The weigh-in is finished; the stage is set. Tonight Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana clash again in a sequel to one of the most entertaining fights of the year. Last May the Argentinian brawler surprised everyone with his spirited challenge and more than a few felt he actually deserved a close decision win over boxing’s undefeated, pound-for-pound king. But after falling behind in the first half of the contest, Mayweather rallied in the second, taking enough rounds to secure a split-decision victory.
No matter one’s take on the outcome, there’s no disputing the fact Maidana has earned this rematch. As many have noted in the months since, no one, with the possible exception of Jose Luis Castillo back in 2002, has given Mayweather a tougher fight. Maidana was viewed by almost everyone as little threat to the supremely talented champion, but we know better now. Will the return bring us more surprises? Will it match the first fight for action and intensity? Can Maidana improve on his career-high performance? At 37 years of age, is Floyd Mayweather finally showing signs of decline? Or will he learn from the first battle and execute a game plan that guarantees success?
Herewith, The Fight City’s bold predictions for tonight’s main event.
Eliott McCormick: A confident Marcos Maidana will fight with the same aggression he showed in May, but Floyd won’t be taken by surprise this time. The challenger’s pressure will make its dent in first few rounds solely by virtue of its sheer forcefulness, but while the Argentine will enjoy strong early moments, they will be fleeting. Floyd will establish his preferred distance and catch Maidana in the later rounds during one of Chino’s desperate offensive flurries. Expect an exciting fight that includes a late knockdown of Maidana and ends in a unanimous decision victory for Floyd Mayweather.
Rafael García : For Maidana to mar Floyd’s spotless record tonight, everything would have to go right for him, and everything would have to go wrong for Mayweather. In other words, for “Chino” to win, he not only needs to bring and execute his A-game, he also needs something to happen to render Mayweather more vulnerable than he was last time out. Mayweather aging overnight, or perhaps him cracking his middle phalanx mid-fight, would be such events. Barring something of that nature, no matter how motivated Maidana is, and no matter how much Mayweather’s PR team has been busy putting out fires in the lead-up to the bout, Mayweather will do what Mayweather does best: earn a unanimous decision against a carefully chosen and shamefully underpaid opponent.
Robert Portis: I anticipate a terrible night for “Pretty Boy.” He’s compromised mentally with all this negative attention and being forced to issue an apology over his Ray Rice comments. Plus there’s enormous pressure on him to perform up to expectations and redeem himself. Maidana will be even more confident and despite Floyd’s best efforts, it will be the Argentinian seizing the initiative again. The early rounds will be close but at some point Maidana is going to put some serious hurt on Floyd who will suddenly look all of his 37 years. A tiring veteran champion takes a beating in the last few rounds and Marcos Maidana takes Floyd Mayweather’s scalp by unanimous decision.
Lee Wylie: Granted, Mayweather will likely win another decision, but I think we’re going to see another competitive fight. At 37 years-old, I don’t think Mayweather has the legs to box-and-move for the entire 12 round duration anymore. Regardless of what his father would like him to do, he’s not the one who will be in the ring with Maidana. Floyd will have to stand his ground throughout the fight to not only discourage the Argentine from coming forward with impunity, but also to preserve his energy. Whether or not Maidana can make the most of these opportunities, however, is another question. Gun to the head pick? Mayweather UD.
Ryan Franco: The first six rounds of the first fight shocked many, but the truth is that Mayweather ran away with the second half. Floyd said he would stand and trade with Maidana, and that’s what he did, yet many fans seem to forget this. I scored their first fight 8-4 Mayweather and I’m predicting a 10-2 score for Floyd this time around. Maidana will attempt to be more busy, but Mayweather will move laterally more often and not get trapped, effectively minimizing the challenger’s most dangerous attack.
Michael Carbert, Editor: I had anticipated a rough night for Floyd the first time around, due to Maidana’s mental toughness and fearless aggression but, like everyone else, I was surprised at the closeness of the battle. Call me a fence-sitter, but in my opinion a draw would have been the fairest of verdicts. That said, I saw nothing to indicate Mayweather’s skills have eroded to any significant degree; Maidana earned every bit of his success last May. As a result it’s difficult for me to imagine this most calculating of boxers not rebounding tonight. I see Floyd taking control of the contest early by being first in the exchanges and making greater use of his bicycle. Any moments of offensive success for Maidana will be short-lived, though I expect he will take a few rounds, as well as a bunch of stern warnings from the ref. I hope something more dramatic and entertaining unfolds, but there’s just not enough evidence at this point to predict it. Mayweather by unanimous decision.