that just missed Mayweather’s groin.

 

“Let’s do a rematch,” said Mayweather. “Next time, just don’t hit me in the d*** so much.” A rematch, by the way, is likely because Maidana’s early pressure helped to distort the reality of the outcome; a lot of people were left believing they had just witnessed a close fight. It was in the end a great spectacle for the fans, a vicious fight but it was not close and Mayweather won eight of the 12 rounds to move his record to 46-0. One of the three judges delivered a drawn verdict which will secure Maidana a rematch and a payday far in excess of the $1.5m (£890,000) he got for Saturday.

“Rematch? Sure, I will give  him a rematch and the chance to beat me, “ said Maidana. “Mayweather did not fight like a man and next time it will be easier for me.” However, there was a really happy smile on the Argentine’s usually expressionless face, a smile that belied his apparent outrage at the decision. He knew his performance was good enough for a rematch in September and the reward for that fight will change his life forever.

It was alarming at times to see Mayweather pinned to the ropes, with Maidana’s fists opening gaps in the American’s expert defence. There is a chance that at 37 his reactions are slowing, the desire is in decline and a troublesome and horrible week had taken a toll on Mayweather. It was revealed that Mayweather’s partner had had an abortion, which led to him kicking her out, and other news from his normally harmonious and sycophantic camp was mixed. Little Floyd was having troubles and that could have been a factor in Maidana’s impressive first half of the fight.

The fight’s harsh trajectory was just the latest blip in a week that included a bizarre and totally unnecessary row over the texture, size and colour of the fight gloves. The ugly dispute in the hours before the first bell gave a rare glimpse inside the troubled mind of the wealthy pugilist. I would not be shocked at some ruthless housekeeping in the Mayweather business before he fights Maidana again.

In the contest before there was an often brilliant debut at welterweight for Amir Khan in what was a very tricky test on paper. Khan dropped New Yorker Luis Collazo three times, hit him at will and turned a crisis fight into a celebration.

Collazo is arguably the best fighter you have never heard of and, having been shunned for most of the last five years by the best at his weight, was convinced that beating Khan would get him the big bouts. Khan never let Collazo rest, dominating with a display that had more to do with his new mental state than his fists. Collazo looked totally broken at the end and news that he hunted for a pistol to end his life a year ago will hopefully make his loved ones vigilant.

Now Khan, who won clearly on all three scorecards after 12 rounds, will get a chance to fight Mayweather next May, unless another fight that can pay him about $6m (£3.5m) appears from nowhere.

“I was happy with what I did and I kept control of my emotions,” said Khan. It really was that simple, but the Briton has an erratic history of fighting without any thought, using his large heart as a battering ram when bouts are hard and neglecting what he knows. It was a beautiful display of controlled boxing, a masterclass at times in the forgotten art of hitting and not getting hit.

Mayweather against Maidana will break box-office records in Las Vegas, then a Khan fight next May will adjust those records, with some people getting obscenely rich. However, after Saturday’s slugfest, which was not a surprise to me, I just wonder how much longer little Floyd will want to fight against his own gentle decline?

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