By Marc Livitz: The limelight within the realm of professional prizefighting is craved and demanded by some, while also avoided and deemed irrelevant by others. In but a few weeks’ time, perhaps the two most glaring examples of the need for attention and contentment with solitude will be on display in Las Vegas.
Not long after his twelve round dispatching of the always garrulous Adrien Broner last December, WBA welterweight champion Marcos “El Chino” Maidana of Buenos Aires, Argentina was chosen as the next in line to have a shot at boxing’s top draw, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. The site will be none other than the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which of course is Mayweather’s “home around the corner from home”.
The bout which has been tagged as “The Moment” is just the type of opportunity for which Maidana has undoubtedly been waiting. Does he have a legitimate chance to dethrone the undefeated cash king of the sport?
Betting houses as well as the majority of boxing media and fans alike almost agree to say, “No” in unison, yet such an opinion would not be the first of its kind for the hard punching Argentine fighter. Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KO’s) has steadily walked through as well as over the vast majority of his opponents and he currently holds a whopping 89% knockout ratio. His best shot at the virtually inconceivable, which would be to topple one of the greatest fighters of the 21st century, if not ever would likely present itself at the end of his crushing shots which have sent many of his opponents into a state of delirium and eventual defeat. The three losses in his career (Andriy Kotelnik, Amir Khan and Devon Alexander) came from two fighters who were wise enough not to engage the South American slugger (Kotelnik and Alexander), while the third (Khan) was part of a bout for the ages.
Maidana was one of the few boxers we’ll ever see make his way back to his feet the same way he did (versus Khan) after being felled by a vicious liver shot in the first round. Marcos may not be on many “pound for pound” lists, yet he does have one important attribute which many fighters would love to possess: respect.
Maidana spoke to the media today about his upcoming “moment” as part of an international conference call. He was joined on the line by his trainer, Robert Garcia (former world champion and 2012 Trainer of the Year), CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, Oscar De La Hoya (former multiple division world champion and current President of Golden Boy Promotions) and Executive V.P. and General Manager Stephen Espinoza of Showtime Sports. Conference Call Highlights Listed Below
Oscar De La Hoya: “Everyone has been waiting for this event. It’s going to be one of those events once again when you have the best fighter pound for pound in the world facing a dangerous opponent; it is sure to be a good night. The undercard, as you know is also a very big part of the evening. Ticket sales have been tremendous and there’s not many tickets left for the evening.”
“We know that Marcos is an all-action warrior. He’s exciting and he’s getting better by not only becoming a great fighter, but also a boxer.”
Steven Espinoza: “A few words about Marcos. He has a remarkable story behind him. We’ll be seeing a new side of him and learning much more about him once “All Access” airs on Showtime this Saturday. We know he’s a world class fighter and he’s been in the ring with elite competition. He’s been operating at a high level in boxing for many years. The reason is very simple for why he is fighting on May 3: his knockout power, ferocity and relentlessness. We see what he brings to the table and that is why I am very excited for this bout.”
Leonard Ellerbe: “I had a chance to go see Marcos at his media day yesterday. I’d heard that he’d been having a tremendous camp. I was very impressed by the fan support he had. This will be a very difficult fight for Floyd. People are looking at the odds against him, but we all know that one punch can change everything. This is going to be a great fight.”
Robert Garcia: “People are not going to want to miss this. “El Chino” has learned so much from me and my staff over the past few years. We all know that Mayweather is the best at what he does and he’s been up there for the last 15-16 years. It will be our job to go out there and try to shock the world and do what no other fighter has done.”
Opening Statements, Marcos “El Chino” Maidana: “I’d like to thank everyone for this opportunity. This is the biggest fight of my life and I’ve been preparing for just that.”
De La Hoya on Maidana’s Strategy versus Mayweather:“I have no idea what Marcos and his trainer have been working on the gym. Mayweather always says that all have tried and all have failed. There’s always something different that each fighter brings to the table. We’ve all studied Mayweather and I’m sure they have a game plan to execute. There are different reasons why people have lost to him. He’s slippery and hard to hit. I feel that if I was younger that I would have beaten him.”
Robert Garcia on the same: “Those who have tried to beat Floyd by coming forward have all failed, but he’s never faced anyone like Marcos. He doesn’t care about who he is facing. He goes out there to hurt his opponent and that’s what he does. He has tremendous power in both hands and has no respect for who’s in front of him.”
Ellerbe Interjecting: “A lot of fighters have come in and said one thing and done another. We all know that this is different. We know this guy brings it from the opening bell and he doesn’t stop. Floyd hasn’t faced anyone like that. Look at his knockout percentage. He hits people and they fall.”
Marcos Maidana on the Odds: “I’m there to win. I’m training to do what others haven’t done. I’m not interested in what anyone has to say about me. I just have to say to everyone that I’ll be the one to beat Floyd Mayweather.”
Ellerbe on Bob Arum Calling Floyd a “Thug”: “I don’t think about a damn thing that comes out of his mouth. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. We’ll have a sold out arena and a big pay per view. We’ll do our thing and he can do his.”
Maidana on changing Styles with Robert Garcia: “I’ve learned a lot from him and I’ve become stronger. I feel much better and my punches are thrown with more precision.”
On Similarities between Mayweather and Adrien Broner: “Broner and Mayweather have a similar style. I already beat Broner and I think I can beat Mayweather the same way.”
On going for the knockout: “I’m just preparing to fight and to win, whether by points or by knockout. Everyone thought that I had to knock out Adrien Broner but I won by points. My goal is to hit Mayweather and hurt him when I do.”
Is he Mayweather’s Equal? “I feel like a champion either way. I am ready to defend my title. I am preparing to win. I am training to win. I am motivated by the thoughts of beating the best in the world.” Robert Garcia on Maidana Keeping the Pace:“Mayweather has fought some great fighters, but no one with a style like Maidana. That’s a big factor here. We’re preparing for the best Mayweather ever.”
Marc Livitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter (@fightawrita)