Sports

Marcos Maidana cries foul in title fight loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

SportsBoxingFloyd Mayweather, Jr.ArgentinaRamadan

Marcos Maidana said he was "robbed" in losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. by a majority decision in a welterweight world championship unification fight.

If so, it looks as if both fighters will be returning to the scene of the crime in a few months.

The undefeated Mayweather, who was nearly beaten Saturday night by the 10-to-1 underdog, said he's willing to fight Argentina's Maidana again in September, providing the money is right.

"He's a rugged guy," Mayweather said just after midnight Sunday after two judges scored in his favor, 117-114 and 116-112, and a third ruled it a draw, 114-114. "In September, if we fight again, will it be the same fight? Absolutely not. I could have made the fight a lot easier if I wanted to."

Mayweather, who improved to 46-0, said he traded punches toe to toe with the heavy-handed Maidana to make things more interesting for the fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as well as the pay-per-view audience.

Speaking through an interpreter, Maidana said that he, and not Mayweather, deserved to win the fight. In addition to being the heavy underdog, Maidana received $1.5 million to Mayweather's guarantee of at least $32 million.

Maidana said Floyd "never hurt me with a punch" and that the cut opened over Mayweather's right eye didn't come from an accidental head butt, as referee Tony Weeks ruled, but from a punch.

"I trained hard, and I fought a good fight," Maidana said. "And I feel that this was an injustice."

With his outstanding performance, Maidana probably denied welterweight Amir Khan the chance to be the next fighter to face Mayweather. The charismatic Khan, an Olympic silver medalist from England, was disappointed he didn't get the nod over Maidana to fight Mayweather in the first place. Khan beat Maidana by unanimous decision in 2010.

What's more, Khan looked tremendous Saturday night in an undercard victory over Luis Collazo, knocking him down three times on his way to a 12-round unanimous decision.

So had Mayweather made light work of Maidana, a Mayweather-Khan fight would have been the obvious answer. But when Maidana gave Mayweather all he could handle, that changed the equation.

Still, after watching the main event, Khan made a pitch Sunday for why he, and not Maidana, should be the next fighter to get a crack at Mayweather.

"I really believe that styles make fights in boxing, and with the style I have, the speed, the movement, it will really give Floyd problems," Khan said.

But even if Mayweather were to choose Khan, it wouldn't be that simple. A Muslim, Khan will not fight in September because it would conflict with Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a month of fasting for the faithful. Mayweather has circled Sept. 13 as his desired fight date.

"I can't be ready for that date," Khan said. "Ramadan doesn't finish until the end of July and I would need three months in training camp after that to prepare for a fight of this magnitude. The earliest I can be back in the ring after my fight here is late October or early November and that will have to be against another opponent.

"I've told Floyd that and he assures me I'm still on his list. Of course I am still pursuing the fight with him, but the next window for that is this time next year."

That probably won't be an issue, because it's Maidana who again appears to be on deck. He does have an issue, though, with Mayweather not allowing him to use the custom-made gloves he had originally picked. Mayweather, his camp, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission argued those gloves, while weighing the required eight ounces, had too much padding in the wrists and too little in the knuckles.

After much bickering and haggling between the camps, Maidana agreed to wear a stock version of the custom Everlast gloves he had hoped to wear.

"When they took away my gloves, they took away my advantage," Maidana said. "If I would have had my gloves, I would have knocked him out."

Mayweather defended his decision to give Maidana's original gloves the thumbs down.

"I have a life after boxing," he said. "He has a life after boxing. This is already a brutal sport. Of course we're here to pleasure the fans, but what about our health? When boxing is over, half of the boxers that's in the fight game now cannot articulate as well. So do we really care about the fighters' health?

"Then they are always asking questions like, 'How did this guy die? Why is he in the hospital? Why did he lose all his money?' He lost all his money because he can't count all his money by people not caring. I'm here to protect the fighters."

Finally, the fight was over, it was late, and Maidana was tired of talking and listening. He leaned in to the microphone in front of him: "Just give me the [expletive] rematch."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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