Fight Pick & Preview – Broner vs. Maidana:
On December 14, rising star Adrien Broner makes the first defense of his WBA Welterweight crown against former 140-pound titleholder Marcos Maidana. Broner, 24, has been getting positioned as a future star for the past few years and is on the precipice of really big fights. Maidana, meanwhile, has enjoyed a good past year or so, with stoppages over Jesus Soto-Karass and Josesito Lopez.
- Date: December 14, 2013
- Site: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
- Weight Class: WBA Welterweight Championship
Adrien Broner, 27-0 (22 KOs), Cincinnati, Ohio, WBA Welterweight Champion
Marcos Maidana, 34-3 (31 KOs), Buenos Aires, Argentina
I think it’s important to make the distinction between Broner the hype machine and Broner the actual fighter, as a gap may exist between those two realities. On one hand, he is a fighter with gobs of talent, is undefeated, and has made easy work of some pretty decent fighters. On the other hand, he was lucky the decision went his way in his last fight against Paul Malignaggi and he has taken the potentially-disastrous stand of acting like a superstar before actually achieving superstardom.
For a 24-year-old looking to make moves in this sport, you’d like to see more ambition. The way he fought Malignaggi was that sort of understated effort you’d more commonly see with an established superstar. He needs a little personality adjustment. First you smash a bunch of people, then you can start giving these measured performances. For him to leave a “could go either way” decision in the hands of the judges shows a startling lack of understanding his position in this business. It appeared he had the talent to get some separation from Malignaggi, but he didn’t.
Another issue of concern is how Broner appears to balloon up between fights. In recent sightings at ringside and in the announcement of this fight, Broner looked downright chubby. He’s still only 24 and is not yet fighting the absolute elite, so maybe he can get away with it for now. It’s just disconcerting to see an unestablished 24-year-old being such a diva already. But make no mistake, Broner is an exceptionally-gifted fighter.
Maidana, 30, appeared to be ebbing after a decision over Erik Morales that was too close for comfort and a lopsided defeat to Devon Alexander. He then changed camps and is part of the Robert Garcia team in Oxnard. The change has provided a sheen of consummate professionalism to Maidana that has really given his boxing a big boost.
Perhaps Malignaggi, though far less dangerous and hard-hitting than Maidana, was a bad style match-up for Broner. Going against the more straight-ahead Maidana will be more up Broner’s alley. Maidana, however, has adapted more boxing into his repertoire over the past couple years. While still a slugger at heart, he is fairly adept at long-range boxing and is a little longer than the squat Broner.
With Maidana, we know what we’re getting–a durable and hard-slugging battler who fits in well with just about everyone from 140-147 pounds. His only conclusive defeat was to Alexander, as his other losses to Andriy Kotelnik and Amir Khan were close affairs. The real question mark is Broner. There have been fights where he looks like a budding superstar, particularly against Antonio DeMarco. But no one will ever convince me he beat Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2011 and he barely edged Malignaggi, a fighter who has been beaten resoundingly by guys like Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton.
Then again, he is only 24 and the Malignaggi fight was his first fight after jumping two weight classes to welterweight. Perhaps one shouldn’t be too harsh in an appraisal of Broner at this juncture. Some of the signs are troubling, but he remains a versatile fighter of extreme confidence who can do everything in the ring. With his compact build, he also has the air of durability, which should help him against the heavy-handed Maidana.
Broner vs. Maidana Prediction
Maybe Broner is a guy who can be outworked or made to look ordinary against lightning-fast slicksters like Malignaggi. Maidana, while a hard worker in the ring, should be an easier stylistic matchup for Broner. Maidana has boxing skills, but it’s difficult to imagine him outboxing Broner over any kind of long period. And in punching exchanges, it will be Broner’s punches that are showier. He is also shifty enough to make Maidana miss when things get heated, while Maidana’s defense is more of an afterthought.
Maidana can make it difficult for Broner with his power, pride, ruggedness, and experience. Broner just has a deeper bag of weapons. The problem is that “The Problem” doesn’t always bring the full scope of his talents to the surface. A similar underachieving performance to the one he provided against Malignaggi could give Maidana a chance. A more likely result is one where Broner out-skills Maidana over a 12-round distance.
Prediction: Adrien Broner wins by unanimous decision.