x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Marcos Maidana: ‘I deserve to be in the ring with Mayweather’

In an interview with The National's Omar Al Raisi, Marcos Maidana dismisses the notion Amir Khan deserved a shot at Floyd Mayweather ahead of him and says of the May 3 fight 'I have proved it. I believe I have what it takes to beat Mayweather'.

Argentine boxer Marcos Maidana. Reuters / March 2014
Argentine boxer Marcos Maidana. Reuters / March 2014

Floyd Mayweather Jr this year gave boxing fans six weeks to choose his next opponent in an online vote.

Should the unbeaten American fight Amir Khan, the fleet British-Pakistani with strong drawing power in Britain and the Middle East, or should the WBC welterweight champion take on Marcos Maidana, who took the WBA version of that weight title from Adrien Broner in December?

According to Mayweather, fans voted for Maidana, which came as a shock to some of Khan’s supporters, who remembered his unanimous decision over Maidana in Las Vegas in 2010. Khan wondered why Mayweather would fight his “leftovers”.

Read more: Amir Khan talks tells Omar Al Raisi his May 3 undercard fight v Luis Collazo will steal Mayweather’s show

Maidana supporters pointed to his four consecutive victories, capped by the pummelling of Broner, and his 32 victories by knockout in a 35-3 career.

The 30-year-old Argentine believes he was the right choice for the lucrative bout.

“I deserve to be in the ring with Mayweather,” Maidana told The National in a call from Oxnard, California.

“I have proved it. I believe I have what it takes to beat Mayweather, and that is my determination.

“The plans were to fight the best and, obviously, Floyd Mayweather’s name was one of them.”

In boxing, a fight with Mayweather is like winning the lottery and Khan thought it was his turn, citing his victory over Maidana by unanimous decision.

Maidana’s response? The judges were wrong.

“It was a good fight and I honestly believe I beat him, but the decision was in his favour,” he said. “He had his moments and I had mine but at the end of the fight I was getting the best of him.”

Maidana is proud to be fighting Mayweather on May 3 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“This is a big fight for everyone in boxing. Obviously, a victory over Floyd Mayweather means a lot for me, for my family, for my fans, for my team and for my country, Argentina.”

Maidana seemed a little exasperated when asked what more he could bring to a Mayweather fight than did Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, a boxer of similar style who seemed to offer little resistance to Mayweather in a September bout.

Maidana said he has a “strategic plan”.

“I respect other fighters but I don’t like to do comparisons,” he said. “This is a special fight for me and we’re working at the gym in order to get a good strategic plan that will work the night of the fight.”

After losing to Khan, Maidana considered quitting the sport. An adviser suggested he have a conversation with Robert Garcia, the Mexican-American trainer.

“It was difficult for me to get motivation and I honestly thought a lot about retiring,” Maidana said. “I went to meet him face to face.”

He hired Garcia and has been a different fighter since, reeling off four victories.

“With Robert, I have been working more on my jab and have more movement in my waist and head,” Maidana said. “We have improved and worked on a lot of new things.”

Some suggest Maidana’s next fight could be with Manny Pacquiao or a rematch with Khan, but Maidana refused to speculate.

He said he has a message for fight fans in the UAE.

“Right now I am focused completely on Floyd Mayweather and I cannot discuss other fights and opponents. To all the boxing fans in the UAE, please don’t miss my fight against Floyd Mayweather. The Latino Power will prevail over all things.”

Not many expect him to win on May 3, but Maidana clearly believes his time has come.

sports@thenational.ae

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