Marcos Maidana of Argentina celebrates following a WBC/WBA welterweight unification fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 3, 2014. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters.
LAS VEGAS - Marcos Maidana didn't get the victory he had hoped for over Floyd Mayweather, but he did establish a blueprint for future challengers to try and upset boxing's pound-for-pound champ.
The Argentine boxer gave Mayweather all he could handle late Saturday at the MGM Hotel, turning their world title fight into a street brawl and causing some to wonder if Mayweather is more vulnerable to defeat than any other time in his 18-year professional career.
"Floyd looks beatable," said British boxer star Amir Khan, who is hoping that his impressive showing on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard lands him a fight with Mayweather in the fall.
"He is getting older and showing a lot of mistakes that he didn't used to do. It is a great time to catch him."
Maidana, who came into the fight a 11-1 underdog, lost the majority decision but he won the respect of Mayweather. He did it by swarming the American every chance he could.
- Mayweather undefeated -
The 37-year-old Mayweather remained undefeated in 46 pro fights by outpointing Maidana to unify the welterweight division.
Mayweather retained his World Boxing Council crown and took the World Boxing Association belt away from the 30-year-old Maidana.
Maidana's game plan was to show Mayweather no respect, keep him off balance and do whatever he could to win even if that meant breaking the rules at bit.
Maidana landed 221 punches out of a total of 858 he threw. He landed more punches than any of the 38 previous Mayweather opponents tracked by Compubox.
Miguel Cotto also threw a lot of punches in his 2012 fight, but his mistake was trying to outbox the clever Mayweather instead of smothering him with rights and lefts.
Maidana's trainer Robert Garcia said during the build up to the fight they would model their game plan after the way Victor Ortiz fought Mayweather in September 2011.
Ortiz was hitting a visibly frustrated Mayweather with some solid punches before he dropped his guard to say something to the referee.
Mayweather seized that moment to hit Ortiz when he wasn't looking, knocking him out in the fourth round.
Mayweather tried the same move against Maidana in the eighth round Saturday as the Argentinian was trying to get the attention of the referee Tony Weeks. But Maidana had done his homework, so was ready for it and dodged the punch.
- 'I won this fight' -
"Floyd did not fight like the man I expected him to," Maidana said. "I definitely think I won this fight."
Asked in the ring immediately after the fight if he would give Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) a rematch Mayweather replied, "Let's do it again." Then during the post-fight news conference, Mayweather shook the hand of Garcia on the podium and reiterated there would be a rematch.
But judging by his comments in the build up to the fight, Mayweather's word might not be worth much.
One moment he was talking about this being his last fight and the next day he would be discussing fighting more so he could cement his legacy.
Once the fight was over -- and there were no more pay-per-view tickets to sell -- he dismissed any talk of retirement.
One also has to wonder if all the distractions in Mayweather's personal life didn't have an affect on his preparation for this fight.
Mayweather, who earned $32 million for Saturday's fight, is at the halfway stage of his six-fight contract with Showtime sports channel. If he keeps on winning and finishes the contract he would be 49-0, the same record as the legendary Rocky Marciano.
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