By Jake Donovan
The biggest event of 2014 to date is all set, as Floyd Mayweather defends his lineal World welterweight crown versus Argentina’s Marcos Maidana. The scheduled 12-round affair takes place Saturday evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, headlining a four-fight event on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Both fighters make their first appearance of 2014, each coming off of spectacular ring campaigns in the previous year.
Mayweather made the biggest splash in 2013, and for a variety of reasons. His 2012 campaign was limited to one fight – a 12-round points win over Miguel Cotto – and a brief stay in jail. The undefeated superstar reclaimed his spot as the very best in the world and also the industry’s leading box-office attraction with decision wins over Robert Guerrero and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in the two most-viewed PPV shows of 2013.
The win over Alvarez served as the most lucrative event in boxing history. It generated more than $20 million at the box office and over $130 million in pay-per-view revenue, in addition to the millions raked in from closed circuit sales, movie theatre viewings and a record amount of sponsors brought in for the September blockbuster.
Maidana has endured his ups and downs through his career, but comes in riding a four-fight win streak and a wave of momentum. The latter is largely due to his upset win over previously unbeaten Adrien Broner, whom Maidana dropped and battered en route to a well-earned points victory last December.
The feat was enough to propel him past Amir Khan – who owns a Dec. ’10 win over Maidana –as the front runner to face Mayweather for this weekend’s affair.
Still, momentum and achievement merely brings Maidana to the big stage. Now that he’s here, he faces a near insurmountable challenge. Mayweather is a considerable favorite – as high as 14-1 with some sportsbooks – to remain unbeaten, with few giving Maidana a chance of even being competitive.
But how will the action actually play out? Read on to see what the staff at Boxingscene.com believes will be the case on Saturday night in the boxing capital of the world.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: FLOYD MAYWEATHER vs. MARCOS MAIDANA
“Like most everyone, I like Mayweather to win. But I think Maidana will give him a much tougher fight than some people expect. Mayweather seems to have difficulty facing rough and tumble guys who barrel ahead and have punching power (Cotto, Castillo- though the argument kind of loses steam when you look at his fight with Corrales) and I think Maidana is going to put a ton of pressure on him in losing a competitive decision to Mayweather. So I like Mayweather by UD in a fun scrap.”
- Mitchell Abramson (Mayweather by decision)
“Floyd all the way.”
- Damien Acevedo (Mayweather by decision)
“I think that it's going to be Floyd Mayweather by unanimous decision, 119-109. I don't think that he takes too many chances. Maybe I'll give Marcos Maidana one round, just to be nice. Otherwise, I think that Mayweather will be too fast for him. If "Canelo" Alvarez didn't have too much success, I can't see Maidana having any.”
- Ryan Burton (Mayweather by decision)
“I want to believe Floyd Mayweather in his insistence that he is the bigger guy and intends to fight accordingly. There is truth to the statement. But while he figures to pick apart Marcos Maidana, I don't foresee the threat of a knockout ever surfacing. Maidana has his moments but nothing like was the case in his dominance over Adrien Broner nor will Floyd ever fight that careless or sloppy to put himself in that position.”
- Jake Donovan (Mayweather by decision)
“There's a reason Mayweather is more than a 10-to-1 favorite. Maidana is a tough guy who had a nice win in December, but "Money" is just too good. Watch the Hatton tape, and then replace an Englishman with an Argentine.”
- Lyle Fitzsimmons (Mayweather TKO9)
“As much as Mayweather is talking up the fact that Marcos Maidana is a heavy-handed fighter who keeps on coming, it still won't matter so long as Mayweather remains as smart and as skilled as he is, and so long as he remains in such phenomenal condition for a man who is getting up there in his 30s. I look for Mayweather to roll and block and clinch when necessary from in-close, and then to use movement, timing and incredible accuracy to out-point Maidana down the stretch.”
- David P. Greisman (Mayweather by decision)
“It’s gotta happen sometime and I truly think unlike others who have been in front of him, Maidana cares less who Mayweather is and if he hurts him he won’t let up.”
- Ernest Gabion (Maidana TKO6)
“If Marcos Maidana bum-rushes Floyd Mayweather once the bell rings Saturday night, the Argentine brawler will find a smart, poised, prepared opponent waiting for him and not an overwhelmed motormouth more equipped to talk about it than to be about it. Maidana might make Mayweather uncomfortable at times with his awkward aggression and he'll never stop throwing bombs. But Mayweather will patiently pick apart his hungry opponent with crisp counterpunches and win with relative ease. If Maidana manages to land something big against perhaps boxing’s best defensive fighter, Mayweather has shown he has the survival skills and recuperative powers to overcome some trouble and still win convincingly.”
- Keith Idec (Mayweather by decision)
“Marcos Maidana has the proverbial puncher's chance. If May 3 is the date where Floyd Mayweather ages overnight, with the Argentine somehow blunting the American's punch output by pressuring him into the ropes and setting him up to land the heavy artillery, then Maidana can win. But that's one too many variables. I feel Mayweather's fitness will keep him fresh enough for 12 rounds; his intelligence will cause him to anticipate his foe's advances and his accuracy will allow him to take advantage of an off-balance Maidana with counters all night long.”
- Ryan Maquinana (Mayweather by decision)
“Imagine we'll see an incarnation of Maidana similar to the one that faced Broner this past fall (sharp, bold, reasonably conditioned), sans raised arm and crown at bout's end.”
- Kim Francesca Martinez (Mayweather by decision)
“I’m going with Mayweather by knockout. Maidana will try to pressure Floyd, as did Ricky Hatton who also failed with that strategy.”
- Giancarlo Oquendo (Mayweather by knockout)
"Mayweather on points, he is too good a boxer for Maidana. Marcos have a puncher´s chance and the fact that time flies for Floyd too but I would say Mayweather begins as a strong favorite."
- Per-Ake Personn (Mayweather by decision)
“I think that Floyd Mayweather is going to be too fast, too accurate. I don't think that Marcos Maidana will be able to catch up to him. I think that Floyd is going to pot-shot him for a lopsided 12-round decision. Maybe even if he is able to break him down, Mayweather could get a late knockout.”
Tags: Floyd Mayweather Jr. , Marcos Maidana , Mayweather-Maidana , Mayweather vs. Maidana
- Rick Reeno (Mayweather by decision)
“Marcos Maidana always has a couple of good spots. He'll have a couple of good spots against Floyd Mayweather. But Maidana is out of his league and Mayweather will win at least 10 round if not all 12. Mayweather could potentially stop Maidana late in the fight. That is unless Mayweather's legs get old overnight and that's not going to happen. Mayweather wins a unanimous decision.”
- Cliff Rold (Mayweather by decision)
“Adrien Broner should not be taken as a measure of the potential for Maidana vs Mayweather. Floyd is totally different and has in his record, victories against fighters with more resources and skills than presents Maidana. Trying to beat Mayweather with one blow not think that's the key in this fight. I think the only chance to Marcos Maidana is to place a blow that carried Floyd to the ropes, but I think that Maidana hasn’t the speed to do and he ended defeated by unanimous decision in 12 rounds.”
- Reynaldo Sanchez (Mayweather by decision)
“Maidana is possibly the best of the crop who has a chance to fight Money Floyd. Still, Mayweather will dominate this fight the way he usually does to the scores like 118-110 or 117-111. Though polished, Maidana is still too slow for Floyd, and his power is overrated.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Mayweather by decision)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox