By Jake Donovan
It took more than two months to officially declare that Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent would be the same as his last, as he faces Marcos Maidana on September 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It even took more than an hour past the promised 1:00pm start time for their press conference to begin at Times Square in New York City.
What didn’t take very much effort, however, was justifying why Mayweather agreed to just the second rematch in a Hall of Fame career spanning 18 years and approaching his 47th prize fight.
“They said it was electrifying. It was an assault. It was the most competitive fight of Floyd Mayweather’s career,” Showtime Vice President of Sports Stephen Espinoza recalled, citing quotes from media regarding the first fight this past May. “And when it came time to discuss options for Mayweather’s next fight, one name rose to the top of the list.”
Maidana was credited with giving Mayweather the toughest fight of his career, taking the undefeated pound-for-pound king to the brink before coming up just short in a 12-round majority decision. Mayweather overcame a rough start to settle down in the second half of the bout, but was never allowed a moment to ease off the gas as he was forced to fight all 12 rounds.
The event was Mayweather’s third of a lucrative six-fight deal with Showtime, leaving many to wonder if he would bother with past business knowing there is possibly only three fights left in his legendary career. Mayweather himself hinted in the post-fight press conference following the win over Maidana that he might not even finish out his current contract, and could retire at any time.
Once it came time to decide on his next move, though, he and his team decided the best course for his immediate future was to briefly revisit the past.
The only other time in his career that Mayweather participated in a rematch came in 2002, when he twice fought Jose Luis Castillo. Mayweather claimed an unpopular decision in their first fight, before doing the bare minimum necessary to take a clear-cut – though lackluster - 12-round points win in their rematch later in the year.
There was nothing lackluster about his fight with Maidana in May. Rare has been the occasion where Mayweather has even been in a legitimately close fight, which explains why most of his events have been devoid of two-way action. For the first time in years, fans were on the edge of their seats curious if an upset was in the making, even if Mayweather himself never had any doubt he would prevail.
“Maidana had his moments in the first fight,” Mayweather conceded, though without giving his ring rival too much credit. “But of 12 rounds, I think you can give him three, maybe four rounds. But I clearly won the fight.”
So if that’s the case, why do it again?
“Why not,” Mayweather claimed, answering a question with a question of his own. “I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see. They wanted to see Mayweather-Maidana part two, so you know what? It's all about the fans."
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