If there’s one overarching sentiment that comprehensively sums up the 2010s it would be spite. Everyone is mad at someone, the planet has taken its rightful revenge on its inhabitants, and there’s a genuine shitposter in the White House. Why bother rooting for something when you can root against everything?
And look, I get it. I mean, yeah sure, liking stuff is fun but have you ever tried hating something? Like wholly and truly hating something down to the marrow in your bones and the tapeworm in your gut?
If you’re a boxing fan and you answered in the affirmative, you almost certainly did so while cracking your neck and thinking of Adrien Broner.
The Broner of today is more cautionary tale than actual fighter. A walking punchline and living lesson to younger athletes about the dangers of hubris, Broner fully squandered what little talent he had in the back half of the decade. Just over a dozen years into his “career,” it’s now unclear if he will ever fight again.
But the Broner of 2013 was a festering cauldron of repugnant dipshittery. There was the whole “side piece” debacle with Paulie Malignaggi earlier in the year followed by an Instagram video of Broner taking a shit at a Popeye’s and flushing a giant wad of his future legal fees down the toilet. Toss in the cringe-worthy, open-mic level comedy of his interviews, the continuous self-proclaimed comparisons to Floyd Mayweather and the growing dossier of lawsuits piling up outside the ring, and it started to feel like this dude was waking up every day with the singular goal of out-douching himself.
Having lived through the crest of the Mayweather wave, boxing fans were having none of it. Sadistically detailed revenge scenarios littered Twitter every time Broner fought and the deeper he reached into his bag of shitheadery, the darker they got. But if the 2010s taught us anything it’s this: Why have revenge fantasies when you can get the real thing?
Enter Marcos “Chino” Maidana.
When the two were scheduled to meet on Dec. 14, 2013, Maidana was seen as a stepping-stone for Broner on his way to future sex crime arrests and a lifetime of public humiliation bigger and better things. Known to boxing fans primarily as a tough guy, Maidana’s somewhat crude style had forced a young Victor Ortiz to quit mid-fight, but also lead to decision losses against the likes of Amir Khan, Devon Alexander and Andriy Kotelnik (who ironically lost to both Khan and Alexander in back-to-back fights after a beating Maidana in February of 2009).
What wasn’t known to the public — most notably to Broner himself — was Maidana’s propensity for almost inhuman levels of comedic barbarism. Clearly a strong-willed dude with little time for Broner’s specific brand of whimsy, Maidana was expected to hang in there, give the younger fighter some hard rounds, but ultimately lose a lopsided fight. Oh, how naïve we were back then.
From the opening bell, Maidana pressed forward as if a firehose was strapped to his back. Throwing nukes from every conceivable angle, he was a wall of semi-focused aggression, the likes of which Broner had yet to see in his short, five-year career.
With just under 20 seconds left in round 1, Maidana pushed Broner back into a corner with a jab and a short right hand to the body. As Broner ducked under a follow-up left hook from Maidana, the two fighters became entangled, butts to nuts, with Broner in the role of the big spoon. Maidana, thinking he was in with an actual adult human being with a modicum of self-respect and reverence for the rules of structured combat, used his right hand to cover the back of his head, as is the traditional response to an unconventional clinch.
Broner then did what he always had, and always would, when faced with any type of adversity: Something incredibly fucking stupid. In an eerie foreshadowing of what Broner would soon do to his own career and life in general, he reached down, put one hand on Maidana’s hip, the other across his back, and dry-fucked him in the ass.
It was intended to be a prison-rules show of dominance over a manifestly tougher opponent, but little did Broner know, with three thrusts of his hips, he had dug the grave of his own career. It was as juvenile a response to tribulation as you’ll ever see in a boxing ring, but one that almost perfectly encapsulated Broner’s psyche. Had it gone unavenged*, it would simply remain a single link in a chain of in-ring embarrassments for Broner. However, it was a mere table setting for what, in just under 40 minutes, would become the defining image of Broner’s entire career.
*Spoiler alert: It did not go unavenged*
The ensuing nine rounds are known intimately to the majority of boxing fans. Most could recount each exchange, punch for punch, from memory. The result of the fight was a mere formality by the time the championship rounds began, so comprehensive was the beatdown Maidana had administered. Brutal knockdowns in rounds 2 and 8, as well as a hilariously aborted attempt at securing a headbutt-induced disqualification on Broner’s part, should have been enough to satisfy our, and Maidana’s, bloodlust. It was a simpler time, dear reader, and we had not yet fully realized our capacity for hate.
What happened next is now the stuff of legend.
Midway through round 11, Maidana ducked his head below Broner’s shoulder and situated his right arm around his waist. Broner — whose goldfish brain can’t keep track of his litany of stupid bullshit any better than we can — had clearly forgotten about his earlier anal-themed transgression, and assumed this was a rudimentary clinch he was entering.
Maidana had not forgotten.
In one of the greatest displays of ring generalship you’re likely ever to see, Maidana positions his man exactly where wants him, places his hands on Broner’s hips and FUCKS HIS ASS.
In professional wrestling they call it a “pop.” That audible jubilation that accompanies a moment of extreme release on the part of the audience. Call it Q-rating or X-factor or whatever industry buzzword you want. This was pure catharsis. Schadenfreude on a scale-shattering level. This was the bad guy getting shot with his own gun. The roar from the crowd in attendance slowly swelled to deafening levels as the reality of what they just witnessed hit them. Revenge is rarely packaged this neatly, this uncut, fully ready for public consumption.
Upon realizing what happened, Broner threw a lazy right hand over his shoulder in an attempt to mitigate the damage, but it only served to pour gasoline on the bonfire of his humiliation. This was the dawn of the gif era, and Broner was now etched into stone, for all of eternity, on the wrong side of the most satisfying display of revenge porn ever displayed. Before the fight even ended, three-second clips of his comeuppance were now being passed around social media like STD’s at Mar-A-Lago, and Broner had only his petulance to blame.
For a man who thrives on unwarranted ego, this was nothing short of a public crucifixion.
Broner would go on to lose by scores of 115-110, 116-109 and 117-109. He would continue to fight on, but for all intents and purposes his career as a serious prizefighter ended the second Maidana vengefully dug his groin into the crack of Broner’s ass. Multiple losses, retirements, suicide threats and arrests would follow, and they can all be traced back to that moment in the 11th round when one man’s capacity for theatrical payback would define an entire decade.
Maidana would go on to cash two Brink’s trucks worth of checks in fights with Floyd Mayweather and retire a hero shortly after. If boxing is a physical manifestation of our deepest carnal desires — for violence, competition and, yes, revenge — then Maidana is arguably the most important fighter of his generation.
We’re seven years removed from this night and it feels like the legend is still growing. As younger generations discover the butt hump it will most certainly join The Long Count, The Phantom Punch and The Fan Man in the annals of boxing lore.
In the 2010s, Adrien Broner taught us to hate again. A corporeal manifestation of all our pent-up frustrations and daily annoyances.
With two thrusts of his crotch, Marcos Maidana made it all go away. For one night at least, our consciences were wiped clean.
It was unquestionably the most satisfying thing to happen in a boxing ring in the 2010s, and an easy pick for Boxing Moment of the Decade.
(Photo by Edward A. Ornelas / San Antonio Express-News)