It’s a little anti-climactic to learn of the retirement of someone who hasn’t fought in two years. Even the reaction to the news of Marcos Maidana’s official retirement was a bit strange. Normally when fans hear a favorite fighter is leaving the sport it’s met with bitter joy because the guy is usually shot and taking beatings from pugs for almost no money. That’s not the case here. The overall tone on social media was immediate celebration of the career of almost everyone’s favorite slugger.
The celebration was justified, because from 2009 to 2014, Maidana gave us one of the most entertaining runs in recent memory. That he capped it off with two entertaining fights against Floyd Mayweather that earned him enough money to live on for the rest of his life was icing on the cake. The entire point of a professional boxing career is to set yourself up for life. Very few fighters escape the sport with their finances and health intact. Maidana is spending his time eating BBQ, riding dirt bikes and shooting guns. That’s about as good as it gets.
Most of us were introduced to Maidana when he was brought in to lose to Victor Ortiz in 2009. He was coming off a split decision loss to Andriy Kotelnik in Germany, and Ortiz was supposed to be Golden Boy Promotion’s next big star. When Maidana got dropped in the 1st, it seemed like the fight would follow its intended script. But he got up and immediately floored Ortiz with the only straight punch he probably ever threw. Down twice more in the 2nd, Maidana adjusted to the speed and proceeded to batter Ortiz into kindling.
With the exception of getting jab and grabbed to losing nearly every round against Devon Alexander in 2012, Maidana was never in a dull fight. He was mostly getting outclassed by Amir Khan before landing a huge overhand right in the 10th and scrambling furiously after the noodle-legged Khan for three rounds as referee Joe Cortez did his best to ensure no one landed a punch. Maidana had all-out brawls with the legendary Erik Morales, Jesus Soto Karass and Josesito Lopez that solidified his reputation as the most reliable action fighter in or around welterweight.
Undoubtedly, Maidana’s most satisfying performance was against Adrien Broner. By that point, Maidana was known as what he was, a fun but limited slugger. Most everyone figured Broner was too fast and skilled for him. Instead, Maidana went out and battered Broner around the ring, dropped him hard twice, and when Broner attempted to humiliate him with a dry humping, Maidana returned the favor twice as vigorously.
He wasn’t just fun in the ring. Outside of it, Maidana had an amazingly refreshing attitude. He really did not give a fuck. Who else takes a smiling selfie to clown Floyd Mayweather during a press conference? There is also the crown he wore after beating Broner, and my personal favorite, his amazing leopard print tuxedo jacket. He was uncowed by any moment and completely unafraid to have a good time. That he capped that off by entering his very own Fat Elvis phase made me love him all the more.
- Why the fuck is HBO so in love with Andre Ward? WHY? Max Kellerman and Jim Lampley spent the entirety of Ward’s fight with Alexander Brand gushing over Ward. Any time Bernard Hopkins raised the point that Ward should’ve gotten Brand out of there, Lamps & Max began apologizing for Ward immediately. Goddamn it was shameful. The fight was a huge mismatch, it was boring as hell, and the commentary was ridiculous. If I want to hear someone wax idiotic about a cat playing with its food, I’ll catch a bird and release it in my neighbor’s living room so she can tell me what a good little hunter Mittens is.
- Speaking of Ward, people tend to think that Ward is hated because he’s boring. He’s not. He’s hated because he’s openly contemptuous of his audience. If you haven’t read it, Brin-Jonathan Butler did an excellent feature on Ward for The Undefeated. I knew almost none of those things about Ward, and I respect his insistence on keeping his personal life to himself. I don’t really give a shit about fighters’ personal life; it’s not my business. Professionally, Ward is a bore, and he’s a sporadically fighting bore. He hasn’t fought anyone with a pulse since 2012, all the while acting like he might, maybe, someday, fight someone good. And he skipped the press conference to announce the Kovalev fight because he was tired or something. Fight Kovalev or fuck off.
- A lot of people were upset that professional boxers were allowed to compete in the Olympics this year. We’re now to the round of 16, and all three professionals have been eliminated. Amnat Ruenroeng got beaten up and stopped by Frenchman Sofiane Oumiha, Hassan N’Dam got out pointed by Brazilian Michel Borges (in the opening round) and Carmine Tommasone lost to Cuban Lazaro Alvarez. I was tempted to laugh at them, but amateur and pro are different animals. The three-round length changes the tempo considerably, and having to stay on weight for two straight weeks isn’t something any pro would be used to.