*LAS VEGAS – For a moment, it seemed like Marcos “El Chino” Maidana could do the unthinkable – hand pound-for-pound champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather the first loss of his brilliant career. Only for a moment.
Mayweather, who is now the WBC and WBA Welterweight World Champion, prevailed with a hard-fought majority decision victory over Maidana in the main event on Saturday on SHOWTIME PPV in front of 16,268 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Judge Michael Pernick scored the fight a draw (114-114) while Burt Clemens scored 117-111 and Dave Moretti 116-112.
Mayweather vs. Maidana and Khan vs. Collazo will premiere on SHOWTIME next Saturday, May 10, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT during a SHOWTIME Free Preview Weekend-a special promotion that will make the premium network available in 74 million homes nationwide. In addition, ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Maidana will premiere “Epilogue” at 11:45 p.m. ET/PT following the special SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast of the pay-per-view bouts.
Maidana, who said he needed to throw 100 punches a round to win, came out blazing, suffocating Mayweather against the ropes and doing just that – throwing precisely 100 punches in the opening round. But the difference was accuracy, as Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) landed 54 percent of his total punches thrown compared to Maidana’s 26 percent landed.
“It was a tough, competitive fight,” Mayweather said. “I gave the fans what the fans wanted to see. Normally, I box and move. Finally, I was in a tough, competitive fight. Tonight, I wanted to stand there and fight and give the fans their money’s worth.”
The thrilling encounter was rough from the start, with Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) bullying Mayweather against the ropes and Mayweather asserting his dominance in the middle of the ring. Mayweather suffered the most significant cut of his career after a clash of heads in the fourth round and, at times, seemed in danger of losing his first bout since the amateurs.
SHO Stats compiled punches landed in 38 of Mayweather’s previous fights. On Saturday, SHO Stats revealed that Maidana hit the pound-for-pound great more times than ever, with 221 punches making contact.
“I definitely think I won this fight,” Maidana said. “Floyd did not fight like the man I expected him to. He made me change the gloves. I had bigger gloves and everything and I still gave him a fight.
“He did win some rounds, but the majority of them I dominated. I did go after him, but he’s a difficult fighter.”
After the scintillating bout that had pundits and promoters alike calling for a rematch, SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray pressed Mayweather if he would grant Maidana another shot.
“If the fans want to see it again, we’ll do it again,” Mayweather said.
While Maidana disagreed with the judges, the feeling was mutual for the Argentinean when asked if he wanted a rematch.
“I have to give him a rematch because I won the fight,” Maidana said. “I’m not scared of him. Why not give him the rematch.”
“Let’s do it again,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer:
In the co-feature, British star Amir Khan floored Luis Collazo three times en route to a 12-round unanimous decision 117-106, 119-104, 119-104.
Khan (29-3, 19 KOs), in his first bout at 147 pounds, showcased his speed, footwork and precision from the opening bell. Khan landed 50 percent of his power punches and mixed in a dose of roughhouse tactics, which added up to a frustrating night for Collazo.
Both fighters were fined a point in the eighth at separate times by referee Vic Drakulich. With Khan holding Collazo’s head down, Collazo was fined for a low blow. Just seconds later, Khan was penalized one point for holding.
“It was tough because Collazo was very awkward, but we pulled it together and came out with the win,” Khan said. “It was a tough fight to debut at 147 pounds after a 13 month layoff. Not many fighters would take a fight like this. Especially with Collazo coming off of a big knockout win over Victor Ortiz.”
After the fight, Khan pleaded his case in the Mayweather Sweepstakes.
“People want to see a fight between me and Floyd,” Khan said. “Floyd hasn’t seen speed. He’s fighting people with explosive power. But styles make fights and I think my style will give him a lot of trouble.”
Khan seemed more comfortable at 147 pounds and was able to inflict damage on the naturally bigger Collazo. He hurt Collazo (35-6, 18 KOs) with a left hook to the body in the 10th round, attacked and floored him against the ropes. Khan continued the onslaught, hitting Collazo with a relentless attack and dropped him again seconds later.
“I had to hang in there. That’s how we do it,” Collazo said. “His style was really hard. He kept grabbing me and it was difficult. Things happen. We’ll see what happens next.”
In his debut in the 140-pound division, three-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner bounced back from the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision win (99-91, 98-92, 100-90) over Carlos Molina.
Broner (28-1, 22 KO), who was fighting for the first time since his surprising loss to Maidana last December, started slow and was hit by a crushing overhand right from the confident Molina in the second round. While locked up in the third, Broner wrestled and tossed Molina (17-2-1, 13 KOs) to the ground, earning a hard warning by referee Kenny Bayless.
Broner picked up the pace in the middle rounds and took control of the bout with an impressive inside fight game.
“I feel good. It was a comeback fight,” Broner said. “I shook the cobwebs, looked good and got the victory.
“At the end of the day, I don’t make my fights. I’ll fight anybody. I’d like to fight (Manny) Pacquiao before he leaves.”
Molina admitted to being frustrated by the speed of Broner.
“I felt I stayed in there too much,” Molina said. “He’s a fast fighter with a fast jab. It was tricky for me to time the jab and I felt frustrated. I was trying to do what my corner was telling me to do, but it didn’t happen.”
Broner trainer Mike Stafford praised his pupil for his performance in a new weight division.
“I think he looked great,” Stafford said. “He didn’t get hit and he took the guy apart. He gave him a boxing lesson. People have to realize Adrien is still young. He’s in a new weight class and he has to figure this weight class out.”
In the opening bout of the PPV telecast, J’Leon Love kept his undefeated record intact with a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Marco Antonio Periban, scored 95-93, 97-92 and 96-93.
Love (18-0, 10 KOs) was effective with the jab in the early rounds before Periban (20-2-1, 13 KOs) floored him with three vicious exchanges. After barely escaping the round, Love turned the tables a bit in the sixth, landed a jab that opened up a deep cup over the left eye and cruised to victory.
“Periban is a tough dude,” Love said. “It was a good fight. He has a very awkward style. He hit me with a tough shot and I knew it was smart to take that knee because he can be very aggressive.
“I worked hard and I knew the judges would see it my way.”
Kelly Swanson/Lisa Milner/Flo Jocou, Swanson Communications/Mayweather Promotions
EUR BONUS COVERAGE:
USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Velin looks at what’s next for Floyd Mayweather Jr. after a majority-decision win over Marcos Maidana in his toughest fight in recent memory: