If Marcos Maidana had a dollar for every time he has heard Floyd Mayweather will defeat him on Saturday night, it might match the amount of his reported purse.
Fans, the media, and Las Vegas sports books do not give Maidana a significant chance to defeat the unbeaten pound-for-pound king. However, the Argentine slugger is familiar with the underdog role and has proved naysayers wrong more than once in the past.
“I have confidence in everything,” Maidana told RingTV.com in a recent interview after a workout at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, Calif. “I'm going to be very prepared.
“My motivation has been to fight and win. I'm used to being an underdog and I don't care. I'm used to it. I know that my desire to win, along with the energy and support from the Latino fight fans in attendance is what will win me this.”
Almost five years ago at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the American boxing public was introduced to Maidana, who got up from three knockdowns and stopped heavily favored Victor Ortiz in the sixth round. He almost upset another heavy favorite, Amir Khan, during their fight of the year candidate in 2010. Maidana got up from a first round knockdown and gave Khan hell before nearly stopping the British star in the 10th round. Khan hung on to win a razor-thin decision.
After losing his welterweight debut to Devon Alexander in early 2012, Maidana hired Robert Garcia as his new trainer and rang off three KO victories before being brought in as an opponent for Adrien Broner last December. As a 5-to-1 underdog and with few members of the media picking him to win, Maidana upset the brash WBA welterweight titleholder, knocking him down twice in the fight.
Ortiz, Khan and Broner are not in Mayweather’s class, but Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) is not the type of fighter who just wants to look good and collect a pay check. Nor does he want to win a few rounds and call it a moral victory.
Maidana believes he has the necessary game plan to come out victorious.
“He is able to pick his shots and fight against the ropes,” Maidana said of Mayweather. “He is able to toy with his opponent. In my opinion, that's where I need to take advantage. We've practiced and improved defense, movement, and even the technical aspect.”
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, who was competitive with Mayweather in 2007, was convinced he had the blueprint to defeat the defensive genius, and he supposedly passed that secret on to Canelo Alvarez. But whatever that blueprint was, it did not work or was not executed effectively by Alvarez on Sept. 14. Maidana says he won’t make the same mistakes the 23-year-old Mexican star made.
“Canelo didn't move forward and pressure (like he should have),” said Maidana. “He kept waiting and tried to counterpunch him. That's how Floyd was able to control the fight. I need to be on top of him and always put pressure on him and put him on the defensive.
“The key is to throw and land to the body because it is difficult to land to his head.”
Maidana grew up Santa Fe, a rural part of Argentina that is known for agriculture and high unemployment. During the All Access programming that Showtime has televised, his private life has been put out in the open, including a stint in jail and associating with a criminal element.
Boxing saved him and provided a sustainable living. He is married and has two children, including a daughter that was born a few months ago prior to his coming to Oxnard, Calif. to train with Garcia.
Based on what he has been through in and out of the ring, Maidana was developed a strong psyche – the kind that doesn’t take prisoners in the ring.
“I want to knock him out,” he said. “I don't know if I'll win by knockout, but I do promise I will be victorious.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing