Maidana’s Moment

Marcos Maidana, by all accounts, shouldn’t be here. He hasn’t earned his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. they say, being chosen because of his increased marketability given his win over Adrien Broner and the little threat posed rather than accomplishments within the ring. It would be a fool who thought any of this matters to Maidana.

He isn’t the type of fighter who needs his ego regularly coddled. He doesn’t necessarily believe in his skill so much as the will he imposes on his opponents. His slugging style, very much a trademark, has never been a secret and very rarely does he deviate from it. But it has proven near impossible for the vast majority of his opponents to mount a defense against it.

It can be likened to trying to not get hit by a train. It doesn’t matter if you see it coming, when it’s too late it’s too late. Dazed, stunned and confused you’ve been left battered. Adrien Broner discovered as much this past December. Despite claiming an affinity with the highly skilled Floyd Mayweather, boasting about a link between the two’s skill sets, that wasn’t what was displayed in the ring.

The cute, pot shot style of Broner was exposed. The shoulder roll defense requires a skilled practitioner for it to be done correctly and Broner wasn’t that guy. It’s one thing to see someone else do it, a whole other thing to utilize it yourself. Maidana, very much the B side to the fight, made it look easy against Broner.

The Argentinean is, after all, use to being the B side, the also ran. The guy who you put on your card for the slugfest that is sure to ensue, or the guy you use as a building block for one of your star fighters. He’s played that role against Devon Alexander and Amir Khan previously, being outclassed by both. The Broner fight was supposed to be continuing that streak.

Maidana very clearly had other plans. He’s not the sort of fighter to take fights for the money, expecting to lose by having a cheque to cash at the end of it. He’s been adamant in the buildup to the Mayweather fight thus far that he didn’t take the fight simply for a payday. He legitimately believes, regardless of what most experts think, that he can beat Mayweather.

It’s that sort of attitude that’s served the slugger so well throughout his career. When he met Victor Ortiz in June 2009, Ortiz was very much the rising star of Golden Boy Promotions. Richard Schaefer and Oscar de la Hoya thought they had the next Golden Boy in Ortiz.

Golden Boy is constantly in search of the Next One. After de la Hoya hung them up, it was Ortiz. Right now the title lies with Canelo Alvarez. The check’s practically cash themselves when you find a Mexican or Mexican-American slugger with a million dollar smile.

The Maidana fight was supposed to be the next step in building that star. After Ortiz put him down twice within the first two rounds, things look like they were going according to plan. But Marcos Maidana doesn’t know when he’s beat. He went on to brutalize Ortiz until the fight was stopped in the 6th round. Ortiz didn’t think he should have to take that kind of punishment. You can almost understand where he’s coming from.

He went on to meet Amir Khan in November 2010 and showed that he only needs one punch. Having gone down in the first round, Maidana trailed for most of the fight. But after hurting Khan in the 10th, he was like a predator hunting down his wounded prey. Khan has to keep his distance to close out the fight and leave with the win.

When it was announced he would be meeting the legendary Erik Morales, there was serious concern for the well being of “El Terrible” given the power of Maidana. This was a proud warrior, a man who’d been in a number of brutal wars throughout his career, and fight fans around the world were worried for his health in mixing it up with “El Chino”. Such the legend had grown.

If you listen to most journalists, most trainers, most of the experts in the fight game Marcos Maidana is going to be an easy payday come May 3rd. Amir Khan is considered to be much more of a threat for “Money” Mayweather, and the fans made it clear in the buildup to the announcing of an opponet they’d rather see Khan. But what they got might be all the more intriguing.

Maidana, on paper, is hardly a threat to Mayweather. His style is exactly what Floyd loves to come up against. He’s made a career of making sluggers look pedestrian. The power doesn’t even come into play in most of these contests because Mayweather so rarely gets hit.

The X Factor in all this is the desire of Maidana. This is the biggest fight of his career, and most probably the only chance he receives at PPV level. He has nothing to lose. No one cared before, no one can care after. But with the entire world doubting him it just might serve to fuel the fire that takes him to the next level.

Everything is going to have to come together on May 3rd for him. It will take a perfect storm of circumstance and chance to leave the ring victorious. But the most beautiful thing about sport is that can say often happen. No one would deserve it more than El Chino.

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