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Boxing Gets It Right: Mayweather vs. Maidana

Maidana-MayweatherI love sports that were popular around the time of the Great Depression. Boxing? Love it. Horse Racing? Sign me up. Baseball? Can’t get, enough. And yet, most of my favorite sports have sharply fallen in popularity in recent years, largely due to their own shortcomings and failures. But sometimes these beautiful sports get it right and when those pieces align, it’s a remarkable sight to behold. On a day when the longest of long shots raised the roses at the Kentucky Derby on the backs of their prized steed California Chrome, boxing once again came to life with a thrilling, high-profile main event between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana that redeemed the many souls of those who love the sweet science. A fight so good, that it redeems all the nonsense that led up the bout, all the cynicism — including from yours truly — which seemed to believe we were headed for prizefighting’s version of an abortion (bad choice of words?).

Marcos Maidana and rudimentary boxing pushed the all-time great Floyd Mayweather to the deep waters that he had not seen since his fateful night with Jose Luis Castilllo in 2002. Maidana pushed and bullied Mayweather into the ropes, peppering him with wild and looping shots which for all their crudeness managed to mug and affect the great champion. Mayweather, who has clearly had better days, used all the wits and knowledge of a great ring veteran to find his spots and eek out a grueling but deserved victory. It was a fascinating fight and a testament to the beauty of the sport when done right. A hungry and determined challenger taking on a seasoned veteran whose tricks outweighed his failing body.

Mayweather’s legs are gone and they’re not coming back, but his counterpunching and speed are still a sight that must be seen… especially, when there’s a live body throwing back at them. Maidana will never be Willie Pep, but he’s still improving under the tutelage of Robert Garcia and is going to be a force for at least several years. These two men combined to make a fight that was instantly enjoyable for all its contrasts in styles and moments when the flow of the flight changed at a moments notice.

Saturday night was a night for boxing fans to hold their head up high… Our sport is often times brutal to patronize; an ugly friend with plenty of troubles. But just when you think you’ve had enough, it finds ways to restore your faith. Boxing isn’t perfect, but damn, if it isn’t fun when done right.

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