LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. saw enough of Marcos Maidana the last time around to know what to expect when they meet Saturday night in a surprisingly quick rematch.
That’s the big reason why he spent a lot of time prior to the fight talking about the respect he has for referee Kenny Bayless, and the job he thinks Bayless needs to do if Maidana uses the same roughhouse tactics he employed in their first fight in May.
“I’m pretty sure he’s (Maidana) going to be once again extremely dirty and wild, and my job is to keep everything under control the best way that I can,” said Mayweather, who won the first fight by majority decision. “I was able to make the adjustments in the first fight and we’ll see if he can make the adjustments this time.”
Maidana is only the second fighter to get a rematch against Mayweather (Jose Luis Castillo lost a close decision in their 2002 rematch), and the Argentine has vowed to be even better than he was in what was a close first fight.
“I think Floyd got pressured by the press and I think that he knows the first fight was close so he’s giving me the rematch,” Maidana said. “And I have to take full advantage.”
Some questions and answers about the bout:
Q: What’s at stake?
A: Officially there are two titles up for grabs, the 147- and 154-pound belts held by Mayweather. Unofficially, the biggest thing at stake is an 18-year perfect professional record of 46-0 for Mayweather.
Q: Will the “0” go?
A: Not likely, no matter how much promoters try to sell the idea that Maidana will be an even more serious threat to Mayweather this time around. The truth is that while Maidana did rough up Mayweather early in the first fight, Mayweather found a way to take control midway through the bout and won almost every round from there on. Mayweather is a master at adapting to whatever is in front of him in a ring, and he figures to be even better dealing with the roughhouse tactics that Maidana is sure to bring.
Q: Since this is Vegas, what do the bookies say?
A: Mayweather is a 6-1 pick, down from the 11-1 he was in the first fight. Oddsmakers believe the fight will be a unanimous decision for Mayweather, though they offer 25-1 odds on it being a draw.
Q: What is Maidana’s best chance?
A: The same as it was in the first fight, he has to rough Mayweather up, fight him inside and throw off his balance. He did it in the early rounds of the first fight, and Mayweather appeared in some trouble when he was cut above his right eye in the fourth round and could barely see. His cut man took care of the bleeding between rounds, though, and then Mayweather took care of business.
Q: How about Manny? Will a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight ever happen?
A: There’s been some chatter by Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, about HBO and Showtime agreeing on splitting what could be the richest fight ever. Mayweather still has shown no indication he wants to fight Pacquiao, but if the pay-per-view numbers are lackluster once again as they were in May for the first Maidana fight, he may start looking Pacquiao’s way. Interestingly, Mayweather didn’t completely rule out a Pacquiao fight this week as he has in the past, though he said there have been no talks about a possible bout next May.
Q: Is the fight worth paying $74.95 for?
A: If it was Mayweather-Pacquiao, it’s a no-brainer. Judge for yourself whether Maidana is a credible enough opponent for an inflated price with not much of a supporting undercard. The good news is viewers don’t have to stay up as late to watch. After getting middling pay-per-view buys for the first fight Showtime moved the card up an hour (pay-per-view begins at 8 p.m. EDT) to try and entice more people in the Eastern time zone to buy.
Q: What does the AP think?
A: We see Mayweather winning a unanimous decision to boost his perfect mark to 47-0. We also see him cashing a paycheck of more than $30 million, bringing his total in his last three fights to more than $100 million.