Just after the halfway mark in the 11th round of his December title fight with American Adrien Broner, Argentine welterweight Marcos Maidana spun Broner, stood directly behind him and thrust his protective cup thrice against Broner’s backside. And 11,000 or so South Texans in San Antonio’s Alamodome rose in unison to emit a whooping cackle at Broner’s expense.
It was payback for the theatrical humping gesture Broner had perpetrated on the matte-gold banner across the seat of Maidana’s trunks in the closing 15 seconds of Round 1, when Broner was still boxing’s newest prodigy and Maidana was a limited South American slugger, and it had gone unforgotten in Maidana’s calculating brain. Maidana’s triumphantly deprecating gesture became a signature garnish of sorts for the greatest night of his career – a unanimous decision victory and THE RING’S 2013 Upset of the Year – an evening that was nigh impossible 20 months before, when “El Chino” openly contemplated retirement.
“When Devon Alexander beat me,” Maidana said from his home in Santa Fe, Argentina, “it was a frustrating moment for me, and I was confused. I had doubts about my future.”
“A tremendous failure,” said Maidana’s manager, Sebastian Contursi, in Buenos Aires. “After that fight, Maidana was very depressed because he didn’t win even one single round. We gave him time to recover. I had a personal conversation with him, and I said, ‘You have great potential. You have to rebuild yourself. I have a great trainer for you, and it’s Robert Garcia.’”
“I picked him up at the airport, and his cousin was the one asking a lot of questions. Maidana just sat in the backseat and laid down and didn’t say a word,” said Garcia, Maidana’s current trainer and a former junior lightweight world titlist. “The first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, we’re going to have troubles with this guy not wanting to be here.’ But once we started working, it caught my attention that he followed every single instruction we gave him. He did every single thing he was told, and that was when I knew: This is the kind of guy we want in our gym.
“Who would’ve ever thought that Maidana could do something like that to Broner, before?”
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