“Only in death will I relinquish by belts.” Manny Pacquiao
By Alex P. Vidal
WE doubt if Marcos Rene Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) would survive in six rounds against Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs).
But orthodox Maidana, an ex-convict from Margarita, Santa Fe, Argentina, nearly pulled the rug from under Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0, 26 KOs) in the first of their two 12-round 147-lb duels in Las Vegas on May 3, 2014.
Shorter by one inch, Maidana, 31, was the first boxer to give Mayweather real hell.
Nicknamed “El Chino”, Maidana, who defeated the fading 38-year-old Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) by 12-round majority decision for WBA super-lightweight title on April 9, 2011, turned out to be Mayweather’s biggest mistake.
It was Maidana who exposed Mayweather as a sucker to body attack.
Only the likes of Maidana, Saul Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs), Ricky Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs), Zab Judah (42-9, 29 KOs), Mayweather’s sparring partner for the May 2 fight, and Pacquiao can muster the guts to penetrate Mayweather’s ribcage and risk being bundled out by a Mayweather counter combinations.
In their first rumble, Maidana tried to finish off the busier and taller Mayweather with body punches in the early rounds.
If it is impossible to hit Mayweather in the face during a fierce exchange, he could be smothered by a non-stop bombing in the body.
Fighting like a matador, Maidana stayed in front of Mayweather most of the time and refused to backpedal.
He even trapped Mayweather in the ropes in the fourth canto and obliged the black American to engage him in a risky waterfront brawl.
Using Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope tactics employed against George Foreman in the 15-round “Rumble in the Jungle” world heavyweight championship in Kinshasa, Zaire on October 30, 1974, Mayweather survived Maidana’s assaults and eked out a controversial 12-round majority decision at the MGM Grand.
Unimpressed by the result, both camps agreed to a rematch on September 13, 2011 in the same arena.
Mayweather learned from his mistake in the first fight of allowing Maidana to engage him in lips-to-lips and bicycled his way to a 12-round unanimous decision.
Against hard-hitting opponents, Mayweather can attract rats in his stomach.
Maidana doesn’t possess even half of Pacquiao’s power and yet, he was able to wobble Mayweather on various occasions in their first meeting.
If Maidana used at least one fourth of Pacquiao’s brains, he would have been the first prizefighter to flatten Mayweather.
But unlike Pacquiao, Maidana is not an intelligent fighter. He fights like a brainless bull; but when Maidana connects his opponent crumbles to the canvas like being gored by a bullet train.
Against Pacquiao in their fight of the century on May 2, Mayweather, 38, will face a human being who can solve a mathematical puzzle, while at the same time marshal his forces to dismantle an opponent’s defense.
He will face a robot who hits like Mike Tyson and thinks like a university magna cum laude, not a boxing derelict or an idiot from the slums of Santa Fe and Villahermosa.
“Mayweather’s strength is defense. But I am not worried about that. I can easily break that,” Pacquiao, 36, recently boasted.
Fans should continue to give their trust on Pacquiao.
He is not Marcos Maidana who allowed two golden opportunities to scalp Mayweather slip away.
Pacquiao is a thinking one-man wrecking crew.
In his recent media appearance, fire and brimstone were visible in Pacquiao’s eyes, a sign that he won’t let all his fans and countrymen down.