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“El Chino”: El Gran Campeon

By Bill Tibbs


Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas, Marcos “El Chino” Maidana, 35-3 (31), beat welterweight champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner, 27-1 (22) winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt via 12-round, unanimous decision. Maidana sent the heavily-favored Broner to the canvas twice during the bout to punctuate the win. The Argentinean simply scratched and clawed his way into the winner’s circle in a fight in which he was certainly brought in as the “B”-side to Broner’s obvious “A”-side.


Before the bout, Broner insisted that Maidana was “easy money” and he was either going to knock him out or “beat him to death.” Well, he did neither. Broner appeared constantly overwhelmed and frustrated by the relentless attack of the forward-charging Maidana more and more as the fight wore on. Clearly, if Broner could have kept “El Chino” on the end of his jab and give him angles, he would have been a much tougher task for the relentless Maidana. However, when Maidana handled Broner’s best stuff, it didn’t appear like “The Problem” had a backup plan. In fairness, Broner showed guts albeit an ill-advised game plan in staying in the pocket with the hard-hitting Maidana. But he paid for it with hard shots to the body and several shaky moments when he was wobbled by power shots. And then getting deposited on the canvas twice all but sealed the outcome for the former world light welterweight champion. The corner work of Maidana from chief trainer, Oxnard, California’s Robert Garcia was excellent throughout this “Fight of the Year” grade tussle. Time and again, “Grandpa” seemed to fine tune his charge between rounds and allowed the would-be champion to re-establish himself in the moments when Broner appeared to make a strong run at turning the tide. Garcia, one of top trainers in all of boxing today, imbued a simple but extremely effective plan in his fighter. He knew he didn’t have a Fred Astaire/Willie Pep hybrid coming out of the corner each round, so he kept his fight plan simple.
 
Garcia took the strengths and assets Maidana did have and maximized them for as much as possible in every round: move forward; crowd Broner and smother his jab. Use a hook or body shot on the left side and let fly with bombs from the right lane. And with Maidana, a fighter with very good power, the punches will - and did - add up. While Broner bit down hard in the last round and tried to find the KO he had boasted he would deliver in most pre-fight press junkets, it was a day late and a dollar short as “El Chino” took his best and remained upright, the same of which can’t be said for Broner. Now Maidana is square in the white-hot 147-pound mix with the likes of Timothy Bradley, Floyd Mayweather, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao and new WBA interim champion Keith Thurman.
 
Broner, who perhaps felt he wouldn’t need one, did not have a rematch clause in his contract and has already started to tweet a rematch campaign - and it may happen. But Maidana has earned the right to allow his team to pick and choose what his next move. Broner will learn that you don’t have the same options you had when you were the champion as you do when you are just another guy in line hoping for a title shot. And Broner, possessed of his perennial pre-fight bravado, spoke of himself as the guy to take over boxing when Floyd retires (hinting he was the new heir apparent). However, with a little help from a tough kid from Argentina, Broner showed he clearly isn’t even in the same league as the pound-for-pound king.
 
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca.
 
 
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