Photo Credit: Hogan’s Photos
SAN ANTONIO — Adrien Broner got the first reality check of his career at the fists of Marcos Maidana, whose use of constant pressure, subtle feints and crunching power resulted in two knockdowns and a lopsided victory last night at the Alamodome.
It was a fantastic night of boxing and an amazing victory for Maidana, who had to contend with Broner’s skill and the fact referee Laurence Cole showed clear bias in ignoring the repeated fouls Broner committed. Nonetheless, Maidana made it near impossible to rob him. And on Broner’s end, the countdown now begins on if he has the fortitude to rebound from his first defeat.
CAPITALIZING ON THE SLOW START: In the last episode of All Access, Maidana’s trainer Robert Garcia noted that Broner takes the first few rounds off trying to gauge his opponent’s style and skill. Maidana took immediate advantage by crowding Broner and looping his overhand right into a chopping motion, which nullified Broner’s shoulder roll defense. The speed and accuracy of the shot surprised Broner and he was knocked off-balance less than a minute into the fight. When he attempted to hold inside, Maidana always used his free hand to club shots to the body.
Although it was early, the clear power advantage was in Maidana’s camp and his previous battles with the likes of Amir Khan and Jesus Soto Karass had the Argentinian slugger completely calm and able to handle the few clean left hooks that Broner landed.
THE START OF THINGS TO COME: Although he’ll never be mistaken for Pernell Whitaker, the Marcos Maidana in there was not the crude, “no Plan B” slugger that we’ve seen for most of his career. Starting with his last win over Josesito Lopez, Maidana had worked immensely on improving his jab to set up his offense and coming in as an elusive target. Last night, he mixed in feints beautifully which kept Broner guessing as to where the shots were coming from. In addition, the feints further exposed what Floyd Mayweather had already noted — Broner is too flat-flooted to effectively rely on the shoulder roll exclusively for defense.
The below first knockdown, occurring in the second round, shows Maidana feinting to the body, making Broner move straight back into the line of fire of Maidana’s vicious left hook.
Although badly hurt, Broner was able to use the huge ring (an advantage his team got in negotiations) to stay away for the remaining minute-plus. Maidana also made one of his few mistakes here by reverting back to his slugging days and abandoning his jab, which would have helped set up a coup de grace shot.
STANDING HIS GROUND BUT GETTING THE WORST OF IT: To Broner’s credit, he never mentally folded and ran. He had a strong comeback round in the third where he stunned Maidana with a counter right hand and used his hand speed to make Maidana think twice about his inside work. But more often than not, Maidana connected with harder shots, particularly the left hook upstairs and body work that clearly carried most of the middle rounds.
AN EIGHTH ROUND OF CHARACTER: The turning point of the fight came in the eighth with both men fighting furiously to try and gain an edge heading into the championship rounds. Maidana went back to his staple punch, the left hook, which took advantage of Broner trying to come forward. A savage combination of hooks put Broner down for a second time.
Badly hurt, Broner was able to lock up Maidana and Cole was slow to break them, resulting in Maidana throwing a head butt. It was a clear foul, done partly to free his arms and as retaliation for all the forearms and showing Broner had been doing. Cole stopped the action and you could see a lightbulb come over Broner’s face, as he then grabbed his jaw like to he just took a sniper shot and started rolling on the floor like a Penecostal church lady.
It was the break Broner needed. Cole advised him to get up, but took a point for the foul and allowed Broner several minutes to recover. Maidana had only himself to thank for giving Broner the opening, but he still took the round 9-8. Maidana further pulled away in a ninth round so dominated by his body punching and left hooks that it should have been scored 10-8.
CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND FAVORITISM AT MAIDANA’S EXPENSE: Maidana took the tenth easily with a massive overhand right and shots breaking through Broner’s guard. Chino got a measure of revenge in the 11th when he dry-humped Broner from behind, giving a receipt to Broner for attempting to embarrass with the same tactic in the first.
Broner would get the last laugh when after the bell, Broner blatantly clocked Maidana with a flush left hook. Once again, Cole just stared and let Broner go back to his corner without a point deduction, and Maidana was clearly dazed and forced to fight the 12th with a extreme disadvantage. Robert Gracia lit into Cole before the final stanza, and it turned out to be a smart move as Cole, perhaps feeling guilty about his clear partisanship to the “house fighter,” gave Broner a strong warning for forearms and shoving.
Maidana stayed on the backfoot most of the round as he tried to recover, but threw some hard shots on instinct to close out the round to a standing ovation from fans.
THE RIGHT SCORECARDS: It’s sad when doing your job correctly is applauded, but it has to be said that all three judges had just cards for the right man. Maidana took the unanimous decision via scores of 117-109, 115-109 and 115-110. My own scorecard was 115-109 for Maidana.
THE REAL BRONER LEAVES IN DISGRACE: Not able to face the music after all the trash talk, Broner fled the ring with his tail between his legs sans doing a post-fight interview. He not only missed an opportunity to earn the respect of fans who despised him (think Paulie Malignaggi’s gallant stand against Miguel Cotto), but also robbed Maidana of what was due him — a public acknowledgment that Maidana was the superior man after disparaging him in public for months. Bernard Hopkins summed it up perfectly in the below video.
WELTERWEIGHT STARDOM ISN’T FOR YOU: Adrien Broner has told everyone that will listen that he’s the one to take over for Floyd Mayweather. Last night, we learned that the Malignaggi fight wasn’t just an anomaly being his first fight at welterweight. Broner does not have the power to hang with these killers/dangermen at 147 pounds. There’s really no easy tuneups or comeback fights he can take here. Lucas Matthysse? Hits just as hard as Maidana and is a better boxer than Chino. Shawn Porter? Relentless pressure, physically strong, fast hands and will bully you. Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman? Those are the type of boxer-punchers who passed all their competition tests and would KO Broner.
However, once you get out of the title picture, Broner does have a few options. Guys like Andre Berto, Devon Alexander, Josesito Lopez and a Malignaggi rematch are tough but winnable fights.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MAIDANA: Chino can make great fights with any of the champions that were just mentioned and should be a lock for Mayweather’s undercard in May. Some might even say Maidana has earned a shot at Floyd, but we know how that fight turns out and at least someone like an Amir Khan brings a larger fanbase. A better bet is Maidana against Garcia or Thurman, the latter being the mandatory for Maidana’s newly won WBA belt.
Let’s hear your thoughts. Is Broner done or do you see this humbling experience as just what he needs to come back strong?
FULL FIGHT (BOX NATION)