Unlike most big fights that are given bogus nicknames to promote the event, Saturday’s rematch at the MGM Grand Garden between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana, nicknamed “Mayhem,” lived up to its billing — inside and outside the ring.
Mayweather survived a bizarre attempt by Maidana to bite him during the eighth round and went on to win a 12-round unanimous decision. Outside the ring, there were reports of gunfire on the concourse. However, a MGM security person who was aware of the situation said it was a fight between fans from the crowd of 16,144 that attended the event.
Mayweather, who was risking his World Boxing Council welterweight and junior middleweight titles as well as his World Boxing Association welterweight belt, kept his perfect record intact at 47-0. Judges Dave Moretti and John McKaie had Mayweather winning 116-111, and Guido Cavalleri scored it 115-112.
Maidana, who lost a majority decision to Mayweather in their first meeting on May 3, fell to 35-5.
Unlike their first meeting that saw a street fight break out, the 37-year-old Mayweather controlled the tempo and the action Saturday. He kept the fight in the middle of the ring for the most part and used his superior skills to outbox Maidana. He appeared to frustrate the challenger from Argentina, and that frustration boiled over late in the eighth round.
The two fighters were in a clinch when Maidana appeared to bite Mayweather on his left hand. Mayweather winced with pain, complaining to referee Kenny Bayless about the flagrant foul.
However, Maidana was not penalized, and the fight went on after a short delay. It brought back memories of the 1997 fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in the same ring where Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear twice and was eventually disqualified. Ironically, Tyson and Holyfield were in the crowd Saturday.
“My hand went numb,” Mayweather said. “He bit my fingers, and I couldn’t use my left hand after the eighth round.”
Maidana denied biting Mayweather, saying Mayweather rubbed his glove in his face.
“How could they say I bit him wearing a mouthpiece?” Maidana said. “I’m not a dog. I didn’t bite him. He poked me in my eye.”
And like the first fight, there was plenty of dirty pool. Maidana threw Mayweather to the canvas in the 10th round, and Bayless deducted a point from Maidana. In the 11th, Mayweather nailed Maidana with an illegal blow to the groin as Maidana needed time to recover.
But Maidana was well behind with the judges at that point and wasn’t able to stop Mayweather late and pull out the win. Still, he thought he did enough to get the victory.
“I thought I won, but maybe I’m wrong,” Maidana said. “Maybe the judges love fighters who run, like Floyd. There’s nothing I can do about it. To get this kind of result is not fair. I don’t need to fight him again.”
Mayweather said he followed his father and trainer Floyd Sr.’s game plan to hit and not get hit.
“I stayed off the ropes this time,” said Mayweather, who made $32 million (Maidana got $3 million). “But I give myself a C, C-. I could have done better.”
The result did not sit well with many of Maidana’s fans, and as the crowd exited the building, there was a fight on the concourse that had some fans scurrying back into the arena. There had been a report from Showtime Sports that there were gunshots, but MGM security and Metropolitan Police denied there was a gun involved and that a planter fell, causing a loud bang that startled people.
There was also pandemonium outside the ring after the first Mayweather-Maidana fight, as congestion near the food court turned chaotic after a sign fell, causing a loud bang. Several people were injured trying to get away from what they thought were gunshots.
One of the combatants in Saturday’s postfight skirmish was wheeled off on a gurney and taken off the property for treatment. No arrests were made.
As for Mayweather, he did his job, even though he thought he was better in his first meeting with Maidana.
“I got a couple of bumps and bruises, and I got hit with some shots I didn’t need to get hit with,” he said. “But my father had a great game plan, I stuck with it, and we got the win.”