The Aftermath: Maidana vs. Broner
By Jay McIntyre: It always seems oddly self-serving to publish an article that talks about how right one was when making a prediction. With this humility in mind, I want to look back on what was a very fun bout to watch. Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KO’s) and Adrien Broner (27-1, 22 KO’s) were able to provide a significant measure of entertainment in a fight that was marred by some controversy. Thankfully, however, the outcome was not a victim of any errant stupidity.
I feel I would be remiss if I did not point out that this fight certainly served to be a cautionary tale about the perils of hubris. While Broner clearly has observable talent in the ring, much of the lead-up to the fight had me slightly concerned about his priorities. Of course, the media sources are never accurate and only provide a faint glimpse into the reality of a fighter’s preparation, but I still had some reservations. Footage regarding his preparation seemed to portray as a man posturing for the camera. Singing along with the rapper, with his arm around him as he jogged out to the ring made me think that he was more involved with the walk to the ring rather then what was happening afterward. These things ultimately mean nothing, as the ring is where the truth comes out, and posturing and apparent neglect from other boxers in the past did not readily translate into their imminent defeat. But still….something didn’t sit quite right with me. I felt that if I was fighting a relentless power puncher I would be a little more focused and motivated.
And so it was that by the second round Broner was floored by a concussive left hook. He recovered made a stronger showing for himself in the middle and later rounds, but it still wasn’t enough. His complacent punch output betrayed him, and another knockdown in the eighth round served to punctuate an already impressive performance by Maidana. Albert Einstein once believed that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. There is a universal truth in this statement and last night Adrien Broner learned first hand that the truth hurts. By refusing to change his game since his narrow win over Paulie Malignaggi in June, Broner willfully ignored some valuable lessons and traded them for painful consequences. In the boxing ring the truth always has a way coming out, and in keeping with this motif let us look at the several truths that emerged from last night’s bout.
Adrien Broner needs to needs to go back to the drawing board if he wishes to continue competing at welterweight. He doesn’t move enough to stay out of trouble and he doesn’t throw enough shots to steal rounds. If he wants to hang with heavier fighters, then he must acknowledge his own error. It takes a lot to swallow one’s pride and admit that defeat was the result of one’s own doing. In fact, it is often easier to blame someone or something else to keep the ego from becoming bruised. Adrien Broner’s abrupt departure from the ring upon hearing of the decision concerns me. On the one hand he may have been discomforted by his jaw (as some have reported) due to the headbutt, but he had no problem talking throughout the whole fight after receiving the headbutt, so there’s that evidence which stands in stark contradiction.
Another truth is that Marcos Maidana – for all his flaws throughout his fights – makes every prospect have to earn their spurs each time they step in the ring. On paper he looks beatable enough, and yet the intangibles that emanate from his fighting style tell a different tale altogether. While, his footwork leaves something to desire, he still finds a way to connect on his opponent. If Maidana can tighten up his discipline and stick to a very cerebral game plan then his stock will continue to rise.
Marcos Maidana’s jab was integral to his success overall, and also the success of his left hook and his signature overhand right. Maidana used the jab to the body beautifully and this pulled apart Broner’s defensive leaving him open to effective power punching. Part of having an effective defensive is anticipation and there were numerous occasions when Maidana’s left hook was able to land because it looked like a jab when he started to throw it. Broner would parry what he thought was a jab, and would get stunned by a hook. Maidana’s body punching was also key in confusing Broner as he tried to anticipate whether or not the shots coming in were to his head or his body. Lastly, these body shots punctured Broner’s gas tank and left his shots without the zest they needed as the fight progressed.
Broner was not without his pleasing moments. He put Maidana on the back foot, and forced the pressure fighter to fight defensively. When he was able to do this he had much more success and was able to bank some rounds in his favour. He also displayed his much vaunted speed, throwing sharp and effective combinations. I was impressed with how well he threw his left hook (though Maidana’s seemed to be more telling). Lastly, he adapted well the Marcos Maidana’s overhand right which can be a game-ender for any fighter at any time.
What Didn’t Work?
This fight was as notable for defining the two men as it was for being marred by foul play. Broner’s excessive holding as a desperate attempt to stave off destruction certainly earned him no fans. He consistently was warned by the referee for holding and shoving constantly throughout the fight, and yet he persisted. It was clear that he feared the power of Maidana, but it is a shame that he had to resort to such antics when people were looking toward another opportunity for his ‘coming out party’ at welterweight. It is also a shame that Broner’s hardest shot had to happen after the bell of the eleventh round. It’s effects so thoroughly rippled through Maidana’s skull that he had to get checked by the ringside doctor, and even entering the final round. Maidana’s trainer, Robert Garcia, complained that if a headbutt gets called straight away, so should hitting after the bell, but this was to no avail.
Another nefarious tactic which did not need to happen was Maidana’s head-butt of Broner in round 8. Maidana had floored and clearly had Broner on the verge of unconsciousness when Broner tied up Maidana’s arms with double-over hooks. If you are unfamiliar with this as a regular boxing tactic, then you are right as it is more common in wrestling. In futile rage at the excessive holding when he knew that he had Broner hurt, Maidana rammed his skull in an upward motion to let Broner know that what he was doing was wrong. Unfortunately for Maidana his frustration got the better of him and he ended up losing a point. Was Broner’s excessive acting (in a routine that seems more in keeping with drawing penalties in soccer, than it has a home in the boxing ring) responsible for the referee’s swift judgment? It matters not. A headbutt is a headbutt and they should be penalized more
Lastly, the referee should not be immune from any scorn either. While his swift justice brought down on the headbutt in round 8 was indisputable, his relatively lax concern for the excessive holding, punching after the bell in the eleventh, and unsportsmanlike behavior (such as Broner dry humping Maidana in the first round) was both irresponsible and negligent.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The rise of one is always marked by the fall of another. Marcos Maidana can look for more lucrative fights, and depending on who you ask (or which “alphabet soup” rankings you peruse) there are a few matches that seems realistic. Keith Thurman, for example, seems logical given that both are under the Showtime banner and the fight will no doubt provide some entertaining action.
Meanwhile, Adrien Broner must adapt to the bigger, heavier hitting fighters at welterweight and in order to do this he needs to realign both his priorities and his in-ring identity. He will probably be given a ‘powder-puff’ puncher (as Jack Dempsey would say) in order to re-establish his confidence. He can no longer get away with punching economically while forsaking intelligent footwork. Boxers that tend to be sparing in their punch output, usually compensate by either having god-like power in their gloves, or by using their footwork to keep off their opponents line of attack. Broner lacks that kind of power, ergo, he must move his feet. Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner does indeed have a problem on his hands – it is a boxer’s existential crisis – and one that will not be so easily solved.
For more boxing analysis, follow me on twitter: @JayMcintyre83, or go to my blog: a-neutral-corner.blogspot.ca
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