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Boxing: Mayweather vs. Maidana II – LIVE

Boxing: Mayweather vs. Maidana II – LIVE

Mayweather is already older than any of those guys, and quite frankly he routinely faces better competition than Calzaghe did, and he's, you know, not a total sack like Ottke was.

So it stands to reason that sooner than later, someone is going to beat Floyd Mayweather. Miguel Cotto was competitive in 2012. Canelo Alvarez had some moments, at least, in 2013, though Mayweather clearly won both of those fights. And Marcos Maidana gave Mayweather his toughest fight since Jose Luis Castillo earlier this year. It keeps getting closer.
Boxing: Mayweather vs. Maidana II – LIVE

Boxing: Mayweather vs. Maidana II – LIVE

Boxing: Mayweather vs. Maidana II – LIVE

And if nothing else, considering his last two fights have been majority decisions, Floyd might be closer to getting robbed, because some judges feel like Being Part of History in a fight that probably should have gone Mayweather's way.

3. Mayweather has declined just enough that this style matchup is tough

Mayweather is better than Maidana. I don't think anyone's going to dispute that claim. But Floyd's legs are simply not what they used to be, and that means he has a tougher time with relentless pressure guys. Cotto put him on the ropes and did damage a couple years ago, and Maidana roughed him up badly (by Mayweather standards) earlier this year.

Defensively, he's still a genius, but time takes a toll on everyone. It's been 18 years in the pro game for Mayweather, and even though he's never taken huge punishment in a single fight, or been knocked out, or really beaten up badly, it's still a ton of miles between training camps, fights, and everything else. There's no question that his odometer is getting up there.

There are better fighters than Maidana, probably, that Floyd could still rout. I think Alvarez is a better fighter than Maidana overall, but Mayweather had a much easier time with Canelo than he did with Chino. That's because styles make fights. No matter how many times this is said, it seems like it gets forgotten all the time. Last weekend's Broner-Taylor fight is an example. Taylor was pretty clearly routed earlier this year by Chris Algieri, and gave Broner a really good fight.

Is Algieri better than Broner? Yeah, he might be. But Taylor was successful because Broner doesn't use his legs effectively. Algieri does. That gave Taylor fits all night. He found some rhythm with Broner, who was more willing to stand and trade. Against Algieri, he never was able to get comfortable.

Kell Brook might be a better fighter than Maidana, but I get the feeling Mayweather would find him easier than he does the Argentine. Maidana's style isn't hard to predict or even prepare for, but he's a really good pressure fighter that simply does not relent. He never stops attacking. Mayweather adjusted in the first fight, and probably will again. But this guy isn't going to be easy for him, no matter what he says.

4. There is an undercard!

It's not a good one, but there's an undercard.

On Showtime Extreme, John Molina will battle Humberto Soto in what should be an entertaining fight. Molina's a real wild card. Sometimes, he gets blown out in 44 seconds by Antonio DeMarco. Sometimes, he gets routed by Hank Lundy or Mickey Bey, only to dramatically rev the engine and knock them out in the final round. And yet other times, against most odds, he gives Lucas Matthysse a gritty, bloody war. Soto is an OK fighter who has been fighting over his best weight for a while now, and hasn't found a lot of success over 130 pounds, really. He's also got a fluffed-up record. But he's capable, and you never know with Molina.

On the pay-per-view, Alfredo Angulo moves up to middleweight to face James De La Rosa. Angulo's always worth watching, one of those guys that can't find an opponent too overmatched to not wind up in some level of a back-and-forth brawl with them. Leo Santa Cruz will face Manuel Roman, a former sparring partner, in what is frankly another pretty weak matchup for Santa Cruz, who has yet to face a serious contender at either 118 or 122 pounds, despite all the love we give him for his all-action, high-volume style.

also miguel vazquez faces mickey bey for a lightweight title but that is going to be terrible so let's not really talk about it ok

5. Please, help the poor paupers in the boxing business

2014 has not been a good year for boxing, either in terms of quality matchups, great fights, or big business, particularly in the U.S. pay-per-view market. Nearly every single pay-per-view boxing event has underperformed in 2014, with only Canelo-Angulo reaching or exceeding its projections/hopes.

That was the first pay-per-view of the year, on March 8. Since then, Pacquiao-Bradley II (April 12), Mayweather-Maidana (May 3), Cotto-Martinez (June 7), and Canelo-Lara (July 12) have all bricked. Has that stopped networks and promoters from lining up further pay-per-view? It may have. The only PPV fights on the schedule now are Mayweather-Maidana II and Pacquiao-Algieri, because there's simply no way to pay Mayweather or Pacquiao what they want to fight without pay-per-view.

Mayweather-Maidana II should do better than the first fight, and probably should eclipse the one million buy mark once again. But if it does not, will it really be that shocking? Two of Mayweather's last three fights have failed to reach that level, though the bout between those two with Canelo Alvarez set revenue records, and was a huge hit on pay-per-view, Mayweather's all-time biggest fight as an A-side.

Have fans rejected mediocre matchups? That's hard to say. Pacquiao-Bradley II didn't move the needle, perhaps, because it was so close to Mayweather-Maidana, and the reverse may have also hurt that show. And it probably didn't help that a great number of the casual fans relied on to bump up these numbers saw no real need for a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, since they felt the first fight was highway robbery, and that Bradley was clearly Pacquiao's inferior.

Mayweather-Maidana was (on paper) a mediocre fight, too. In execution, it turned out to be a barnburner, a competitive, gripping affair that saw the big underdog give the pound-for-pound king a run for his money. In that respect, this fight should do better. But what if interest is just down in boxing? What if, after years of talk that Mayweather was ducking Pacquiao, people who were fringe boxing fans that bought big fights that were hyped on TV simply decided they'd had enough, and moved on?

It's not like this would be the first exodus of fans away from boxing. Whether anyone really wants to admit it or not -- and few hardcore fans really do -- this is a sport with a relevance that is literally dying. Its demographics are old, and young fans are not being made in any major way. People keep saying new stars will suddenly, magically appear to replace the aging superstars whose box office primes have clearly ended, but, you know, what if they don't? To make that next generation of superstars, someone has to pass the torch. Can anyone beat Floyd? Is Pacquiao even in a legitimate torch-passing state anymore, and even if he is, does Top Rank have anyone on his level?

Anyway, watch the fights tonight! We're watching the fights tonight!
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