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Unfair Criticism: Why Maidana Was the Right Choice for Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Jr Marcos Rene MaidanaBy Raj Parmar: For the past few days Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has caused quite an uproar in the boxing world by loudly complaining about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather – Marcos Maidana title fight approaching on May 3. Arum considers the Golden Boy Promotions event extremely uncompetitive and has actually called upon boxing fans to boycott the fight in order to drive Golden Boy and Mayweather to set up more competitive fights for the world’s top pound for pound star.

As these words are coming from a boxing promoter who has decades of proven experience in staging high caliber fight cards, it is easy to take his words at face value and go along with the notion that the fight is a mismatch and that Mayweather (45-0) has purposely selected an opponent who stands no chance to dethrone him. However upon examining the landscape of potential opponents combined with Maidana’s recent history, it starts to become clear that “El Chino” may in fact be the best choice for Floyd at this point in time given the available opponents.

In early 2012, Marcos was virtually shut out in his debut at welterweight by slick boxing technician Devon Alexander. This obviously put Maidana’s career in limbo and at this point he wouldn’t have been considered for the undercard of a Mayweather event, let alone the chance to fight “Money” himself. So between the Alexander fight and current day, let’s see what happened with Maidana (35-3) that has led him to his current lucrative position.

1) Jesus Soto Karass: Marcos hooked up with trainer Robert Garcia after the embarrassing loss to Alexander and faced off against the durable and bigger Soto Karass (27-6) in his first fight with Garcia. Karass is by no means an upper echelon fighter; however he rarely gets knocked down and was a good test for a regrouping Maidana. Marcos surprised everyone by the amount of jabs he was throwing in the fight as he in the past almost exclusively threw power shots. Maidana put Karass down in the 7th round with a vicious five punch combination and finished him off in the 8th. Anyone who saw this fight saw the vast improvement Maidana made in terms of setting up his big punches versus just swinging wildly with no coherent gameplan.

2) Angel Martinez: After the Karass victory, Maidana engaged in a tune-up against little known Angel Martinez (13-3) in his native Argentina. A quick KO victory ensued after Marcos landed a brutal body shot however this fight was nothing more than a stay busy fight.

3) Josesito Lopez: In mid-2013 Maidana locked horns with the always tough Lopez (30-5) in an all action bout. After controlling the fight early on with his newfound jab combined with his marquee power shots, Maidana was hurt by a desperate Lopez in the 4th by left hooks to the body and head. Marcos showed improved discipline than in the past by opting to back away from Lopez and stay out of his range for the remainder of round versus trying to slug it out. This enabled Maidana to recover and get Lopez out of there in the 6th by battering Lopez into submission with brutal right hands to the head.

4) Adrian Broner: Everyone knows what happened here as Maidana exponentially built on his new found momentum with his dominating performance against rising star Broner (27-0). Although it could be argued that Broner might have been a little over-hyped due to his friendship with Mayweather, the power and intense pressure Marcos displayed against a champion who has never been seriously hurt or knocked down in 27 professional fights was amazing. It should be noted this was the first fight Marcos had with conditioning coach Alex Ariza; and the stamina he showed by throwing a high rate of power shots even in the later rounds dwarfed anything we saw from him before in terms of conditioning.

These past four fights definitely show that Maidana is peaking in boxing ability as well as conditioning, and that the inclusion of Garcia and Ariza is having a very special impact on him. The loss to Alexander is a long way back and he is clearly not that same fighter with Garcia and Ariza at the helm. The Maidana we are going to see on May 3 will actually be the first Maidana we see that has a complete training camp with Garcia/Ariza, as the duo did not spend a full training camp with Maidana for the Broner fight due to other commitments around that time-frame (training Brandon Rios for Manny Pacquiao).

The win over Broner also made Maidana the WBA welterweight champion. While it’s a fact that titles in boxing do not mean as much as they used to, a titleholder is at most times a top tier fighter. Mayweather is titleholder at both welterweight and super welterweight, therefore if he should not have picked Maidana as Arum has stated, then lets look at the other champions at welterweight and super welterweight that he could have fought instead.

At welterweight the other two titleholders besides Mayweather/Maidana are Shawn Porter (23-0) and Manny Pacquiao (56-6). Pacquiao of course just won the WBO title off of Tim Bradley and has been rebuilding himself from a KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. Porter is an upcoming fighter who is just beginning to make a name for himself and is not at the recognition level to fight Mayweather as yet.

At super welterweight the three champions besides Mayweather are Saul Alvarez (43-1), Carlos Molina (22-5) and Demetrius Andrade (20-0). Floyd has recently beaten Alvarez, and Molina has not had a KO since 2011 despite fighting modest competition and has absolutely zero momentum going for him to even be thinking of Floyd. Andrade just like Porter is a young fighter on the rise but has not yet attained the proper recognition to share the ring with Floyd.

Thus once the landscape is properly analyzed, it is clear Maidana is the absolutely best choice available for Mayweather. There is no fighter with the momentum and recognition in Mayweather’s weight classes that can match what Maidana has been able to put together at this point in time. This does not mean Maidana has a good shot to beat Floyd, it just means that out of the current competition available he deserves it the most. The fact that he might not have a good percentage to beat Mayweather does not reflect on Floyd picking a fighter who does not deserve the fight, it likely more reflects on how far superior Mayweather is than the current crop of boxers fighting in his weight classes.

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