(Marcos Maidana, post-fight; photo credit: Esther Lin, Showtime)
Adrien Broner was the future of American boxing until Saturday night on Showtime, when he ran into hard-ass Argentinian Marcos Maidana, who somehow overcame the pervasive influence of Golden Boy, adviser Al Haymon and the network that broadcast the fight to win a unanimous decision. And you know? Maybe Broner is still the future of American boxing. But it ain't at 147, at least not against ruthless South Americans who are unconvinced by showy speed and half-cocked Floyd Mayweather impersonations.
I will forever regret switching my prediction on the day of the fight from Maidana to Broner, a call to which I had held fast from the day the bout had been signed until the day of the bout. Originally, I had been unconvinced by Broner's power at welterweight as opposed to junior welterweight, the fact that feather-fisted Paulie Malignaggi outworked Broner in a clear loss, Broner's perpetual poor work habits and the fact that Broner's chin was completely untested at 147. All of those things factored into the decision loss.
That Broner appeared so physically imposing and cut up was part of what made me doubt my original prediction, because style-wise, Broner had every talent advantage over Maidana. Maidana was slow, prone to sporadic offense and infinitely capable of being outboxed by slicksters. But he came out like a demon and beat up Broner in the 1st, which Broner tried to neutralize via a pantomime butt-humping, but fake butt-humping doesn't win fights. Maidana then dropped Broner in the 2nd, and dropped him in the 8th again, although Broner took the occasion of a deliberate Maidana head butt to ape excessive injury and won a point deduction for it. That Broner fared well in the middle rounds and had some close rounds here and there as Maidana's pace slowed (excepting a revenge butt-humping in the 11th by Maidana) was enough to cause worry that he could unjustly pull it off on the scorecards with his institutional support.
Good for the judges for seeing it true: 115-110, 116-109 and 117-109 for Maidana. This was the best win of his career, and a rebuke to Broner's flash, gifts and marketability triumphing over Maidana's grit, power and devotion. Broner has all kinds of ability. But as Maidana proved, for what seems like the millionth time, it don't mean victory every night if you don't capitalize fully on what's been handed to you from birth.