• Steve Bunce

Maidana falls on wrong side of rematch heaven and hell

Steve Bunce January 14, 2014
Marcos Maidana had Adrien Broner on the run in their first fight last month © Getty Images

Poor Marcos Maidana must be wondering what he has to do to get a big fight on his terms and not be at the mercy of big promoters, managers and fighters with giant egos.

In December, Maidana handed Adrien Broner a one-sided beating that nobody fully expected. Broner was the golden-boy-in-waiting, the talker, the fighter and the fool in equal measure; Maidana spanked him, dropping him twice and cheering as Broner fled the ring like the startled victim of a particularly vicious mugging.

Broner was incredibly brave, taking his licks without moaning too much and fighting back to make it an unexpected slugfest. Now, it looks like Broner, who entered the ring as the unbeaten WBA welterweight champion, has decided that he wants to do it all again. It is a decision that will remove Maidana from the list of potential opponents that Floyd Mayweather considers each day; it is a list that is known in boxing as the Mayweather Sweepstakes because of the cash sums available to the lucky winner.

Buncey's Vaults

Michael Moorer celebrates his shock win over Evander Holyfield © AP
  • In April 1994, I went to Johnny Tocco's Ringside Gym in Las Vegas, a few days before the first Evander Holyfield v Michael Moorer fight. The Las Vegas gym had not changed since Sonny Liston trained there in the Sixties.
  • Tocco, who was 83 at the time, loved Liston. "I tried to ring him, we were due to go out New Year's Eve," Tocco told me. Liston was found dead on January 5, 1971. "I think he had some kind of convulsion, like a stroke," Tocco added.
  • Mike Tyson had trained at the gym and Tocco was not happy: "They ruined a wonderful fighter."
  • Tocco watched Teddy Atlas working with Moorer. "He [Moorer] tries to be malicious but he isn't," said Tocco 'chewing on a sodden cigar.' The next night Moorer shocked Holyfield to win the heavyweight world title.
  • Reported in The Daily Telegraph, April 21, 1994

Maidana has quite correctly pointed out to people that when he narrowly lost on points to Amir Khan, in a fantastic world title fight in Las Vegas in 2010, all of his calls for a rematch were ignored. Well, he never had the ability to invoke a rematch, something that Khan hopefully had built into his contract for that fight.

Maidana has just not had the luck and his manager, Sebastian Contursi, has made it clear that he is not happy with the rematch. The truth is that Maidana is locked into the fight and he will, make no mistake, leave the ring with a tidy sum.

Broner had been expected to drop to light-welter or take an easier fight at welter and it has to be said that asking for Maidana is a bold, bold move. If Maidana beats him again then Broner has a long, long way to go to get back to the money and the position that he has enjoyed for a couple of years in the sport. Barry Jones, talking in this week's podcast, is convinced that Maidana will do it all over again. I'm not as convinced.

There are no laws attached to rematches, no science to dictate what happens when two boxers fight again. Some rematches end exactly the way that the original fight finished, others unfold in a drastically different way and the loser from the first fight can triumph in style. I tend to think that good boxers, men with real skills, can lose the first fight but win the next fight and probably, if it happens, take the third fight. I have a feeling Broner wins the rematch by making the fight less exciting, more practical. Think Sugar Ray Leonard against Roberto Duran II, but without the prospect of one man declaring 'No Mas'.

The second fight will be in April, possibly back in Texas, and I just hope I'm wrong and that Maidana can once again make it a memorable scrap, a rematch for the ages and one that leaves the winner in a very, very powerful position. If the loser is Maidana then he will do what he has done before after defeats and fight anybody, anywhere; if Broner wins then I'm not sure that I could stomach his gloating.

Broner is right when he insists that since the loss most of the talk is about his defeat and not Maidana's victory. Boxing is never fair but it just seems that Maidana has far more bad luck than good luck.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.