By Cliff Rold
Here we go again.
The All Access infomercial is done. The fetus pictures have come and gone. For a fight where ample tickets remain available, every effort is being made to sell the idea that maybe, just maybe, Floyd is distracted enough to be in jeopardy.
Is he contemplating retirement?
Did Ms. Jackson take a piece of his soul?
Is Money choking up?
Is anyone so consumed by this sort of melodrama that they can ignore that, for HD, homes are being asked to shell out more some $70-ish for a so-so card where the most intriguing question of who will win comes by way of Amir Khan-Luis Collazo?
In the main event, it’s a match between the king of the Welterweights and arguably the most exciting of the titlists in his division. Can the match become a genuine clash?
Let’s go to the report card.
Titles: Lineal World Welterweight Champion (2010-Present, 2 Defenses); WBC Welterweight (2011-Present, 1 Defense); WBA “Super” Super Welterweight (2012-Present, 1 Defense); Ring Magazine Welterweight (2012-Present, 0 Defenses); WBC Super Welterweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses); Lineal World Jr. Middleweight (2013-Present, 0 Defenses)
Previous Titles: Lineal/WBC Jr. Lightweight (1998-2002, 8 Defenses); Lineal/Ring/WBC Lightweight (2002-04, 3 Defenses); WBC Jr. Welterweight (2005); IBF Welterweight (2006); Lineal/Ring/WBC Welterweight (2006-08, 1 Defense); WBC Jr. Middleweight (2007);
Weight: 146 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 148 lbs.
Hails from: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Record: 45-0, 26 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: 23-0, 10 KO including lineal title contests
Current/Former World Champions Faced: 19 (Genaro Hernandez RTD8; Gregorio Vargas UD12; Diego Corrales TKO10; Carlos Hernandez UD12; Jesus Chavez TKO9; Jose Luis Castillo UD12, UD12; DeMarcus Corley UD12; Arturo Gatti RTD6; Sharmba Mitchell TKO6; Zab Judah UD12; Carlos Baldomir UD12; Oscar De La Hoya SD12; Ricky Hatton TKO10; Juan Manuel Marquez UD12; Shane Mosley UD12; Victor Ortiz KO4; Miguel Cotto UD12; Robert Guerrero UD12; Saul Alvarez MD12)
Title: WBA Welterweight (2013-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: WBA Light Welterweight (2011)
Weight: 146.5 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 145.35 lbs.
Hails from: Jose Leon Suarez, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Record: 35-3, 31 KO
Rankings: #4 (ESPN); #5 (BoxingScene); #6 (TBRB, BoxRec); #8 (Ring)
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-2, 1 KO (7-2, 4 KO including interim title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Defeated: 7 (Andriy Kotelnik L12; Victor Ortiz TKO6; DeMarcus Corley UD12; Amir Khan L12; Erik Morales MD12; Devon Alexander L10; Adrien Broner UD12)
Pre-Fight: Speed – Mayweather A-; Maidana B-
Pre-Fight: Power – Mayweather B; Maidana A
Pre-Fight: Defense – Mayweather A+; Maidana C-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Mayweather A+; Maidana A
If this is going to turn into a clash, the conventional thinking is it has to happen early. That’s not necessarily the case. That’s what makes Maidana a fun fighter. To become a clash, he has to land a bomb at some point and force the issue. He did that early with Broner and Victor Ortiz. He came on against Amir Khan as the fight wore on.
The difference in this fight and those is that Mayweather has proven so often to be better as fights go on. The moments where he has been vulnerable (notably against Judah, Mosley, and Corley) have typically come in the first four rounds. Jose Luis Castillo competed with him well for two fights, but that was a different kind of vulnerable.
Maidana isn’t as technically sound as Castillo, even with improvements under trainer Robert Garcia.
Then again, Floyd Mayweather isn’t who he was 12 years ago either. The speed isn’t the same, if still exceptional. The differences are made up in experience. Mayweather knows how to fight, and knows what to expect from foes. That Maidana has shown capable of hanging around all night might not matter if Mayweather times him as well as Devon Alexander did before his current tear.
So the conventional wisdom might not necessarily be true, but it’s probably the reality here.
So then, can Maidana land something big early? Maybe. His body-head attack rhythm under Garcia can take a moment to time. Broner figured it out in spots but was too beat up to make it stick. Maidana killed a Broner rally with the second knockdown in that fight. Even say Mayweather gets rocked early, if Maidana doesn’t make it something that clouds Mayweather up the rest of the night he won’t find the same opening again rounds later.
Maidana always has moments. It doesn’t matter who he fights. He is so relentless that everyone he faces has to eat something eventually. Mayweather will too. He’ll survive it and, after the fans get the early excitement out of the way we’ll be on the road to a decision of the 10 rounds to 2 variety.
Report Card Picks 2014: 19-6
As for Khan-Collazo…Collazo (35-5, 18 KO) has a way of checking brittle chins even without being a monster puncher. He'll rattle Khan (28-3, 19 KO) enough to win a points verdict but probably doesn't put him away…Enjoy the fights (but only after also reading the companion piece to this report card: ...But What If Maidana Wins?)
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]