All eyes will be on Argentine hardman Marcos Maidana on May 3 as the WBA welterweight champion becomes the 46th fighter to challenge world number one Floyd Mayweather’s unblemished record.
The 30 year-old puncher from Buenos Aries earned the right with a standout victory over Mayweather clone Adrien Broner at the back end of 2013 and looked a different boxer to the one that lost miserably to Devon Alexander 22 months earlier.
After a switch to Oxnard under the stewardship of Robert Garcia, Maidana has added a new dimension to his fight style that saw ‘Chino’ win convincingly against a three-weight world champion in Broner to regain the world title after a two-year absence.
Maidana now gets the chance at the ultimate prize in the sport, something worth far more than any championship, the opportunity to end the most elusive undefeated run of this generation.
Although the odds are stacked against him, and a tactical masterstroke will be needed on the night, Maidana has the power, that if used in the right way, could give the aging Mayweather plenty of trouble at the MGM Grand.
There isn’t too much to be read into Maidana’s three losses thus far, as his temperament pre-Jesus Soto-Karass had certain question marks against it. Garcia has seemingly eradicated this negativity over Maidana’s last four fights, and Mayweather will be facing a different animal on fight night.
Being dominated by Alexander and dropped by Amir Khan followed a debated point loss to Andriy Kotelnik in 2009. Still, on current form, Mayweather has his hands full with the new reinvigorated Maidana.
The early rounds will certainly be Maidana’s best chance of success, especially if he starts the same way he did against Broner, as once Mayweather finds his rhythm, it’s hard to see how anyone can match him.
Those who are willing a Maidana triumph may well point out Mayweather’s age as a factor as ‘Money’ recently turned 37 and has to lose his air of invincibility at some point. There was no evidence of that in Mayweather’s latest victory against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Still, there is no questioning that Garcia will have his fighter fully prepared for the best possible Mayweather.
So does Maidana really have the tools to cause the upset? I’d say yes. But whether he can put it all together once Mayweather is standing in front of him is a totally different story, and I’m afraid Golden Boy’s knockout ‘Moment’ is unlikely to happen either way.
Mayweather is just too good for anyone’s good. And although his power has waned late in his career, the way he puts together those shots and his ability to defend himself should see him through once more – but not without the odd scare or two along the way.
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