The Pugilist

Five things we learned from the Mayweather v Maidana show

The Pugilist

View gallery

.

1) A beatable Mayweather is far more entertaining

Floyd Mayweather Jr will draw huge money for every remaining fight he participates in, until the day he retires for real this time. We know that. The man has reached a level few boxers do and draws bigger crowds to his weigh-ins and press conferences than some world title-level fighters do for their actual contests. But since his temporary hiatus at the start of the decade, his bouts have lacked a matching degree of intrigue once the bell rung.

His win over then-unbeaten Saul Alvarez last September shattered all kinds of records going in, but once Floyd stepped up through the gears from the third round onwards the contest was little more than an exhibition.

However, in Marcos Maidana, Mayweather found an opponent who was able to leave spectators guessing and force a vulnerable side from the pound-for-pound king that hasn’t been seen in some time. Maidana landed more shots on the evasive Mayweather than any of his previous 45 conquests, and the cut above Floyd’s eye may have been from an accidental clash of heads but nonetheless came courtesy of ‘El Chino’ bulldozing and harassing and refusing to let up, leaving Floyd struggling to control the fight for several rounds.

Even though it’s likely a rematch would see Mayweather put his experience of the Argentine to good use and emerge a more clear winner, it now stands out as the fight which would give fans their moneys worth more than any other current realistic option.

++++

View gallery

.

2) Amir Khan is finally listening to Virgil Hunter

Khan swapped trainer Freddie Roach for Virgil Hunter after his explosive knockout defeat to Danny Garcia in the summer of 2012. At the time, it seemed like another frustrating failure to accept responsibility for his own errors from a man who has developed a knack for pointing the finger whenever his talents have gone unfulfilled between the ropes. Finally, it is looking like it was, in fact, a very wise and career-bolstering decision from the Brit.

It’s not as if Roach cannot train his boxers to defend. He’s one of the best in the world at what he does and his resume speaks volumes. But with Khan, it seemed as though there were breakdowns in communication during fights which led to the Bolton boy walking into danger far too often. In other words, Khan was failing to listen to Roach and Roach was unable to make him listen.

But as unconvincing as Amir was in his first two Hunter fights against Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz, the highlight of both was his new trainer screaming at his charge as if he were a persistently naughty schoolkid.

Eventually, Khan listened to orders here or there – and during a year out of the ring, it looks like Khan was put through proverbial boarding school by headmaster Hunter. Against Collazo, Khan came across as the complete fighter he always could have been with more discipline, and it bodes well for his future.

++++

View gallery

.

3) Maidana's approach exposed previous Mayweather victims

When Marcos Maidana ended the unbeaten streak of Adrien Broner in December, he didn’t do so with some meticulous, ingenious gameplan. He simply trained his backside off and stepped into the ring with the same determination and lack of intimidation he carried throughout the fight’s build. He then introduced Broner to a world he’d never before seen. A world of pain, discomfort and adversity. It worked. And it almost worked again against the very best on the planet.

Yet again, Maidana’s approach was so painstakingly basic yet effective, it says a lot about the countless men who stood opposite Mayweather promising to shock the world before not only failing to do so, but failing to even convince anyone it was remotely on the cards. Alvarez’s struggles can be put down to a learning curve which the Mexican already appears to be growing from. The rest of the bunch in recent years were about as disappointing as Wladimir Klitschko’s run of toolbox challengers, sans Tony Thompson.

Maidana, like Thompson against Wlad, at least made Floyd sing for his supper despite losing and as a result deserves a rematch, if only for the same reason Thompson deserved a second crack at Klitschko: to give us fans something worth watching.

++++

View gallery

.

4) Adrien Broner is a second-rate Floyd Mayweather wannabe

Some of it was subtle: after all, Broner crowing about being undefeated isn’t Mayweather-like, it’s any unbeaten boxer-like. But then, much of it was about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the crown jewels. From his antics in strip clubs to his flushing currency down to the toilet to the never-ending spiel about being Mayweather’s ‘baby brother’, Broner has rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way since emerging as a professional prospect.

Unfortunately for ‘The Problem’, his biggest problem is that he lacks the one similiarity to Mayweather that would allow him to be so crass and overbearing – Floyd’s talent.

Broner looked more comfortable at light-welter than welter, and did indeed get the decisive win over Carlos Molina he needed to recover from the Maidana pasting. And yet, he hardly convinced anyone he was a world-class boxer in the process, just like in each of his preceding fights as a pro.

Not for the first time, he had the live crowd against him – and not in a Mayweather v de la Hoya way, but in a ‘go away’ manner. And when he tried to amp up his ‘persona’ post-bout by boasting that he “beat the f*** out of a Mexican”, he earned the disdain from both the crowd and especially the TV network that he deserved.

A more mature Broner since losing his ‘zero’? Yeah, right.

++++

View gallery

.

5) Mayweather v Khan WOULD be a fascinating fight

For months, Mayweather v Maidana looked set to be Floyd v Amir. Maidana’s win over Broner changed the course of things, and yes the manner in which Khan was convinced to skip a bout with Devon Alexander for the ‘Money’ match which never came was a crappy move from the Mayweather team, but the general consensus was that the Brit didn’t deserve to fight Mayweather, anyway.

But here’s the deep, dark, dirty secret that the boxing purists and the hordes of British fans who have decided to be ridiculously hateful towards anything Khan does don’t want you to know: if they do eventually sign up for that bout, all of those purists and all of those Khan haters are going to open up their wallets and fork out for the fight. And they’re probably going to enjoy every second of it.

As Amir has repeated before and after the win against Collazo, styles make fights. Maidana brought a fresh approach to Mayweather and freshened up Floyd for the first time in years. So what if Mayweather is odds-on to beat Khan? When is he not almost certain to win?

Only Maidana in recent times has brought that aspect of doubt to a Mayweather fight, and after he gets his deserved rematch, that doubt will be gone unless he manages to land that big one in the second meeting. And assuming Mayweather sees him off again, he needs something different, something he can sink his teeth into promotionally – not another proud Latin slugger who bulks up by 10 pounds after the weigh-in in hopes of landing a ‘Hail Mary’ punch.

Khan will be observing Ramadan in the Autumn, but Cinco de Mayo 2015 v Mayweather? Why not?

Liam Happe | Follow on Twitter @liamhappe

View Comments (51)