LAS VEGAS — Leonard Ellerbe touted Marcos Maidana's punching power at a recent press gathering for Maidana's May 3 clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Ellerbe used Maidana's decision over Adrien Broner as evidence of the Argentine's threat to the huge odds favorite.
Maidana, who is more than a 7-to-1 underdog vs. Mayweather, dropped Broner once each in the second and eighth rounds of a unanimous decision that dethroned Broner as WBA welterweight titleholder in December.
"When he touches people, he hurts them. Go back and look at the Broner fight. I think that it was in the second round where he doesn't even hit Broner with a shot that he turned over," said Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "The shot is like a grazing shot, and, obviously, Broner was f___ed up after that and he didn't recover after that. Maidana's a tremendous fighter, and that's what we're preparing for. We know that we're in a fight."
Ellerbe stood behind the seated Maidana (35-3, 31 knockouts) as he spoke at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant at the MGM Grand on Saturday, where he and the hard-punching Argentine as well as trainer Robert Garcia and conditioning guru Alex Ariza addressed the prospect of facing Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) with a group of international reporters.
"This guy, right here, he's the real deal. Everybody else is taking this s__t lightly, but Floyd's busting his ass, day-in and day-out," said Ellerbe. "That's because he knows what this guy is bringing to the table. He's young, he's hungry, and he knows that he's in the fight of his life."
Ellerbe was asked whether it mattered that Mayweather has fought three times at 154 pounds for victories over Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alavarez.
"None whatsoever. Floyd walks around at 150 pounds. When he boxes and weighs out at the gym, he probably weighs 147 or 148," said Ellerbe. "Floyd's not a naturally big guy, so when it comes down to that, fights are fights, and the one guy being bigger doesn't make a difference. We're in a fight."
Although Mayweather has also vanquished big punchers in Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo, and was hurt by DeMarcus Corley and Shane Mosley, Ellerbe insists that none packed the power that Maidana does.
"In my opinion, Maidana's the biggest puncher that Floyd's faced. Maidana's the biggest puncher that Floyd has faced until this point," said Ellerbe. "He has the highest knockout percentage that's out there. Like I said, he's never ever not in an entertaining fight."
After losing his 147-pound debut by one-sided unanimous decision to southpaw Devon Alexander in February 2012, Maidana joined Garcia and reeled off three straight stoppage victories, including those over Jesus Soto Karass in the eighth round in September 2012, and in the sixth round over Josesito Lopez in June 2013 before facing Broner.
"I've had fighters like Kelly Pavlik that hit tremendously hard, but Chino's a welterweight and probably hits as hard as he does. Chino's probably one of the hardest punchers that I've ever worked with," said Garcia, who agrees with Ellerbe in reguard to Maidana's power.
"I think that he does hit harder than Cotto. Cotto throws a lot of punches that break you down, little by little, you know, the body shots and things like that. That's going to result in a lot of knockouts. But Chino has that one-punch knockout power that can hurt anybody."
Ariza was in the opposite with Amir Khan when the former titleholder unanimously decisioned Maidana, who rose from a first-round knockdown and had Khan in severe trouble in the 10th.
"I don't know where he generates that kind of power, because usually, it's a combination of things. Like with a baseball player, it transfers from the ground and up. That's mechanics. But he throws his punches are so awkward and we see the affect on his sparring partners in the way that they land," said Ariza.
"That's one of things that you can't develop. Either you're born with that or you're not. I think that most people, when they get hit by him, like with the shot on the top of Broner's head, I think he really got a taste of the power he was going to be dealing with, and you saw the effects of that for the rest of the fight."
As the gathering neared its end, a stranger shouted from outside the restaurant for Maidana to "Whip Floyd Mayweather's ass," and to "kick his ass, good."
Garcia and Ariza, who flanked Maidana, translated to the fighter what had been said.
"When I land on Mayweather," said Maidana, according to Garcia, "and I hurt him, I will finish him."