SAN ANTONIO – After making weight at Market Plaza on Friday, Cincinnati’s Adrien “The Problem” Broner declared his fight with Argentine welterweight Marcos “El Chino” Maidana was “easy money.” Then he promised, if Maidana rushed in, Broner would “flat-line him.”
Maidana did indeed rush in, and the only flat line Broner was able to create was the one made by his own sparkly gold trunks on the blue mat.
Saturday at Alamodome, in the main event of Golden Boy Promotions’ “Danger Zone” card, Marcos Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) beat up Adrien Broner (27-1, 22 KOs), dropping him twice and winning a unanimous decision by official scores of 115-110, 116-109 and 117-109. THE RING scorecard had Maidana by 115-110.
“The plan,” Maidana said in Spanish afterward, “was to fight the way I had to fight to win.”
From the opening bell Maidana fought like a man possessed, overwhelming Broner with a relentless rage rarely seen in championship boxing. Whatever Broner was able to do, whether leading with his forearm, clowning or talking, Maidana was oblivious, continuously slamming Broner’s head — every part of it — with a clubbing right hand that preceded or followed, nearly every time, a left hook, high or low.
It was a pair of left-hook leads in round two that proved Maidana was an opponent altogether different from any Broner had previously met. The Argentine was more clever than advertised, jabbing low and feinting his way in, quicker than advertised, and every bit as powerful as advertised.
Maidana’s second left-hook lead dropped a shocked-faced Broner on the mat, and though Broner rose early in the count and returned to showboating later in the fight, he was clearly humbled and astonished by what had befallen him.
After a number of middle rounds in which Broner made the adjustment of walking down Maidana, another Maidana left hook dropped Broner in the early part of round eight. Later, after his maniacal mauling led to a partial clinch, Maidana followed an intentional head-butt with a left hook that sent Broner theatrically sprawling in the corner, briefly appearing to look for an escape hatch from a fight many times more brutal than his conditioning anticipated.
Referee Lawrence Cole deducted an ultimately meaningless point from Maidana’s tally, and “El Chino” and Broner traded rounds down the stretch, but as Broner needed a knockout to keep his undefeated record intact, trading rounds was not nearly enough.
“The truth is that I never fought someone like him,” Maidana graciously said of his vanquished foe. “And it was a grand fight.”
Immediately after suffering his first loss, an exhausted and apparently traumatized Broner rushed from the ring, sans comment, sans hair-brushing.
“Yes, yes, I have no problem,” Maidana said, when asked about a rematch with Broner.
Because the truth was that Maidana had just had all of “The Problem.”
KEITH THURMAN STOPS JESUS SOTO-KARASS
Mexican welterweight veteran Jesus Soto-Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs) is a lie detector, a prizefighter whose greatest virtue is his ability to sense and exploit other men’s weaknesses. And in Saturday’s co-main event the lie detector was activated against Floridian Keith “One Time” Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs), activated to see if one of boxing’s fastest-ascending and most charismatic young personalities was worthy of the praise now accruing to his name.
Turns out, Thurman’s resume tells no lies: “One Time” fully disabled the Soto-Karass machine, stopping the Mexican without need for a 10-count at 2:21 of round nine.
“There’s a lot of tough guys out there,” Thurman said afterward. “Maybe they take it for a few rounds, but they ain’t going to take it for 12 rounds.”
Thurman’s 22nd prizefight, though, started much tougher than any of its predecessors, as “One Time,” intoxicated with his own right-hand power, swung for the fences in the opening minute of Saturday’s match, planted his chin on Soto-Karass’s left uppercut, and got himself wobbled early. But Thurman recovered with surprising quickness and fought Soto-Karass even for the remainder of the round.
After that, he gradually established his superiority, hurting Soto-Karass several times, dropping him in the fifth and stopping him in the ninth.
“He was buzzed standing up,” said Thurman. “And I finished the show.”
And finished it in superlative fashion.
LEO SANTA CRUZ OUTPOINTS CESAR SEDA
The fighter most expected to electrify the partisan-Mexican crowd in Saturday’s South Texas venue was Californian Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KOs), and while the volume-punching super bantamweight gave an excellent account of himself against Puerto Rican southpaw Cesar Seda (25-2, 17 KOs) – winning by unanimous scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 117-110 – it was not sufficiently excellent to please Santa Cruz.
“I didn’t do what I wanted to do,” he said after his successful title defense. “I wanted to give you guys a better fight, but it didn’t happen.”
Santa Cruz, who appears in the ring like no one so much as a young Antonio Margarito, stomped towards Seda for the entirety of their 12 rounds together, throwing the third punch of his combination, a left hook, despite missing repeatedly with an opening jab and following cross. And it was the third punch, the “3” coincidentally, that made the largest difference in the judges’ scoring.
For his part, Seda, whose name in Spanish means “silk,” acquitted himself honorably, showing more toughness than smoothness, repeatedly fighting his way off the ropes and giving Santa Cruz a very difficult style to solve, one Santa Cruz finally bested with will and activity more than clean punching.
BEIBUT SHUMENOV OVERWHELMS TAMAS KOVACS
The first of the evening’s four title fights found Kazakhstani light heavyweight Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) unraveling Slovak Tamas Kovacs (23-1, 14 KOs) in as ominous a show of poise as might have been seen in 2013. Shumenov dropped Kovas thrice and stopped him at 2:55 of round three.
Shumenov spent the opening 8 1/2 minutes of the match with his left arm almost fully extended, measuring Kovacs for a right cross, perfectly unconcerned about anything Kovacs might throw as a counter. Then Shumenov landed the right hand in round 3, and no count was needed. While waiting to land the right cross, almost as if to entertain himself, Shumenov also dropped Kovacs with a left hook counter in round one and a left-uppercut lead in round two.
Afterwards, when asked about fighting Bernard Hopkins, on hand as part of Golden Boy Promotions, Shumenov did not hesitate.
“I’ll be honored to fight him,” the Kazakhstani said about Hopkins. “It would be an honor.”
Hopkins, wielding a yellow Shumenov towel and highly complimentary of the Russian, was nevertheless unhesitating as well.
“It will be an honor to take his belt,” said Hopkins, before shaking Shumenov’s hand.
Photos / Ronald Martinez-Getty Images