THE BOXING GENIUS AND THE BRAWLER----Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Marcos Maidana

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Mayweather vs Maidana


3rd May on Showtime
MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
12 rounds for :
    Mayweather's WBC and The Ring welterweight titles
    Maidana's WBA welterweight title

PREDICTION : Mayweather by decision (not a bad bet @ 1.60), Mayweather KO a bit short @ 2.60.

For all the talk about this fight being a mismatch it may just end up being one of the most interesting fights involving Floyd Mayweather in recent memory. Marcos Maidana brings a style that Floyd hasn’t seen since he knocked out Ricky Hatton 7 years ago. Maidana is a brawler who seeks to put his opponent under constant pressure. He is not the most skillful fighter but makes up for this with extreme power, intensity and toughness. Consequently he has found himself in an unexpected situation. A fight at the pinnacle of the pro boxing mountain against the pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Maidana’s explosive domination of Adrian Broner in his last fight raised his profile enough to make a fight with Mayweather viable. Broner idolises Mayweather and consequently tries to copy his boxing style. The problem for Broner is, unlike Floyd, he is not a world class fighter. Nonetheless, if Maidana can beat up a poor man's version of Floyd what can he do against the real deal?


Disguised left hook

After 2010 Maidana employed the services of Robert Garcia as his trainer and this seems to have paid big dividends for his career. Pre Garcia, Maidana was very one dimensional with only a strong right hand. However against Broner, Maidana’s main weapon of choice was his left hook. This seems to be a punch Garcia has developed for Maidana and it seemed to really take Broner by surprise, as Maidana used it to hurt him multiple times.


As can be seen in the video below, Maidana repeatedly hit Broner with jabs to the body while bending down to avoid a counter. Then once he got Broner to react to these jabs he would throw a left hook to his head. However, when he threw this hook the key to it’s effectiveness was he would bend down making it look like a jab to the body, Broner would lower his right hand protecting his chin to parry this 'body jab' then Maidana changes mid-punch to a hook, landing clean on the exposed chin of Broner. This worked multiple times throughout the fight. He will likely try this against Floyd who will no doubt be ready for it. The attack did not end there with Maidana constantly following up with an overhand right which he angles down over the top of his opponents shell defence shoulder roll.



Angled right hand 

Broner, like Floyd uses the shell defence a lot of the time. This involves turning and leaning sideways to block opponents right hand punches with the shoulder. This is why when Maidana was throwing his right he would get up close and start it very high and angle it downwards. With this angle he could get past Broner's shell defence where a normal right hand thrown straight and from the chin would just skim off his opponents raised shoulder.







Mayweather’s shell defence


Floyd used his shell defence as always perfectly against Canelo Alvarez in his previous fight. Canelo went to the body relentlessly with occasional hooks and right hands to the head in a similar way to what Maidana did to Broner. The difference was that Maidana closed distance on Broner so as to be able to nail him with angled right hands. Canelo never really pressured Floyd up close. He would throw his combos, Floyd blocking and moving his head making him miss everything, then back off and reset. Maidana is likely to throw the same combinations but get up close continuing to pressure and try to land the angled right.



Distance

Controlling distance will be the most important aspect of this fight. If Maidana gets close Floyd will likely clinch and hold to stop and smother the close attack. Floyd will want to fight from a distance to slow down the pace of the fight enabling him to pot shot Maidana with his favorite lead rights and hooks then move. Maintaining distance also gives Floyd space and time to counter punch.


Maidana’s best chance is to get off his combinations first and keep the pressure on until Floyd escapes. He needs to get in his face when attacking and back off out of distance when he needs a rest. He can take rests this fight as Floyd is unlikely to pressure him. 


Maidana's chin

Without the footwork and head movement to be evasive and make Floyd miss, Maidana is going to have to take a lot of hard shots to get close and apply pressure. Maidana has a great chin with which he has often in previous fights absorbed hard shots and kept going forward all the while throwing punches where other fighters would have been dropped or at least had to back off and reset. This is very physically and mentally taxing on an opponent who likes to fight from a distance and slow the pace down.



Marcos Maidana shows us a look we have not seen in a while in a Floyd Mayweather fight. He is not a highly skilled boxer but a brutal brawler. He will no doubt attempt to apply constant pressure with little concern for getting hit. We saw the damage he did 6 months ago against Floyd's 2nd rate clone in Adrien Broner. Using his disguised left hook and angled overhand rights he made Broner's version of the shell defence look silly. While Floyd may come across as decidedly unsophisticated outside the ring with his "Money Mayweather" personna, he is extremely sophisticated in the ring. He will show us how the shell defence is done right with proper timing and counter punching. When Maidana tries to close distance Mayweather will use the lead right (See Who Can Beat Da Alien? for more on lead right hands) and hooks to catch him coming in. If Maidana gets too close he will look to tie him up and hold to smother his attacks.

The last time Mayweather had a reckless brawler coming at him was when he fought Ricky Hatton 7 years ago. That has been his only knockout of an opponent since (aside from a very tainted KO of Victor Ortiz). However this was not an easy fight for Floyd who was under a lot of pressure throughout. He weathered the early storm, took control and got the KO. This fight with Maidana may very well turn out the same. But with odds of only 2.60 for a KO, a bet on the 12 round decision in Mayweather's favour is the best bet at 1.60.

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