Mayweather decisions Maidana again

LAS VEGAS -- Whatever difficulties pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. had in his first fight against Marcos Maidana in May, they are ancient history.

Mayweather put on a boxing master class in their rematch, cruising to a unanimous decision to retain his welterweight and junior middleweight world titles before 16,144 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The judges had it 116-111, 116-111 and 115-112, all for Mayweather. ESPN.com had it 119-108 for Mayweather, who took much less punishment than he did the last time out, although, in a bizarre sequence, he claimed that Maidana bit his hand during the eighth round.

The rematch was a far cry from the action-packed first fight on May 3, when they met to unify welterweight titles and Maidana nearly pulled the upset. The wild-swinging Maidana relentlessly attacked him and gave Mayweather perhaps the most difficult fight of his brilliant unbeaten career, but Mayweather won a majority decision, also at the MGM Grand.

So with no other obvious opponent -- a Manny Pacquiao fight, as everyone knows, simply was not in the cards -- Mayweather granted Maidana a rematch, only the second of his career; he beat Jose Luis Castillo in lightweight world title fights twice in 2002.

Whatever studying he did on the first fight was more than enough as Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), 37, of Las Vegas, didn't allow Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs), 31, of Argentina, to land the kind of heavy overhand right hands he did in the first bout, and he didn't allow Maidana to put him on the ropes as much as last time. Instead, Mayweather danced, moved, countered and kept the fight in the center of the ring for long stretches in a very effective tactical performance.

"I think the difference was I didn't stay on the ropes and I did a lot of movement and turning," Mayweather said. "He's a tough competitor. I do have some bumps and bruises but I listened to my dad [trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.], who always says hit and don't get hit and that's how you last in this sport.

"I felt sharper in the first fight. My rhythm was a little off. I gave myself a C, C-minus. I thought I could have done a lot better. I got hit with some shots I shouldn't have."

The pro-Maidana crowd filled with Argentines cheered his every move, but it was Mayweather who continually touched him with jabs and counter right hands. Maidana did land some solid blows, including a heavy right hand at the end of the third round, but Mayweather quickly shook it off.

Maidana had some success bull rushing Mayweather in the fifth round and pinning him on the ropes and firing his shots. He rattled Floyd with a couple of right hands before Mayweather was able to escape.

The fight turned weird in the eighth round when Maidana leaned into Mayweather, who had him in a headlock. As they wrestled, Mayweather suddenly jumped away and complained to referee Kenny Bayless that Maidana had bitten him on his left hand. After the round was over, he came to the media side of the ring and shouted, "He bit me!"

The MGM Grand has a history of that since it was in the same ring in 1997 that Evander Holyfield had a chunk of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson in their heavyweight championship rematch. Guess what? Holyfield was ringside Saturday night.

"I didn't know what it was," Mayweather said. "Something happened and then my fingers were numb. After the eighth round my fingers were numb. I could only use my other hand. He bit me. I realized he bit me.

"We were tangled in the middle of the ring and all of a sudden I felt something on my left hand."

Maidana denied the bite, although it appeared as though he did on video replays.

"Maybe he thinks I'm a dog, but I never bit him," Maidana said through a translator. "He was rubbing my eyes that round. He may have had his glove in my mouth, but I never bit him."

Maidana's all-out aggression was not what it was when they met four months ago, when he landed more punches (221) against Mayweather than any opponent had in the 37 Mayweather fights tracked by CompuBox. In the rematch, Mayweather landed 166 of 326 punches (51 percent) and Maidana connected on only 128 of 572 shots (22 percent).

After the ninth round, another one seemingly for Mayweather, an apparently confused Maidana went to the wrong corner and Mayweather ran over to him and pointed in the right direction to the proper one, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

Former two-division titleholder Maidana, already way behind, lost a point when Bayless docked him for shoving Mayweather to the canvas in the 10th round.

Mayweather, with the fight well in hand, played defense in the 12th round as Maidana chased after him to no avail. Amazingly, Maidana said he thought he won the fight.

"If the judges want to give the fight to fighters that run, they can give it to him," he said. "I was attacking all the time. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought that I was the aggressor. I kept my plan to be aggressive but he kept holding and pushing.

"I don't want to waste my time with a third fight. I trained with all my heart to get this type of result. This is not fair. There's not reason for another fight."

He's right about that and there won't be a third fight. The fight was the fourth on the six-fight contract Mayweather, who earned at least $32 million ($888,889 per minute) to Maidana's $3 million ($83,333 per minute), signed with Showtime/CBS in early 2013. He has two fights left and no obvious opponent other than Pacquiao, who is signed to rival HBO. However, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum claims the networks are holding secret talks about working together on a joint pay-per-view, like they did once before for the Lennox Lewis-Tyson heavyweight championship fight in 2002.

It remains to be seen if a deal can be made -- it has gone unmade for years despite intense public demand -- and Pacquiao would have to win his welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri on Nov. 22 in Macau, China. But time is running out to make it and maybe Mayweather realizes it, seemingly softening his stance.

"I'm gonna go and talk to my team and see what the future holds," Mayweather said. "I don't know who I'm fighting in May but I expect to fight in May. Manny Pacquiao needs to focus on the guy in front of him. Once he gets past him, he can look to the future. If the Pacquiao fight presents itself let's make it happen."

Let's hope they do. It's all that's left for Mayweather -- and Pacquiao -- to do.

ESPN.com's Darren Rovell contributed to this report.

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