Mayweather Wins But Loses Aura of Invincibility

c161ce174e7f9c0865bb70442451cc04_crop_northThe simplicity of boxing allows grand narratives to be drawn quickly. When a fight is announced, there is usually a clear ‘good’ guy and ‘bad’ guy to root for and against.

Fans are eager to label fighters with various verbal ticks such as ‘quitter’, ‘warrior’, and even ‘god’. Most of these labels are overly simplistic and largely untrue. Whether you love him or hate him it cannot be disputed that Floyd Mayweather has managed to conjure some of the most polarizing labels for himself more than any other pugilist of his generation not named Pacquiao.

Like the Roy Jones Jr. fanboys of the 90’s, fans of Mayweather will not hesitate to call him “The Greatest of All Time” or “Unbeatable”. On the opposite side of the scale, others call him such creative names like “Gayweather” and a ‘coward’.

Marcos Maidana (35-4, 31KO) would prove both generalizations wrong.

The Argentine quickly applied the same strategy he used to defeat Mayweather-look-alike Adrien Broner by making the bout a rough brawl which normally makes well-taught boxers like Mayweather (46-0, 26KO) uncomfortable.

The strategy paid off in the first half of the bout as Maidana landed the kind of wild, odd angled shots that boxing fans are not used to seeing land on Mayweather. To his credit, Mayweather kept his cool in the face of a determined challenger and landed nice body shots as well as began to establish his best and favorite weapon; the straight right hand.

A headbutt in the fourth round opened a cut above Mayweather’s eye further adding to the excitement of the fight as it became apparent that this was not going to be a typical Mayweather shutout.

Mayweather began to settle into a bit of a groove by the sixth round. He landed his signature pot-shots and quick combinations which displayed not only his tremendous speed but also his ability to adjust to an opponents tactics. A low blow by Maidana in the eighth round momentarily delayed the action but the illegal blow did not seem to faze Mayweather as he continued to use his defensive prowess to avoid the majority of Maidana’s offense and counter his attack.

When the final bell rang, both fighters celebrated. It had been a long time since a Mayweather opponent actually had enough confidence after the fight to believe he had won.

The judges did not see it exactly that way. With scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 116-112 Mayweather retained his title and earned Maidana’s WBA welterweight title. Maidana fans or more likely Mayweather haters may say that Maidana deserved the nod but when you consider who landed the cleaner shots Mayweather’s accuracy comes to play.

Maidana did make it a tough fight for Mayweather by using rough tactics to discomfort Mayweather but it needs to be noted that only certain punches can actually be counted. Illegal blows such as ones behind the head, low blows, and elbows are not officially counted by judges. At least they are not suppose to. So although Maidana’s strategy may have been somewhat successful it could not always be counted due to the various rough-house tactics he used to get to Mayweather.

With this victory, Mayweather has added a rare exciting, competitive fight to his resume. However, with the initial effectiveness of Maidana’s attack the boxing community is reminded of a simple fact. Mayweather is just another fighter. He may be one of the best of his generation and some would argue one of the best ever but he is just another human being. He is neither god nor coward. Mayweather supporters would have everyone believe that their fighter is invincible but there is no such thing. It is an interesting and romantic concept but it does not exist.

Not even for Mayweather.