Mayweather vs. Maidana: Shades of Jose Luis Castillo

Credit: Tom Casino / Showtime

Marcos Maidana bucked most predictions this weekend by pushing Floyd Mayweather, the sport’s reigning Pound for Pound King and it’s defensive grand master, right up to the limit of his ability. In a thrilling match, Maidana swarmed and slugged Mayweather up against the wall, forcing Pretty Boy to stand his ground and fight.

In the wake of these results, boxing’s punditry are by and large following two general lines of explanation. One is that Mayweather is getting old, and that might have some truth to it. Certainly the Michigan native showed signs of fatigue, and caught an extraordinary amount of leather (by his own standards, anyway).

Against that, there is the obvious fact that Pretty Boy faced off with El Chino, the strongest, most powerful, and toughest customer in the welterweight division today. Mayweather fought Maidana’s fight, and whether he was forced to do so against his will or not ignores that he did so and still managed to eek out a win. While that suggests Mayweather is no longer at his peak, it also suggests he is still very near the top of his game.

The other line of explanation is closer to the mark: Maidana had the game plan to get to Mayweather, and carried it out so successfully as to very nearly steal Mayweather’s “0.” This is something I have believed all along: that a puncher who was willing to grab onto Mayweather’s belt, refuse to let go whatever Pretty Boy threw at him, and keep up a sustained assault would find his way through the defensive tactics and smother Mayweather’s counter-punching. I knew that because I have a long enough memory to recall Jose Luis Castillo.

Mayweather fought the Castillo fight twelve years ago, when the Mexican tough guy was the Lightweight Champion. I have always believed that, as the champ, Castillo did enough to win (albeit just barely) that night, and he more or less pursued the same gameplan that Maidana did on Saturday night. On that night in 2002, Mayweather was the young up-and-comer taking on a seasoned, gritty veteran, and in a rematch he showed the ring smarts and skills to make adjustments and win handily. This past Saturday it was Maidana who was the young lion, and more to the point the Argentine bull was bigger, stronger, and more powerful than Castillo or even Ricky Hatton — Maidana weighed 165 lbs on fight night, entering the ring as a Super Middleweight.

Incidentally, Hatton was the last opponent who really tried to swarm Mayweather. His 2007 attempt failed so completely largely because The Hitman was already suffering the physical toll of drinking a dozen pints of beer per day and ballooning in weight between fights.

In watching Mayweather struggle against Maidana, I saw shades of his struggle against Castillo. The strange part is not that Maidana was able to apply those lessons, but that it took a dozen years for boxing to produce a guy with the grit and physicality to do it again.

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10 comments

  1. Sonny of Sydney

    It is clearer now that it is lil floyd who lost his ability and not Pac as he commented after the Butteley fight. Fans are warming to the task that Pac will surely give more punishment and could effectively box lil floyd. Roberto Duran revealed that if he were fighting lil floyd, he would not give him peace at all, punching hard his shoulder without stop until is ‘shoulder roll’ is effective no more and then really give it to him – Pac CAN DO THAT! No wonder lil floyd would not make the mistake of fighting Pac – he will get bashed ’till his corner throws the towel – what do you say lil floyd fans? Oscar and Bob – make it HAPPEN! Pweh!

    • barry gil r. pilAr

      …yOur absolutely right Sonny, if mAnny fought floyd in thAt fight undoubtedly pAcquiao would knock his ass out! maidana totAlly exposed the limitAtions of floyd and thE argEntine slugger made me understood the reAson why floyd would never fight pAcquiao. maidana was a slow fighter and yet he pumelled lil floyd by pressuring him, the mAster of this kind of gameplan is pacquiao.TBE floyd could not hAndle the speed of pacquiao and also the latter’s viscious combinations! never!

  2. Now FLOYDUCK, who looks like an AMATEUR in boxing?

  3. Edogashi Amaru

    Thank you judges for keeping the Floyd’s unbeaten record. He is supposed to win anyway, isn’t he? He is the p4p number one. Who would give it to Maidana? In reality Mayweather already lost twice; first to Jose Luis Castillo and the second you know to whom. Just look at the Compustats. This is the thing that the judges cannot change.

  4. Fawk you Mayweather! You no good no more! You gotten slow & weak sucka!

  5. HOW ABOUT DE LA HOYA, COTTO THEY BELONG TO THE LISTS OF GOT ROBBED !!! 46 TRIED BUT 4 GOT ROBBED…

  6. “it took a dozen years for boxing to produce a guy with the grit and physicality to do it again.” Nah. He just ducked guys who would give him trouble for a dozen years. Margarito had the same grit, physicality and mentality during his prime. Same with Cotto when he was still unbeaten. Pac is different from those guys but is similar, but much better, to Judah who also gave him trouble til he gassed out. Floyd is good. Really good no doubt. But he was never as unbeatable as many think he is. His “dominance” was well-planned. Some people just can’t accept it.

    • Pactards Are Racists

      Margacheato? Puh-LEEZE! And given how good Cotto is, it looks like he bounced back nicely from the Margacheato, concrete gloves beating. So no, neither of those guys would have stood in close with Mayweather and eaten damn near 300 clean punches for 12 Rounds.

  7. Pactards Are Racists

    Look out… here comes a crazy mob of racist Pactards, determined to grasp at any straw to pull down Mayweather and whitewash Pacquiao’s KNOCKOUT LOSS to Juan Manuel Marquez!

    I can’t wait for Manny Pacquiao to retire, because a huge mob of douchebags who don’t really give a damn about anything in boxing other than their idol will go with him.

    • hahaha really?? u feeling alone? but have you ever asked your moronic self why you bum floydiots slowly being reduced to just a piece of Sh*t in the middle of nowhere? when everybody’s talking and demanding Pac and Fraud gets done. hey wtf! are u still having orgasms that duck coward gayweather winning in your own intimate fantasies? hehehe You Floyd Dck riders are all the same, just all talk, full of sH*t excuses, cant prove a damn thing, just like Floidie himself. All he has to do is make the fight, win it, prove everyone he is TBE, then ride the sunset. But he wont coz Floyd is afraid. Coward. No balls. Anothr Racist Sh*t buying Clippers.

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