LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Floyd Mayweather Jr rarely hands anyone a rematch and Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana is hoping to make the undefeated welterweight champion regret giving him a second chance when the fighters meet again on Saturday.
For only the second time in his brilliant 18-year career, Mayweather will face an opponent he has met before when he puts his 46-0 record, World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) title belts on the line in Las Vegas.
“I‘m calm, I‘m in shape and hopefully can change history,” Maidana told reporters on Friday after a raucous weigh-in at the MGM Grand attended by thousands of cheering supporters for both men.
“The first fight was very close,” the 31-year-old from Santa Fe added.
“I made a couple of errors and I will rectify those and we will see a different result. My punches weren’t that accurate, that is why I did not win the fight but this time they are going to be.”
The hard-hitting Maidana (35-4, 31 knockouts) gave Mayweather what many regarded as the toughest test of the American’s career when the two met on May 4, even though the champion earned the majority decision.
In announcing the rematch, Mayweather, widely seen as the world’s leading pound-for-pound boxer, acknowledged Maidana’s style was “difficult at best” and that the Argentine had a ferocious will to win.
Certainly Maidana gave the 37-year-old American all he could handle in the opening rounds of their previous clash, the Argentine slugger launching a blizzard of punches and trapping his opponent against the ropes at every turn.
Though Mayweather went on to dominate the second half of that contest, Maidana felt he had done enough to earn the decision.
“It was a good competitive fight. I won, you live, you learn what else can I say,” said Mayweather, whose only other rematch was against Jose Luis Castillo in 2002.
”The only thing you want to do is make things better always.
“I can make adjustments, that’s happened before in my career. No one is perfect, I was trying to be a perfectionist but no one is perfect.”
Perhaps he is right, but Mayweather’s record is perfect and having announced earlier this week that he plans to retire in 2015 when his Showtime contract expires, he has three more fights to win if he wants to go out undefeated.
With one punch, however, the aggressive Maidana could end Mayweather’s plans to cement his legacy as the greatest fighter of all-time.
“Floyd is a great fighter. He has been the best the last 20 years we have to respect and admire that but we’re against him this time for the second time, so we have to do everything possible to beat him,” Maidana’s trainer Robert Garcia said.
“Marcos has something a lot of other opponents don’t have and that’s that he doesn’t respect anybody in front of him.”
Mayweather has been described as much more subdued and focused in his buildup to Saturday’s fight, leaving most of the trash talking to Maidana, a former two-division title holder, who urged his opponent “to stop crying and just fight”.
The champion seemed unaffected by the taunts when he walked onto the stage for Friday’s weigh-in to thundering cheers with the customary stare down ending quickly and free of incident.
“My job is to just go out there and be Floyd Mayweather,” Mayweather added. “I don’t worry about pace, I just worry about being me, being first and being smart.”
It is a job that has paid Mayweather very well in the past.
The world’s highest-paid athlete earned $105 million last year according to Forbes.com and the man nicknamed “Money” will be making another sizeable deposit in his bank account on Saturday with another $32 million guaranteed.
Editing by John O'Brien