Mayweather vs Maidana rematch, the '75 Percent' rule and what boxing history suggests about return bouts
Baring an outrageous scenario such as Pacquiao vs Bradley I, the winner of the first fight enters the ring knowing he has already conquered his foe. Moreover, it's likely nearly everyone watching, including the judges and refereee, is aware of what happened in the first meeting.
During the early 1990s, some experts in boxing insisted: The winner of the first bout is victorious in the rematch 75 percent of the time.
Just a few hours ago in an IBF Super Bantamweight showdown, Carl Frampton defeated Kiko Martinez in a rematch of their first bout which was also won by Frampton.
And earlier this year in one of the most anticipated rematches in boxing history, superstar and IBF Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch collected his second win against George Groves in their rematch.
But does the winner of the first bout really win 3 of 4 rematches?
Where did they get that stat from and do the boxing record books support it?
One would certainly be hardpressed to concur with this '75 Percent' rule using data from the last 20 years... or 60. However, it may be safe to say the winner of the first fight wins at least 2 of 3 times (or 67 percent) in the return bout.
Even when the first fight ends in controversy, the winner, more often than losing, will defeat his foe more decisively in the rematch. (Mayweather vs Castillo, Ali vs Liston and Louis vs Walcott)
And when the result of the first bout is deemed a fluke, the winner, probably more often than losing, takes the rematch. (Dempsey vs Tunney, Hearns vs Barkley, Mosley vs Wright, Mosley vs Forrest, Forrest vs Mayorga, Holmes vs Spinks , Holyfield vs Tyson... and so on).
Sometimes, first fights can be an odd indicator of the rematch. If you think lightening can't strike the same place twice, think again.
Andrew Golota was disqualified twice against Riddick Bowe in consecutive bouts, clearly winning at the time of the stoppage both times. Terry Norris was also disqualified in back-to-back title bouts with Luis Santana. Montell Griffin won two controversial tilts over the favored James Toney and Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson in the opening round in both of their meetings.
'The Theater of the Unexpected and Absurd' can, in fact, show up for an encore in the rematch.
So what about the rematch itself?
How significant is the return match? Does the winner of the second bout have a much higher probability of winning a third meeting?
Without performing exhaustive research, it would probably be safe to answer 'Yes.' The '75 Percent' rule may, in fact, apply here.
Robinson vs LaMotta, Ali vs Frazier, Moore vs Maxim, Ali vs Norton, Gatti vs Ward, Barrera vs Morales, Leonard vs Duran, Patterson vs Johansson, Duran vs De Jesus, Pacquiao vs Marquez, Chavez vs Randall, Jones vs Tarver, Walcott vs Charles, Duran vs Pazienza, Mundine vs Soliman and Carabjal vs Gonzalez.
What do the above fight sagas have in common?
The winner of the second fight won the third bout.
Regardless of the outcome of the first fight, history seems to show the winner of the second is more likely to be triumphant in the third affair than the winner of the first in the rematch.
There are exceptions, of course. The Holyfield vs Bowe trilogy may represent one of the few times in high-profile prizefighting where the winner of rematch lost the third fight. And yes, Corrales vs Casamayor and Stieglitz vs Abraham may also fall in that '25 percent.'
So what does all of this mean for the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs Marcos Maidana welterweight title fight and rematch?
Mayweather, the winner of the first affair, will not only have a psychological advantage, he will have boxing history on his side. However, should he lose next Saturday, Maidana would have a greater edge, historically-speaking, in their rubber match.
Mayweather vs Maidana 2
Date: September 13, 2014
Time: 8pm ET (Actual time for main event may be closer to 11 pm ET)
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Mayweather vs Maidana: Stats and facts