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Maidana easy prey for ‘Money’

MANILA, Philippines - As a unification duel, the fight between WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and WBA titlist Marcos Maidana is supposed to draw a lot of public attention but fans are disinterested because Manny Pacquiao appears to be the only threat to blemish the unbeaten record of the man who calls himself “Money.”

Mayweather and Maidana are set to face off on May 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas where two weeks ago, Pacquiao regained the WBO 147-pound crown from Timothy Bradley on a convincing unanimous 12-round decision. Since losing to Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012, Pacquiao has won two in a row over Brandon Rios and Bradley to re-establish pole position in the queue for Mayweather. The problem is Mayweather seems to be looking the other way.

Maidana, 30, is coming off an upset victory over Adrien Broner but has no virtually no chance of repulsing Mayweather. Tim Smith of The Ring Magazine described the Argentinian brawler as “one-dimensional…noted more for his power than his boxing acumen.” He has lost thrice so far to Adreas Kotelnik, Amir Khan and Devon Alexander, all on points. Maidana struggled in hacking out a majority decision over a faded Erik Morales. Since hooking up with trainer Robert Garcia, he has beaten Jesus Soto Karass, Josesito Lopez and Broner. Former Pacquiao conditioning coach Alex Ariza is also in Maidana’s corner.

Considered a “hit or miss” proposition, Maidana may be dangerous but if he is to explode, his victim must be a standing target. Mayweather is as elusive as a phantom and he’ll shoulder-roll out of trouble before Maidana can set up. Freddie Roach said he expects Mayweather to teach Maidana a neat boxing lesson.

Mayweather, 37, has a perfect record to protect and is coming close to duplicating Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark. “Money” is 45-0, with 26 KOs, and has four more fights left in his $250 Million Showtime deal which expires in September next year. After Maidana, there will be three bouts remaining. He could book two more fights this year and a last before his contract expires. Then, Mayweather could negotiate a megabuck deal to battle Pacquiao in what should easily be the Fight of the Century.

In Mayweather’s last fight against Canelo Alvarez, pay-per-view hits reached 2.2 million, the second highest ever, behind only the 2.4 million registered for his duel with Oscar de la Hoya in 2007. The Mayweather-Alvarez fight earned a record $150 Million in pay-per-view income, eclipsing the $136 Million generated by the Mayweather-De la Hoya bout. It’s unlikely that the Mayweather-Maidana fight will even come close to a million buys.

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To drum up interest for his fight, Mayweather asked fans to vote on-line if they wanted Khan or Maidana as his next opponent. It didn’t really matter whom the fans chose. In the end, Mayweather picked Maidana “in one of the most contrived ruses ever,” noted Smith.

“It will be impossible for Mayweather-Maidana or Mayweather-any-opponent other than Pacquiao to approach the figures that the Alvarez fight did,” wrote Smith. “Of course, Mayweather will only fight whom Mayweather wants to fight. That is the deal he has with Showtime. The only thing that will prompt Mayweather…to take on another ‘risky’ opponent is his ego. If he trounces Maidana and then lines up another similar opponent, there will be a tremendous fan backlash.”

Glyn Leach of Boxing Monthly said he blames Mayweather for holding the sport hostage by choosing opponents other than Pacquiao. He predicted a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight to break all records. Ron Lewis, also of Boxing Monthly, said “while Mayweather is around, people will have something to aspire (for)…his fights could be a bit more exciting, he could be a little less brash and he could be fighting Pacquiao but (Mayweather) has mellowed well with age and if he wins both his intended bouts this year, the steps towards overtaking Marciano’s unbeaten record will be very big for the sport.”

While Maidana awaits his big chance to fight Mayweather next weekend, it’s not surprising that fans couldn’t care less about it and would rather speculate on when “Money” finally tests Pacquiao’s mettle.

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