(Photo © Ramón Cairo and Fenix Entertainment)
After Argentinean wrecking ball Marcos Maidana waged war with Jesus Soto Karass on the night of 15th September supporting the Saul Alvarez-Josesito Lopez card on Mexican Independence Weekend, he stated he wished to return to action before the end of the year. When his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, failed to deliver the opportunity, Maidana dually took things upon himself and fought in front of his adoring patrons at the world famous Estadio Luna Park in his nation’s capital, Buenos Aires, where he battered hapless Angel Martinez into defeat in three rounds. The win furthered “El Chino’s” title claim at welterweight having previously been a two-time WBA light welterweight champion. The 29-year-old, who boasts an impressive 33-3 (30) record with an 83% KO ratio, is reportedly in the running to face WBA 147-pound kingpin Paulie Malignaggi as soon as April, though he’s clearly willing to face anyone, craving big fights.
Anson Wainwright - You stayed busy beating Angel Martinez recently. Can you tell us about the fight?
Marcos Maidana - Well, after the fight against Soto Karass last September 15, I was willing to do one more fight in 2012 ‘cause I was excited about getting back on track. Right after we came back from Las Vegas, we consulted Golden Boy Promotions whether there would be a big fight for me before the end of the year. There was nothing available, so we decided to stay busy. It was good for me to have a few rounds and to get a nice knockout win before my people who always support me.
AW - That fight took place at the Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, it’s one of the most famous boxing venues in the world. Can you tell us about it and what it was like fighting there?
MM - Fighting at the Luna Park has always a special flavour since all the legendary fighters from Argentina and abroad have fought there. It is like a myth for boxing. You can only compare it with Madison Square Garden. It was my third time fighting there and it felt great.
AW - Early in 2012, you fought Devon Alexander. It wasn’t your best performance. I wondered if you had lost some of your edge as a fighter having moved up in weight. However, you looked like your old self again when you stopped Jesus Soto Karass. Can you tell us what changed?
MM - See, I hate making excuses. That’s not for fighters. But the real story is, that night, I fought with an intestinal infection. It’s not that I’m taking anything away from Devon who beat me fair and square but it wasn’t me in ring that night. I barely could move. Most people said that I couldn’t fight as a welterweight but myself and my team were convinced that it had only been a bad night. And I think I proved that I can still punch against a tough guy like Soto Karass. It was very important for me to have Robert Garcia as my new trainer ‘cause he’s teaching me some things that I believe are very important.
AW - What are your plans for 2013? Who are you targeting?
MM - Right after the fight against Soto Karass, Golden Boy Promotions’ [CEO] Richard Schaefer told me he wanted me to fight for a world title next. The fight had been a WBA eliminator, so it made sense. The first name that came to mind was WBA welterweight champion Paul Malignaggi but in the last few days, I’ve read that, for some reason, they are planning to put Paulie against Shane Mosley. The other fighter I feel we have unfinished business with is Robert Guerrero, the WBC [interim] welterweight champion with whom we had a fight signed in 2011 but he had to pull out from only one week before the fight. I’m still expecting him to face me. When I was the champion, I accepted his challenge. But now that he is the champion, he doesn’t seem to pay me [respect] the same way. Let’s see. There are other names out there like Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan, Andre Berto, Josesito Lopez, even Lucas Matthysse and Danny Garcia.
AW - Who are the key members of your team, your manager, trainer and promoter? Also where do you train in America and while you’re in Argentina?
MM - My trainer is Robert Garcia; my physical conditioner is Cecilio Flores. My advisor is Sebastian Contursi. When I’m in America, I train at Robert Garcia’s Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California and I have no particular place to train when I’m at home.
AW - Can you talk to us about your youth growing up in Santa Fe?
MM - We were a poor family from the country fields, living in the middle of nowhere. Those were tough conditions but we always had a plate of food on the table. I was like any other kid from around trying to get my future. Then all of a sudden, I started to box when a guy came to town and organized a local competition. I looked good as I rapidly started to knock all my opponents out, so they took me to the city of Santa Fe, which is a big city. Then I was called up for the national team, so I had to live in Buenos Aires, definitely a major city. My memories about my childhood are happy ones. Except from a few stupid things that I did and landed me in the local jail for a few days, I can say that I was a happy boy.
AW - What are your thoughts and comments on the current welterweight division and its champions, the WBC’s Floyd Mayweather, the WBC’s interim titlist Robert Guerrero, the WBA’s Paulie Malignaggi, the IBF’s Devon Alexander and the WBO’s Timothy Bradley?
MM - They are all great fighters. Obviously, I feel like Floyd is a few steps ahead the rest and I’d love to face them all. Those are fights that you can either lose or win but are the kind of challenges that I like. Hopefully, I’ll face some of them very soon. That’s what I expect.
AW - I appreciate he’s still at 140 and you’re at 147 now but one fight I’d like to see personally more than any other in boxing is you against Lucas Matthysse. That has the makings of Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns. What are your thoughts and comments on that fight?
MM - People have been asking me about that fight all the time. Personally, it’s not like I’m dying to face Lucas because we started together in Santa Fe. But we already faced each other four times in the amateurs. I beat him three times and the other was a draw. All of them were great fights but, of course, we’re pros and if that’s the fight people want, we have to deliver it. I’m willing to fight him in a catchweight. I could drop four pounds and he could move up three pounds and make it at 143 pounds for instance. We all know that it would be a great bout.
AW - You were a pretty good amateur back in the day. Can you talk about your amateur achievements and what titles/tournaments you won? What was your final record?
MM - I did like 84 fights and won almost 70 if I’m not wrong. I won national title three times including a great tournament in which I beat both Matthysse and Hector Saldivia. Then in a pre-Olympic tournament in Tijuana, I felt like I was robbed in a fight against a Mexican when I was on the verge to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games. But definitely the Olympic style was not for me, so I wanted to become a pro.
AW - Your brother, Fabian, is a top amateur back in Argentina. Can you tell us about him? Is he going pro? What current prospects/amateurs do you believe will come through and represent your country one day like you have?
MM - Fabian is a great fighter, more intelligent than me and more skilful. I think he will remain as an amateur for a while. To be honest, I don’t see great amateur prospects right now in Argentina but there are a few great promising guys in the pros like Jesus Cuellar (featherweight, 22-1 (18)), Maximiliano Marquez (featherweight, 16-1-1 (7)), Brian Castano (welterweight, 2-0 (2)), etc.
AW - Away from boxing, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?
MM - I am a simple guy who loves to spend time with my family in my native little town of Margarita. Once a fight has finished, I like to travel there. It’s an eight-hour drive from Buenos Aires. I enjoy myself hunting, playing cards, fishing, things like that. And I like to spend time with my son, Yoyo. The love for tattoos has been there since I was a kid. They have different meanings for me. In fact, these days, I’m covering a few tattoos from my childhood that I really hate. So I’m covering those.
AW - In closing, do you have a message for your fans?
MM - Just want to thank all my fans all through the world but especially those in the U.S., Mexico and Argentina who always cheer for me. They’re great people. I hope to give them more exciting fights in 2013 as that’s exactly what a boxing fan always wants, a good fight in which boxers give it all. Also, I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year.
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