Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mayweather-Maidana II: Earn Respect By Showing None

Marcos Maidana (left) showed no respect for Floyd Mayweather's (right) speed and countering ability during the pair's first bout, coming out swinging against the pound-for-pound champ. How will things shake out when they meet again Saturday night?
By Warren Rodriguez (@RodrigWM)

According to Webster's Dictionary, respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. We’ve been taught that respect is earned, not given, and that if you want others to respect you, you respect them.

However, on May 3rd of this past year, Marcos Maidana earned respect by showing none.

Unlike Floyd Mayweather’s recent opponents, Maidana wasn’t shy, timid or in awe of the current pound-for-pound king. He came to win, swarming Mayweather once the bell rang, throwing punches and catching Floyd off guard with his hurricane like rage and borderline dirty tactics. In the end, Mayweather was able to withstand the hurricane and walk away with a majority decision, keeping his perfect record intact.

So, can Maidana change his game plan enough to come away with a win this time, or will this go around be easier for Mayweather?

In their last fight, Mayweather definitely seemed surprised early on. It was as if a fight breaking out hadn’t entered into his calculations. Maidana easily won the first round and, according to many, won several of the rounds that followed. Even Mayweather accepts that scoring.

“Just look at the fight. The fight is not close," Mayweather said. "He came out, he won the first round. I won the second round. He won the third and the fourth, and from the fifth on he lost every round."

Most fighters face some kind of adversity like that in their careers and it comes as no surprise, but to see Mayweather bullied that way was unexpected. Seeing Floyd lose three rounds in a twelve round fight is astonishing enough, but to see him lose three out of the first four is unheard of. Floyd however, has a genius level IQ in the ring, so expect him to make the necessary adjustments and stifle Maidana’s onslaught.

Maidana was able to get off early, but as the fight wore on his attack became less effective, and fatigue began to set in, allowing Mayweather to do what he does best: Box.

He began to time Maidana’s attack and was able to pick him off from the outside. The fight began to look like so many Mayweather bouts we had seen before. The question for Maidana and his team is what can they do differently to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Other than increasing the fighter's stamina, the answer is not much. Maidana is a rough, tough, fighter, but he’s one dimensional, relying on coming forward and attacking. With the element of surprise gone for this fight, Maidana is going to have to stay aggressive all twelve rounds.

“This time around, I’m not going to get tired," Maidana said. "I’m going to be on top of him from the opening bell, for the entire fight. And I think that’s going to force him to fight."

Another potential hurdle for Maidana will be the third man in the ring, Joey's favorite wide-eyed, intense, by the book referee Kenny Bayless. Mayweather and his camp were not particularly thrilled with the performance of Tony Weeks in the first fight, feeling he didn’t do enough to stop Maidana’s questionable tactics. Mayweather accused Maidana of fighting like a UFC fighter.

“This is not the MMA, this is boxing," Mayweather said. "I got tackled, I got  headbutt(ed), I got hit with rabbit punches, I got hit with low blows, and the list goes on and on."

Bayless is known for being a no nonsense referee with a quick trigger who can sometimes be over zealous in policing a fight. This would, obviously, work in favor of Mayweather. He’s also more familiar with Mayweather, having worked some of his high profile fights against Alvarez, Mosley and De la Hoya. Bayless has only worked one of Maidana’s previous fights, his bout with Soto Karass.

Maidana won the fight, but was also deducted two points for hitting on the break.

Showing Mayweather no respect in the first fight earned Maidana another shot at the undefeated fighter and another big pay day. However, it seems that his first shot might have been his best. Mayweather showed signs of slowing down in his last fight and, at the age of 37, you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.

However, unless Mayweather ages overnight like some of the greats in this sport have before him, it doesn’t seem likely Maidana can get a victory. Expect Mayweather to have an easier time this go round and earn the respect from his opponent that eluded him the first fight.

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