Nobody expected Marcos Maidana to give Floyd Mayweather a run for his money when they met on May 3. But although he entered the ring as a massive underdog who was thought to be little more than cannon fodder for Mayweather’s farewell tour, the Argentinean exited the ring winning over the hearts of many with a spirited performance that fell just short of dethroning the pound for pound king of boxing.
He’ll get his second chance at snatching the crown off of Mayweather’s head on September 13 and promises that there will be an alternate ending this time around.“I know what to expect,” Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) said on a recent call. This will be only the second time Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) has fought an opponent twice. The first time was back in 2002 when Jose Luis Castillo gave Mayweather what many considered his most difficult fight but was dominated in the rematch seven months later. But Maidana could care less about what happened over a decade ago because he will now be known as the man who gave Mayweather the most trouble. “I know Mayweather now, his style, what he brings to the table. I’m coming to win. I have more concentration, no excuses whatsoever, and adequate time.”
When the two met in May, Maidana was a whirlwind of aggression that charged Mayweather from the opening bell. Smothering the five-division champion’s ability to use his feet, Maidana trapped Mayweather along the ropes and battered him with punches to just about every body part for a majority of the fight. If nothing else, Maidana accomplished making Mayweather feel uncomfortable and gave the welterweight champion the first cut of his entire career. Although he didn’t win, he certainly gave Mayweather something to think about. And with fans clamoring for the two to duke it out again, Mayweather felt that Maidana earned a rematch. “I think that I got the rematch because it was a close fight,” Maidana explains. “He probably wants to prove a point. He wants to demonstrate that he can beat me outright. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the rematch is happening, and I’m very happy.”
Maidana’s trainer, Robert Garcia, believes that his fighter may have earned the rematch, but Mayweather may have also ran out of opponents and had to reluctantly give his fighter the rematch. “He was forced to give us a rematch,” the 39-year-old trainer explains. “There were no other names out there that he could’ve fought in September that would make sense. A rematch with Maidana is the only fight that makes sense to sell pay-per-views to please the fans, and he had no other options.”
Ever since Garcia got his hands on Maidana, the rugged Argentinean’s coal is being slowly morphed into a diamond. After watching Maidana get thoroughly outboxed by Devon Alexander in 2012, Garcia stepped in and took over training duties for Maidana. The results were impressive as the tandem upended Jesus Soto Karass, Martin Angel Martinez and Josesito Lopez all by knockout before steamrolling the self-proclaimed “mini-Mayweather” in Adrien Broner. It was that particular dominant performance that caught the attention of Mayweather and immediately placed him in the running for his next opponent. Perhaps out of a need to avenge the Broner loss, Mayweather selected Maidana in a fight that was thought to be yet another dominant performance by the unbeaten king of boxing.
What actually happened was a wildly entertaining affair that Maidana believes he would have won if he didn’t tire in the later rounds. “I was able to force him to fight, to stand and fight,” Maidana explains. “(Him getting away) had a lot to do with conditioning. The times when he decided to box were because I let him. I let him get away.”
If Maidana won the early rounds, it was clear that Mayweather made the proper adjustments to takeover the fight late. But with a longer training camp and a fight with Mayweather already in the can, Team Maidana knows exactly what they need to focus on in order to win the rematch: conditioning. “The first fight we only had five weeks of training, so sparring wasn’t the same,” Garcia reveals about the first fight. Due to Mayweather not making a decision on an opponent until February 21, Maidana would only have about six weeks of training rather than the 10 he sought after. But now, with a full camp in place, Team Maidana is confident that they can keep the champion in an uncomfortable position for the duration of the fight. “This time we’re having the full training camp, so I don’t see why we can’t do the same thing we did for the first five, six rounds for 12 rounds. I think we’re going to be able to do it for 12 rounds.”
In the buildup to the rematch, Maidana and Garcia have lost any respect that they may have previously had for Mayweather. The trash talk has picked up as Mayweather continuously called out his opponent for “fighting dirty” and Maidana has picked up the contempt in his responses. “(Him calling me a dirty fighter) doesn’t bother me,” Maidana says. “There are things that he does as well in there, so it’s time for him to stop crying and just fight.
“I’m going to do my job,” he continued. “I’m going to come to fight. I want him to come and to fight, and to stand and fight like a man. Don’t be a little bitch and run around. Come and fight like a man. Stand and fight me.” As much as Maidana hopes that Mayweather decides to stand and trade with him, he is well aware that he has to be prepared for the champion to alter his strategy should Maidana get the better of those exchanges. After an eye opening performance in their first encounter, Maidana believes that his destiny will be fulfilled in the rematch. And while most believe that he’ll have to knock out Mayweather in order to defeat him, the 31-year-old figures that he’ll have to be prepared for anything. However, a knockout would be the ultimate cherry on top of a victory sundae.
“I’m going to try to knock him out. It’s very difficult to knock out Floyd because he runs, but I’m going to do my best, and we’ll see what happens.”