Floyd Mayweather: 'Money May' has spoiled the massesWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Explosive at times and strategic at others, it was, in some ways, an impressive performance for boxing's top pound-for-pound fighter who showcased brilliant speed and footwork as well as a pretty gritty chin.
Although a flat-footed Mayweather had looked a bit faded in the first Maidana bout, he once again showed an ability to set traps, make his opponent miss and then counterpunch to good effect.
According to Punchstats, Mayweather, who had Maidana air-conditioning the arena at times with massive whiffs, out-landed his opponent 166-122 in overall shots and 108 to 77 in power punches.
However, this time around some voiced their displeasure at Floyd's performance because 'Money May' didn't lie on the ropes and appeared to get away with more holding than fans are accustomed to seeing, especially from him.
Even Floyd was overly critical of himself.
"I give myself a C, C-minus," said Mayweather who seemed disappointed with his performance.
"I'm better than that. I got hit with some shots that I shouldn't have gotten hit with."
Is Mayweather over the hill?
Recently, former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi told ESPN:
"I don't know if he has a lot left as the best pound-for-pound fighter. I think the greatness of Floyd Mayweather and his best days are probably behind him."
"Comparing Floyd Mayweather to the prime Ray Robinson or the prime Ray Leonard of the past is just ludicrous. At the age that Mayweather is at now, none of those guys were even relevant anymore."
"I think you have to give the guy credit for what he's accomplished and what he's done."
Although Paulie lauded Floyd for the latter's career accomplishments, he failed to give him props for his victory over a tough, awkward champion-level fighter who is as durable as he is strong.
Marcos Maidana isn't exactly chopped liver. Sans Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, a win over Maidana would greatly bolster any welterweight's stock.
When the 37 year old Floyd sat on the ropes and traded punches in the first bout, his critics insisted he was over-the-hill. And then when Mayweather moved and proceeded to outbox his foe and win by a greater margin, his critics still asserted he was on the downslide because he didn't sit in the pocket, roll his shoulder and dodge volleys like fans are accustomed to.
Perhaps Mayweather has spoiled the masses?
FACT: Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Rocky Marciano and Joe Louis didn't steamroll every opponent when they were on top. Even at their best, they didn't win every minute of every round nor did they utterly dominate.
As a matter of fact, Robinson, Ali, Tyson, Marciano and Louis had experienced knockdowns at some point in their careers by the age 29.
- A prime Sugar Ray Leonard was taking a beating against Thomas Hearns before he knocked out his foe in Round 14.
- Rocky Marciano, at the top of his game, was losing decisively over thirteen rounds against Jersey Joe Walcott before he landed his famous Susie Q.
- A 21 year old Roberto Duran (31-0 at the time) tasted the canvas against Esteban De Jesus en route to losing the fight.
- Still in his late 20s, Marvin Hagler, in peak condition, narrowly escaped the clutches of defeat against Roberto Duran, winning a tight decision over fifteen rounds.
- And a 22 year old Sugar Ray Robinson (40-0 at the time) was knocked through the ropes by Jake LaMotta, and would eventually suffer his first loss in the process
Were any of those guys on the decline?
Should we have questioned their skills because they met opponents they struggled against?
When a 27 year old Oscar De La Hoya lost to Shane Mosley, no one was saying the 'Golden Boy' was over the hill. But Floyd absorbs a few heavy shots (in the first fight) from one of the top pound-for-pound punchers in boxing and fights cautiously (in the rematch), and critics label him "vulnerable" and question his abilities as boxing's top fighter.
Are people too pre-occupied with Mayweather's age or their own (mis) perceptions of age in general? Or, simply, have they been pampered by years of perfection?
Nevertheless, if Floyd is slipping and becoming more vulnerable defensively, his critics should be heralding his skills instead of disparaging them. After all, Muhammad Ali's most thrilling fights occured when he was past his prime. His increased so-called "vulnerability" leveled the playing field and resulted in more action and intrigue.
Floyd Mayweather, like his peer Manny Pacquiao, is a master craftsman and fans should enjoy the artistry of both fighters while they are still on top.
And Paulie... At 37, Sugar Ray Robinson was far from irrelevant. At that age, Ray was the 'one and only' World Middleweight Champion, having defeated fight legend and Hall of Famer Carmen Basilio in 1958's RING Magazine Fight of the Year.