Three seventh games, of seven-game NBA playoff series and a unique Kentucky Derby spectacle preceded the 12-round bout between Marcos Maidana, WBA (Super) Welterweight Champion, and Mayweather, WBC Welterweight Champion.
When the disputed gloves came off (or on), pay-per-view customers felt a deep sense of satisfaction, and Mayweather walked off with a new championship belt, $32 million, a couple of knots on his forehead, and a most admirable list of accounts receivable; including the immediately requested rematch with Maidana.
Several worthy young suitors await the chance to provide Mayweather with his first loss; at this point, to do so would make history. Amir Khan, Kell Brook (undefeated), Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner are just a few principal contenders in the Welterweight (147-pound) division. Manny Pacquiao is the top rated contender. Though we can stop short of announcing a rebirth of a golden age in the middleweight classes, things are far from the days of "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, Tommy "Hitman" Hearns, and "Sugar" Ray Leonard. Yet guarding against youth and inspired aggression – in interviews many young boxers have proclaimed beating Mayweather to be their daily inspiration and mental picture – Mayweather should keep a choosey eye with future opponents, as he has in recent years.
Mayweather, 37, is now 46-0 in his 16-year career. Known as a master of the "sweet science" of boxing, barber shop arguments for Mayweather's rights to the title of "greatest ever" are sure to ring louder as he approaches a potential professional career without blemish. This final decade (or so) of his career could be a mesmerizing attraction in a way similar to the final innings of a no-hitter in baseball. Rocky Marciano – now forever linked to the movie "Coming to America" – is the most recognized undefeated boxing champion in the sport's history. Mayweather's opponents (haters too) are watching the sands of his career's hourglass with a less celebratory mindset.
Emboldened by an impressive showing against Mayweather, Maidana had his own thoughts about Mayweather's place in history.
"He didn't fight like a man," said Maidana (note to kids – when someone can't crack your discipline, their last resort is to attack your pride ... say, no go).
After throwing a soul tiring 858 punches, 637 of which connected, Maidana has the value of being able to say that he definitely took a swing at history. It can also be credited that his successful punches landed with a purposeful thud, and resulted in a record number of punches (221) landed on Mayweather. Yet it was Mayweather's clean power shots to Maidana's jaw that left the greater boxing impression for the evening; though an adjusted game plan in the future would be advisable, if he wants to keep his titles.
According to Mayweather, he defied his fathers' instruction to avoid the heavy activity expected from Maidana. Mayweather, Sr. also suggests that his son should avoid a rematch with Maidana all together. Instead, Mayweather, Jr. quite impressively stood firm and square before Maidana. Early rounds in the match had Mayweather, Jr. seem to follow Muhammad Ali's script for the "rope-a-dope" (purposely sandbagging and allowing the opponent to tire out) yet later in the bout it showed that it simply may have taken him time to understand how to best combat Maidana's aggressive style. Or maybe he just got tired of getting hit. Those hits may have had more painful consequences if long contract negotiations hadn't demanded Maidana use a more standard style of glove than those he prefers. At this point in Mayweather, Jr.'s career, every detail must be scrutinized, because suitors may resort to unsavory tactics, considering the history and money to be made.
Boxing, like many sports, can heavily depend upon the match-up of styles. For several recent years, the Mayweather, Jr. versus Pacquiao match-up has been the most anticipated potential bout for boxing fans (contractual details and issues with management have been the dilemma). Maidanas' relentless approach resembles that of Pacquiao, and thus provides a hint of foreshadowing to imagine the coveted bout. Pacquiao's 2012 loss to Timothy Bradley has allowed the other mix of match-ups to become more attractive for Mayweather, Jr. One could argue that the loss created a perfect storm for Mayweather, Jr.'s future line-up of fights; and thus paychecks.
The middleweight classes are keeping up the glamour in boxing. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro could be a potential platform to boomerang a new crop of champions into the next generation of boxers – perhaps even "the one" to beat Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Jr.
I doubt it. He's too close to undisputed history, and potential $70 million paydays make Money allergic to losses.