|“Being Floyd Mayweather” Leads to Improved Performance and Victory in Rematch With Maidana
By Danny Serratelli at ringside for Doghouse Boxing (Sept 17, 2014)
Above photo from Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Marcos II
Photo © Esther Lin / SHOWTIME
LAS VEGAS - In huge fights between the best on the highest level in the sport, little things mean a lot. After a very competitive fight between Marcos Maidana and Floyd Mayweather took place in May, both fighters and camps were aware that small adjustments leading up to the second fight could lead to the improved results they were seeking. Everyone seemed to be aware that the main idea for Maidana was to duplicate his performance from May, but to super-charge it and maintain the relentless and steady aggression for the full 12 rounds.
Mayweather, on the other hand seemed to acknowledge that all of the laying on the ropes and allowing Maidana to stay set and firing away in the first fight was unnecessary. Mayweather has told the public time and time again that he will do what is best for Floyd Mayweather and in this fight it was to box and use more movement.
He did a good job at beating Maidana to the punch and not allowing him to set his feet and unload as he did in the first fight, particularly on the ropes. Many times throughout the fight it appeared that right as Maidana was about to let his hands go and try to get inside, Floyd hit him with pop shots and moved, or tied him up, and it worked. Floyd showed people who have suggested that he didn’t have the same legs that they were wrong. However, while it isn’t often, he does appear to get hit with occasional clean shots at 37 that wouldn’t have touched him years ago.
The difference in the judges’ scorecards in the first fight and to a lesser extent in this fight came down to quality versus quantity, and being aggressive versus effective aggression. Often it also came down to who dictated the terms and geography of the fight. If you score the fight from ringside, versus television it is easy for your opinion on a couple rounds to change. That also goes for listening to commentators, the crowd or your drunk friends who aren’t paying attention but giving you their opinion each round.
In the first fight, in some of the rounds that were more difficult to score, Maidana was able to impose his will on Mayweather more often and to overcome Floyd’s sharper more accurate punches by outworking him by a lot and doing some good work to the body.
As for the adjustments, when Floyd is troubled, he always seems to go back to his father, Floyd Sr. and his father doesn’t let him down. His father was a fighter that relied more on defense than his uncle Roger, and he seems to always bring Floyd back to the basic Mayweather style and as Floyd likes to say, just being Floyd Mayweather. While Floyd wouldn’t really acknowledge it, there was talk of distractions for the first Maidana fight and while his training habits are legendary, rumors persisted that he wasn’t necessarily himself for various reasons.
Maidana who was a big underdog in the first fight may not have been perceived as much of a threat or served to motivate like some others have. There were rumors of distractions in camp because of a breakup with his girlfriend, and also the continued and chronic hand problems Floyd has dealt with for most of his career. Before the second fight Floyd Sr. would say, "I'm the father and I'm here for him, man, and all my bearings are with him," he said. "This time, I think it's going to be different. I definitely think it's going to be different."
Maidana’s camp figured they would be better conditioned for this fight because Maidana had a full 8 week training camp with Robert Garcia. During part of the preparation for the first fight Maidana was in Argentina waiting for the birth of his child. They also spoke of changes in his training and a desire to enter the ring on fight night lighter.
Apparently they felt that would help his speed and endurance late in the fight. If anything Maidana did not look as strong and explosive in the rematch. His strength and ability to make Mayweather look uncomfortable at times was big in the first fight. The second time around Floyd maintained control in more of the rounds while Maidana often seemed frustrated.
Then there was Alex Ariza the controversial strength and conditioning coach who had worked with Robert Garcia’s fighters recently, including Maidana for the first fight with Floyd. He was seen with Mayweather in preparation for the rematch, but Floyd didn’t say much more than that Ariza taught him some stretches and gave him some tips regarding his diet. Many have suggested this was a psychological ploy.
Mayweather is a master at getting onto the head of his opponents. In recent fights with Canelo Alvarez and Victor Ortiz it clearly was the case. While it wasn’t as clear with Maidana, if it got into his head even a little bit, it may have been beneficial.
While both camps complained of dirty fighting, particularly the Mayweather camp; it was also common knowledge that Maidana had to make the fight ugly. While referee Tony Weeks did an excellent job in officiating the first fight, referee Kenny Bayless, who is usually a good referee, did not allow them to fight on the inside, and allowed Mayweather to hold incessantly. This little difference would also ultimately mean a lot.
Maidana seemed to be getting desperate late in the 2nd fight, and rightfully so. He wasn’t able to land the jab, bang to the body and fight on the inside as much. However he also didn’t appear to be fighting with the fire and reckless abandon he displayed in the first fight. Mayweather was too comfortable…then something happened in the 8th round. In the arena there was no way to be sure what happened. Floyd was complaining, and based on his reaction it appeared to be something very serious. Bayless called a halt to the action to inquire what happened.
When the action was commenced and most of the crowd would be in the dark as to what happened until after the fight when they would learn that Floyd claimed Maidana bit him on the glove in a clinch until after the fight. There were conflicting stories and apparently the replay was inconclusive.
Maidana again in the 10th round seemed to want to make something happen and appeared to get a little rough inside, Floyd ended up on the canvass and Bayless took away a point. It did not seem to be worthy of the deduction, but at this point Bayless may have sensed the desperation could lead to something worse. Ironically, that round and the 12th that Floyd gave away were the only two that Maidana won on all three judges’ scorecards.
To close the show, Floyd explained his father told him to basically go out and take 11th round off and then be sure to win the 12th. Floyd explained, he understood what his father meant, but reversed it and tried to go out and win the 11th, which he did on 2 of the judges’ scorecards. He explained he would rather take no chances in the 12th because he knew that was when Maidana would be most desperate and as a result most dangerous. Maidana felt that he had won the fight and that he felt Mayweather ran and held all night.
Again Mayweather pointed out, he had to do what is best for Floyd and reminded everyone that, Mayweather Promotions fighter Mickey Bey, suffered his lone defeat when he was stopped in the last round of a fight in which he was basically up 9-0 when he didn't fight smart.
E-mail Danny at email@example.com and see more of his work at www.brickcityboxing.com
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