Michael McCarthy looks at how Floyd Mayweather claimed a unanimous decision victory on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in a fight that was entertaining at times but overall, a predictable affair.
Although it may seem harsh to criticise Mayweather for delivering another master-class in tactical boxing, considering he claims that he will fight just twice more, this fight felt a little unsatisfactory. We had seen this before, we knew how it would play out and although the quality of performance is to be admired, it feels like an opportunity wasted.
Unlike the first fight, when Mayweather’s footwork was sluggish, Floyd showed this time that he still has some juice in those legs. The bull-rushing of Marcos Maidana that proved so effective the first time around was mostly nullified by Mayweather’s ability to dance out of trouble and keep the fight in the centre of the ring.
With time and space to operate, Mayweather is surgical in his precision. Both his jab and his lightning quick right hand counter punches landed cleanly all night. On the occasions that Maidana managed to get inside the jab, Mayweather was quick to clinch, preventing the kind of wild, winging punches that Maidana threw in the first fight.
Unable to work on the inside, and unable to pin his opponent against the ropes, Maidana’s chances were quickly reduced to essentially hit and hope. Unfortunately for Maidana, his best punch of the fight landed right as the bell sounded to end the third round. The Argentine dominated the fourth round as Mayweather, perhaps still reeling a little from the punch he shipped, reverted briefly to loitering on the ropes and covering up.
But by the 5th round, Mayweather had recovered and returned to the comfort of the centre of the ring. The remaining rounds were relatively drama free. Mayweather was content to rack up the rounds whilst the tiring Maidana began to get more frustrated and more desperate. In the 8th round, it appeared that Maidana bit Mayweather’s glove, causing the pound-for-pound king to yelp in pain and complain bitterly to referee Bayless.
Maidana may have escaped a point deduction for the biting incident but he did not escape when he threw Mayweather to the canvas in the 10th round. That point deduction removed any slim possibility of Maidana winning the fight on the scorecards. The knock-out Maidana needed never looked likely to come in the remaining rounds and Mayweather nonchalantly raised his hand in victory as the final bell sounded.
The scorecards were unanimous 115-112 and 116-111 (twice) in favour of Mayweather who retained his WBA and WBC welterweight titles, his WBC light-middleweight title and also banked a minimum of $32 million for his night’s work.
Mayweather is at the tail-end of his Hall of Fame career and looking to cement his legacy. The discussion centres on where he will rank among the all-time greats, and that is why this fight was perhaps a little disappointing. This win does nothing for Mayweather’s legacy and with so few fights remaining it feels like a wasted opportunity.
After Carl Frampton’s electrifying victory last weekend, interest in the super-bantamweight division continues to grow as two of the Jackal’s potential rivals were in action this weekend. On the undercard in Las Vegas, explosive Mexican Leo Santa Cruz put his WBC super-bantamweight title on the line against Manuel Roman. Santa Cruz was keen to impress and pressed the action from the opening bell.
Roman had no answer for the speed and power of Santa Cruz. The champion peppered Roman with body shots in the opening three minutes before switching upstairs for the second round. A crushing right hand to the jaw in the first minute of the second round ended the challenger’s night early.
Santa Cruz demonstrated the power and aggression that has helped him generate a following but it is difficult to draw any conclusions about his true ability from less than four minutes of action against an over-matched opponent.
Meanwhile, in Manchester, Bury’s Scott Quigg retained his WBA title against Belgian Stephane Jamoye. Quigg looked neat and tidy against Jamoye. In defence he is compact, keeping his chin low and elbows tucked by his side. Jamoye was game and came out in the second round all guns blazing but Quigg blocked almost everything thrown at him. Quigg came in with a definite strategy to work the body and when the opportunity arose, he finished Jamoye with a devastating body shot in the third round.
Despite the early knock out, Quigg showed little to worry IBF champ Carl Frampton. Although technically very solid, neither Quigg’s footwork nor his hand-speed looked like they could match up with Frampton’s.
Afterwards, both Quigg and trainer Joe Gallagher were quick to respond to Frampton’s challenge. Both fighter and trainer insisted a meeting with Frampton is a fight they want and one that can be made. However, just like Team Frampton did seven days earlier, Quigg and Gallagher also mentioned Leo Santa Cruz as a potential alternative opponent. Although Gallagher was refreshingly honest in admitting that Quigg wants no part of Guillermo Rigondeaux, unless there is crazy money at stake.
The only other fight of real significance on the Manchester card saw Anthony Joshua continuing his development with another impressive knock-out, this time against Konstantin Airich. The momentum behind Joshua continues to build with every impressive performance. But, as pointed out by Paul Smith on the Sky Sports broadcast team, Joshua need only look at fellow British heavyweight David Price for an example of the dangers of advancing too quickly.
The public may be keen to see Joshua make a major leap and challenge the likes of Tyson Fury or Derek Chisora but it must be remembered that Joshua has yet to complete three rounds in a fight. Eddie Hearn and company will have to reign in expectations and allow Joshua the time to make some mistakes and learn the professional game before exposing him to bigger challenges.
Michael McCarthy, Pundit Arena.