RingTV.com spoke to trainer Mike Stafford a week after Marcos Maidana's unanimous-decision win over his fighter Adrien Broner for the WBA welterweight title on Dec. 14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Maidana (35-3, 31 knockouts) floored Broner (27-1, 22 KOs) in the second and eighth rounds over the course of what was a brutally physical bout which tested the loser's resolve in only his second fight in the 147-pound division after having jumped two weight classes.
In a Fight-of-the-Year candidate, Broner endured what the Cincinnati-based boxer initially thought, in error, was a broken right jaw.
"Adrien was fine. He panicked as far as he thought maybe something was wrong. He was hurting, so, naturally, he had never felt that kind of pain before. So he thought it was broke with the head butt," said Stafford, referring to Maidana's being penalized for what referee Laurence Cole called a fllagrant and deliberate intention to hurt somebody outside of the rules of boxing.
"That was not with the punch, the head butt. But Adrien was just able to fight his way through it, and that made it worse. He got elbowed and there were different things. He went to the hospital, but the CAT Scan and everything were negative. He had 500 or 600 people there for him at his welcome home party, so he was able to do a little rapping. That was Tuesday after the fight."
Broner's performance won praise from his mentor and No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who suggested that the 24-year-old's "fight with Maidana should be nothing but a minor setback for a major comeback."
Although Broner has stated that he wants a rematch against Maidana, Mayweather advises against it.
"I don't think he should be focused on chasing the Maidana fight. I think what would be a good move for him is this. May 3, fight on my undercard," said Mayweather, 36, who is widely speculated to be ready to announce that he will face England's Amir Khan in his next bout soon. "You know, fight a solid guy at 140, get back on track and get your career in order. That fight with Maidana should be nothing but a minor setback for a major comeback. But as far as Adrien is concerned, he still has a lot to learn."
"It wasn't no bad night, it was a bad first round. It took him quite a bit of time to recoup. I had to settle him down because he had never been in that territory before. He had never gotten hit like that, and when he did get hit like that, it was like, 'I want to retaliate and make it a street fight,'" said Stafford.
"I didn't want him to be in ho street fight right away. I wanted him to use his skills. But he just couldn't get it together in that length of time. By the ninth and 10, when he had to try and go get him, then it had to be a street fight, because he knew that he was in a hole. So he still had enough time earlier if he would have just been able to settle down, but he just couldn't get himself together."
Stafford said he felt Broner was coming on until being dropped for the second time in the eighth round.
"The eighth round did him in. That's when I told him that he needed the knockout. Not no 10-8 rounds, but the knockout to win the fight, because I knew that they weren't going to give it to him," said Stafford of Broner, who, with the penalty, lost the round, 9-8.
"The way that Maidana was fighting, he had the bigger shot. Adrien has some big shots, too. With the crowd being for Maidana, that really swayed the referee. But all in all, Adrien got right back up. It was really just the one shot that made that a 10-8 round."
Maidana's trainer, Robert Garcia, had transformed the Argentine from the hard-nosed, hammer-fisted determined fighter , who was coming off a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Devon Alexander in his 147-pound debut in February of last year.
Garcia tinkered with the footwork of Maidana, who went on a tear by scoring knockouts in the eighth round over Jesus Soto Karass, the third against Angel Martinez,and the sixth opposite Josesito Lopez in his previous three bouts before facing Broner.
"I think that he was more elusive than I had ever seen him and more powerful than I thought that he was. With Adrien, he came inside and he got inside where he wanted to be, and we practiced distance, and with him getting inside, that's where he's good at doing what he does. He scored. You keep him on the outside, and he can't score. But, he was able to get inside and score. We practiced for distance and keeping him at a distance," said Stafford.
"But Maidana was able to get in during that first round, and that pissed Adrien off. I think Adrien was more pissed at himself than he was at anybody else. He was the same guy, but Devon didn't let him get inside. Devon was able to move and to carry him into the later rounds, and that's what we wanted to do. We knew that he was going to be strong for six or seven rounds, but we had him out a few times, and Adrien just didn't pull the trigger. Definitely in the 11th round. I thought that maybe we could have had him out in the 12th."
Broner had earned title belts over three weight classes, taking the WBO's junior lightweight belt by third-round knockout over Vicente Martin Rodriguez in November of 2011, and the WBC's lightweight title following an eighth-round stoppage of Antonio DeMarco in November of last year.
In his previous bout in June, Broner jumped two weight divisions for his 147-pound debut with a split-decision victory that dethroned Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi for the division's WBA's belt.
Does Stafford agree with Mayweather concerning Broner's return to the ring at a lower weight?
"A lot of people say they want him to fight 140, or 135. He don't have no problem making 140, but I don't think that it will be at 135," said Stafford.
"Adrien is going to find anybody that's going to be pay per view. He wants to get on pay per view to show everybody that he had a bad first round. I just want him to get himself together. He's good, and he'll be back."
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com