Undefeated link-bait king Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is reportedly close to picking his next victim, and, surprisingly, it may wind up being Argentino bruiser Marcos “Chino” Maidana who gets the call on May 3 for a pay-per-view extravaganza at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
For months, the frontrunner to face the biggest buzzmaster in boxing was Amir Khan, a talented but brittle junior welterweight based out of the United Kingdom. In addition to bringing a certain global synergy to an event (he is a Muslim of Pakistani descent), Khan can be a serious verbal/villainous foil to Mayweather. As annoying to some as Arthur Chu, the brash Jeopardy! contestant with a tenuous grip on manners, Khan has a glib arrogance that would serve as a cue for some explosive pre-fight fireworks. Although he has a jaw as soft as tembleque, Khan likes to exercise it outside of the ring by jabbering away incessantly.
Unfortunately, his inability to stay on the Q.T. may ultimately cost him this fight—and the Lottery-sized paycheck that comes with it. Last December Khan, 28-3 (with 19 knockouts) told the Daily Mail that he had inked a contract to face Mayweather; then he went on to moan about how “Money” was dawdling in countersigning. By making his signature public, Khan undercut an official press announcement and may have irked Mayweather as well by doing so. Never one to ignore a slight—even a perceived one—Mayweather may have felt that Khan was trying to upstage him. And no one gets to upstage Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Enter dour Marcos Maidana, a hard case from Santa Fe, Argentina, who, in stark contrast to Khan, is only interested in one thing: wreaking as much havoc as possible between the ropes. In some ways, this makes Maidana, 35-3 (31 knockouts), a tough sell. Simply put, the noise factor, a valuable commodity in the sideshow world of boxing, does not apply to him outside the ring.
Not only is Maidana almost laughably phlegmatic, but he does not speak English, which further limits his appeal to the general sports fan. What he does have going for him, however, is the fact that he thrashed Adrien Broner a few months ago, creating a readymade narrative to exploit in the process, since Broner is, to an extent, a Mayweather protégé. After modeling his style on Mayweather over the last couple of years, Broner took his antics so far—they included sex tapes and using U.S. currency as a substitute for Charmin—that he became an internet celebrity with a wider profile than that of most boxers. “Revenge” will likely be the catchword for a Mayweather-Maidana fight, although that scenario will likely find “Chino” just as baleful and mum as any other storyline.
If Mayweather does choose Maidana as his next opponent, he will have to figure out a way to make a ruckus on a marketing tour from New York to L.A. with a man as humorless as a cobra in the midday sun. Or maybe, as a last resort, he can just bring a caxirola with him wherever he goes.
Carlos Acevedo is the editor of The Cruelest Sport and a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. His work has appeared in Boxing Digest Magazine, Maxboxing, Boxing World Magazine, and Esquina Boxeo.