By Tyson Bruce
There are those rare moments where it is difficult to do a fight justice through journalism. The Marcos Maidana-Adrien Broner fight was, I’m proud to say, one of those rare and cherished moments. The savage bout featured everything from sustained two-way action, knockdowns, point deductions, and a thrilling upset victory. Going into the bout many experts figured this would be just another stepping stone on the path to greatness for Broner and that Maidana, though respected, was tailor made for the Cincinnati sharp shooter. They could not have been more wrong as Maidana fought like a man possessed and never let up with his dogged aggression. I predicated a Broner knockout going in and I couldn’t be happier to have been wrong because this fight was truly something special.
Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy
The fight was up-tempo from the very first round as Maidana came out like a rabid dog, as he literally threw himself on Broner, who is known for being a very slow starter. This was beyond even the customary Maidana aggression—this was Jack Dempsey mauling Jess Willard territory here. Maidana almost knocked Broner down with a quirky over hand right, making it abundantly clear to Broner that Maidana’s punch was one that he’d never felt before. In the second round Maidana continued to rain hell fire down on Broner and showed some clever skills, as he turned a left jab to the body into a sweeping left hook to the head that put Broner down hard. Broner got up on very unsteady legs, but somehow managed to survive the round.
Maidana had been fighting at a psychotically fast pace and noticeably slowed down in rounds 3-6, but continued to be a constant threat to Broner because of his one punch knockout ability. Although Broner did very well to comeback and have a decent round in the third, his bad habit of looking for the perfect counterpunch and low punch output cost him dearly in this fight, as Maidana, even while being winded, managed to steal rounds simply by being the more aggressive fighter. Maidana has a very awkward and unpredictable offense and Broner really struggled to find the timing for his counter shots, actually doing better when he went forward. Being aggressive was always a catch-22 for Broner, however, because although it was his best tactic for winning rounds it put him in constant danger from ‘Chino’s’ punching power.
Broner came out humming in round eight tagging Maidana with some flashy combinations, but just as it looked like things were going his way Maidana hit him with two short, hard left hooks that put him on the canvas for the second time in the bout. Broner was again badly stunned and made no attempt to hide his desire to hold on for dear life. Maidana, in an act of frustration because Broner had both of his arms locked, intentionally head butted Broner—although it did not appear to be severely damaging. That didn’t stop Broner from putting on an academy award winning performance to referee Laurence Cole (who had a very sloppy night) trying to buy himself a point deduction. Mission accomplished, as Cole immediately deducted a point from Maidana. Regardless of the point deduction it was plainly obvious that the power difference between the two men was a pivotal factor in the fight.
Rounds 9-12 featured the most epic and sustained action of the bout, as both men began tiring and Broner became increasingly desperate. Maidana even while being badly fatigued from the middle rounds of the bout showed incredible heart by never really letting Broner take the play away from him. The rounds were tough to score and it really depended on whether you preferred the sheer aggression and power of Maidana or the more deliberate sharp shots from Broner. Generally, it seemed that Maidana’s greater strength and power made the difference in the majority of the close rounds.
The controversy and fouling wasn’t over, as after having himself a pretty decent eleventh round (after being told he needed a knockout by trainer Mike Stafford) Broner cracked Maidana with a huge punch after the round had clearly ended. Maidana was noticeably stunned and Robert Garcia pleaded with Cole to take a point from Broner. The last round was absolutely epic and words can never really do justice to boxing at its absolute best, which this clearly was. Both men traded with reckless abandon, as Broner desperately searched for a lifeline to save his undefeated record. It wasn’t to be as Maidana bravely stood his ground and made it out of the round despite being still hurt from the previous round.
Although it was plainly obvious that Maidana had clearly earned the victory, this fight was in Texas, a state known for unpredictable judging, and one never really felt safe until the decision was announced. Fortunately, the Texas judges were right on the money turning in cards that read 115-110, 116-109, 117-109, all of which were highly credible. Boxing Insider agreed with the 116-109 score in favor of Maidana. In an act of unprofessionalism Broner didn’t stay to congratulate his conqueror or do a post fight interview and instead immediately left the ring, where he was greeted with a torrent of beer bottles and garbage being hurled his way. In his defense, his jaw looked incredibly swollen and he may have been leaving to seek medical attention. It was that brutal.
In the co-main event of the evening rising sensation Keith Thurman scored a scintillating ninth round knockout over the ridiculously durable veteran Jesus Soto Karrass. Thurman is showing noticeable improvement with every fight and passed the tough test against the body-punching dynamo from Mexico with flying colors. Throughout the bout Thurman showed a multilayered offence and constantly switched between boxing and slugging depending on the tactics of his opponent.
In round one Karrass proved that he was coming to win, as he caught Thurman cold with an overhand right that had the favored young fighter stunned. Thurman responded very well and rebounded to out box Karrass for the remainder of the round, landing plenty of heavy leather himself. Although Karrass was very game and never stopped trying to apply pressure, Thurman used his highly underrated boxing skills to maximum effect and largely left his opponent punching air. In between the boxing Thurman landed plenty of savage power shots, including a brutal Roy Jones-esque left uppercut that put Karrass on the canvas in the fifth round. Karrass regrouped and somehow managed to survive another three and half rounds, until the ninth round when Thurman unloaded a savage five punch combination that obliterated Karrass. Referee Jon Schorle in a crafty piece of work actually caught Karrass on the way down, saving the fighter from hitting his head on the canvas.
Keith Thurman proved that he is a force to be reckoned with against any of the top fighters in the stacked 147-weight division. And, judging by the result of the main event, maybe just maybe it is Thurman that is the future of American boxing, and not the more hyped Adrien Broner. Thurman fights like a monster and has the kind of WWE style salesmanship that could prove to be an effective marketing tool if he’s promoted the right way. It’s time for the big time for this kid.
The second bout of the evening saw one of boxing’s most exciting young talents Leo Santa Cruz take care of business scoring a unanimous decision against Puerto Rico’s Cesar Seda, in what was a crisp and highly skilled affaire. Scores were 116-111, 115-112, 117-110.
In the opening bout of the evening Beibut Shumenov returned to action after an eighteen month hiatus from the ring to ransack previously unbeaten challenger Tomas Kovacs with a third round knockout. After a rusty opening round Shumenov dropped Kovacs in round one with a left hook, then put Kovacs down again in round two with an uppercut. The end came in round three when Shumenov downed Kovacs with a lead right hand. The victory set up as possible match with the legendary Bernard Hopkins who was at ringside.
This was an absolutely epic way to end what has been a calendar year for boxing that featured the highest grossing fight of all time between Mayweather and Canelo and a slew of awesome action fights, including the main event tonight. For all of those readers who have friends that long ago turned there backs on boxing, tell them to watch this boxing card because this was truly special stuff.