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IS MAYWEATHER PLAYING GAMES?


PhilBoxing.com




Along cauliflower row, the consensus is Argentine roughhouser Marcos Maidana made a good account of himself against Floyd Mayweather in their WBC/WBA welterweight unification title fight in Las Vegas last Saturday. He pushed Money to the limit, appeared to win the first five rounds and earned a rematch on the basis of losing a close majority decision.

But you wonder if Mayweather played it straight? Did Maidana win rounds because of merit or did Mayweather allow him an early lead, a sort of ?partida? or handicap to make what was expected to be a one-sided affair a little interesting? Did Mayweather make Maidana look good so he got to lock in a rematch with an opponent who?s easy to handle?

Mayweather was a huge favorite entering the fight. The odds weren?t even close. In the early betting, you had to plunk in $1,150 to win $100 on a Mayweather wager. In contrast, a $100 bet on Maidana would earn $750. So there was no attraction in betting for Mayweather----it wasn?t worth the money. That?s something that should bother any fighter, particularly Mayweather whose love for greenbacks is legendary.

It was to Mayweather?s interest to make the Maidana fight exciting or at least competitive. He?d become too much of a favorite to entice high rollers to bet on his fights.

Remember that Mayweather chose Maidana as an opponent over Amir Khan who by the way, looked impressive in mauling Luis Collazo in the undercard. He probably saw in the Argentine something he didn?t see in Khan----he could toy around with Maidana much more easily than Khan. If Mayweather wanted to play games inside the ring, it would be no problem with Maidana.
****

Despite Maidana aggressively attacking Mayweather, was the self-proclaimed TBE (The Best Ever) hurt or even staggered a bit? Never. Mayweather knew where the punches were coming from. Maidana?s Sunday punch is the overhand right which landed occasionally or when Mayweather allowed it to.

Throughout Mayweather?s career that started in 1996, he?s been knocked down officially only once. In 2001, he took a standing eight-count after touching the canvas because of an injured wrist in the sixth round. Mayweather wasn?t dropped, he took a count because he wanted to. He went on to score a unanimous decision over Carlos Hernandez. In 2002, it looked like Jose Luis Castillo floored Mayweather with a body shot but it was ruled a slip. The fight was close although Mayweather won a unanimous decision. Four months later, they met in a rematch with the same outcome.

In 2006, Mayweather was decked by Zab Judah but referee Richard Steele called it a slip. That should?ve been a knockdown. In any case, Mayweather won a unanimous decision in the end. Two other fighters, DeMarcus Corley and Sugar Shane Mosley, managed to rock Mayweather but couldn?t score a knockdown.

Mayweather hasn?t lost as a pro. His last setback came in the semifinals of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when he lost a 10-9 verdict to Bulgaria?s Serafim Todorov. His pro record is now 46-0 and he?s chasing Rocky Marciano?s mark of 49-0. Marciano retired as the undefeated world heavyweight champion at the age of 32 in 1955. He could?ve chosen to go for 50 but refused to stake his crown against rising star Floyd Patterson. Mayweather is now 37. He has scored 26 KOs, far less than Marciano?s 43.

Mayweather has clearly fought tougher opponents than Maidana, opponents like Mosley, Corley, Judah and Castillo who hurt him. The list doesn?t even include Hernandez who scored the only knockdown in Mayweather?s career.
****

In last Saturday?s fight, it appeared that Mayweather allowed Maidana to show his stuff in the first five rounds then buckled down to business starting the sixth. Could it be that Mayweather wanted to show the fans that he isn?t invulnerable, that next time, the betting odds shouldn?t be too wide in his favor? Let?s face it. When Mayweather began to turn on the heat, Maidana was transformed into a novice, swinging wildly at air, missing badly and getting hit with sharp combinations. The numbers showed that Maidana missed 637 punches or 75 percent of what he threw. Mayweather?s defense made it possible.

Mayweather has difficulty finding an opponent whom bettors consider to be competitive. At the same time, he doesn?t want to risk staining his unblemished record. That?s why he?s been avoiding Manny Pacquiao for years. It?s no secret that Pacquiao has the best chance of beating Mayweather than any other fighter in the welterweight division.

Mayweather has three more fights left in his $250 Million contract with cable network Showtime. If fans think his next three fights will be a walk in the park, pay-per-view and attendance figures will suffer. So it?s possible Mayweather made Maidana look good so that at least, his next fight, a rematch, may be considered ?competitive? with the odds closer than in their first meeting.

Mayweather isn?t just slick in the ring, he?s a shrewd businessman. He could?ve toyed with Maidana from the start, turned him into a punching bag and bored the fans to death with technical precision. Mayweather may have fooled Maidana into thinking he fought a good fight.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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