Upsets in boxing don’t get any sweeter than Marcos Maidana’s welterweight thrashing of Adrien Broner in Showtime’s main event Saturday. If you missed it, check out Showtime Extreme’s re-airing Tuesday at 10 p.m.
Whether you predicted it or not, Broner deserved his comeuppance, which Maidana delivered with left-hook knockdowns in the second and eighth rounds and similar howitzers throughtout the fight, to the delight of a big crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
It was bad enough that Broner had been billing himself the next best thing to Floyd Mayweather, and then some, and that some of us were buying it, without the little guy’s also deciding he could move up from 130 pounds to 147 and dominate the big boys in the welterweight class.
But what does Broner know about class? -- as he demonstrated against Maidana with an assortment of gouging, holding, pushing and pulling that drew many warnings from referee Laurence Cole but no point deductions. Broner is proud of his sordid past, justifying it as the logical consequence of growing up poor in Cincinnati, and as is often too true of American black men, he is convinced that no one else in the world grows up in such hide-toughening circumstances.
Maidana, a none-too-urbane Argentinian, proved that Broner (5-foot-6) is too big for his britches and that, whether he belongs in the pound-for-pound pantheon or not, he ought to be proving it at lightweight.
When Maidana established during the first minute against Broner that he could land not only his trademark overhand right but also the left hook, that was satisfying enough proof that, win or lose this fight, Broner is not as inpenetrable as Mayweather, not the second coming at all.
Maidana may be among the division’s most fearsome sluggers (although Keith Thurman, who stopped Jesus Soto-Karras on the undercard may have been the most impressive welterweight on the card and I still think Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero would outpoint Maidana) but Maidana has never looked this big or powerful, at 140 or 147, and he himself had said he almost assuredly would have to win by knockout or not at all.
Still, Maidana is not totally incapable of winning on points. With the second-round knockdown putting Maidana three points ahead of Broner in the fight, you started daring to hope he could get the victory, even if the bout went 12 rounds to a decision, and there was ample drama in that scenario.
First of all, while Maidana clearly won the fourth and eighth rounds, others were close enough that if you were giving Broner the benefit of the doubt in the close rounds, he might have won by some judges’ reckoning, although it turned out the busier Maidana won at least eight rounds on all scorecards.
Second, amid all the warnings to Broner, Maidana was the one who incurred a point deduction. Shortly after the eighth-round knockdown, Broner was clutching both of Maidana’s arms in desperation and Cole was letting it happen, when Maidana butted Broner under his lower jaw.
With Broner perhaps just a point or two down after 11, he punctuated the end of that round with an after-the-bell left hook that hurt Maidana and opened the possibility that a knockdown or worse in the 12th could affect the decision -- especially considering the track records of judges at fights in Texas. But justice was served.
If you admire Broner’s potential or maybe care about the man himself, you should hope he’ll look in the mirror and confront the little guy he sees there. And, by the way, he didn’t advance his cause much by fleeing the arena after the bout instead of submitting ot interviews. The Tuesday night replay will have an interview with Broner.
He can still become the best lightweight and super-lightweight ever, but he has carried neither his power nor speed to 147, and his bravado didn’t get him very far there.