Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his victory over Marcos Maidana of Argentina following their WBC/WBA welterweight unification fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters
Against the hard-hitting Marcos Maidana, American boxer Floyd Mayweather sustained a cut above his right eye and ate more punches than usual, but he was still smiling after the fight that saw him claim a majority decision.
Maidana landed 221 punches against Mayweather – one of the best defensive fighters ever – but it was not enough as two judges scored the bout in favor of the American, allowing him to unify two welterweight titles.
“This was a tough, competitive fight,” Mayweather said, as quoted by ESPN. “This is what fans want to see.”
“I want to give fans an exciting fight. Normally, I box and move. Tonight, I gave fans an exciting fight.”
The bout was more action-filled than previous Mayweather fights, as Maidana took the fight to the American and managed to trap Mayweather against the ropes numerous times. Maidana swung away for 12 rounds, although he missed more punches than he threw.
Mayweather, in contrast, was accurate with his right hand, landing 54% of his punches despite throwing half as many punches as Maidana.
Mayweather implied that he deliberately chose to stand toe-to-toe with Maidana, a dangerous decision as the Argentine had knocked out 31 opponents.
“He put pressure on me, and that’s when I decided to fight differently,” Mayweather said. “I stood there and fought him. He’s a good fighter. I take nothing away from him.”
But one analyst wondered if the bout – which was more competitive than expected – was a sign that the 37-year-old Mayweather was finally starting to show signs of slippage.
“Mayweather is a top-five welterweight, but a younger Mayweather – even a Mayweather of two years ago – would have escaped the ropes faster,” noted Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, who posed the question “Is Mayweather Slowing Down?” in his post-fight notes.
“Mayweather claimed he wanted to give the fans the fight they wanted, but it’s clear Mayweather’s legs were sluggish,” he added.
Mannix said Mayweather remains a brilliant defensive fighter, but also lauded Maidana for making Mayweather “look his age.”