Marcos Maidana retires: Gracias, Chino!Written by Marc Livitz
Views, angles and perspective are among the criteria we as boxing fans often throw around in regard to what makes a fighter more than just a tough guy with a puncher's chance.
Some of us prefer technical brilliance, while there are others who want nothing less than old fashioned blood and guts. The attitudes of various fighters across virtually every single weight division vary from soft spoken and quiet to business oriented and of course, all the way to pretension and false bravado. The note is made much more sour when words aren't backed up by effort in the ring or when it's done so in a boring and unappealing fashion.
This is not a feeling felt when the name of Marcos "El Chino" Maidana is mentioned in boxing circles. Maidana (35-5, 31 KO's) was last seen almost two years ago when he made the second of his two attempts at unseating Floyd Mayweather, Jr. The September 2014 contest ended without the same confusion or sadly, satisfaction that followed his first shot at the sport's best fighter just four months earlier.
There were many who thought "Chino" did enough to at least salvage a draw or perhaps even a close win in the late hours of May 3, 2014.
One thing that was certain to many was the fact that he surely ruffled the usual eye test that accompanies a Mayweather bout, which in some cases involved eyes involuntarily closing in between yawns and sighs.
He gave Floyd so much trouble that Cinco de Mayo weekend to the point of what we'd seen was enough to convince some that "Money"'s ride atop the undefeated ranks was over. It wasn't to be, but it was sufficient for many. He perhaps came closer to beating up Mayweather than actually beating him.
Earlier this week, Maidana announced his retirement. It didn't actually come as a shock to many, especially given the recent pictures of himself which didn't exactly look like a rock solid welterweight. He looked like a normal guy, only this normal guy took the millions of dollars he'd made in facing Mayweather back to his native Argentina, where it's safe to say that kind of money goes much further than it would in America.
"After a long time out of the ring and after giving it a lot of thought since my last fight I've decided to hang up the gloves for good," said Maidana in an open letter addressed to fans via social media.
"Before anything else, I must say that I leave very proud and deeply thankful to boxing and everything that I have achieved. I've really never imagined getting this far when I put on a pair of gloves for the very first time when I was 15 in my native Margarita City. I think I was able to put the name of my country Argentina very high after winning two world titles, winning and losing against the best fighters of the world."
However, friends, pugilists and fans of boxing, this article comes to praise "Chino" and not simply to quote him. Marcos Maidana looked like a mean dude. He had the tattoos to back it up and among the most interesting was that of a Colt Python which runs down his left side from rib cage to waistband. The recent photos posted across social media of a big, round and happy fellow smiling while counting his millions probably meant the pistol tatt looked more like a light anti-tank weapon, but that's neither here nor there.
Maidana fought with near exclusivity in Argentina and Germany for the bulk of his career before making a big entry onto American television screens in the summer of 2009 when he made "Vicious" Victor Ortiz quit (on the advice of a ringside physician) after suffering three knockdowns inside the first two rounds of the contest, which eventually went to six as part of an HBO telecast.
He was losing the fight, yet he never gave up and instead forced Ortiz to do so instead.
He'd rebounded from the first loss of his career four months earlier at the hands of Andriy Kotelnik by a razor thin split decision margin, after which was used by networks to hype up Kotelnik's ring potential as "the only fighter to defeat Marcos Maidana". Perhaps the brass in charge didn't realize that such a tactic likely galvanized the Argentine pummeling machine's career.
Eighteen months and three victories after the Ortiz win, Marcos likely had one of his two bouts which define his toughness and raw, savage durability and aggression in the ring. December 11, 2010. The site was Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and the opponent was then WBA super lightweight champion Amir Khan. The contest looked as if it would be over early when a perfectly placed liver shot dropped Maidana in the opening round. Per the custom, the shot took a few seconds to materialize. "El Chino" then slumped to the canvas and briefly writhed in agony, just as liver shots lead a fighter to experience. There seemed to be no way he'd get up.
The fight was over. No, it wasn't. Somehow, Maidana beat the count of referee Joe Cortez, who was likely looking forward to an easy night's work alongside a nice paycheck.
He'd have a point deducted in the fifth round for elbowing Cortez (accident or not) and although Khan's work in the early stages of the contest would earn him a close unanimous decision win, Maidana beat the pulp out of his English foe. Hellacious shots from all angles accompanied by thunderous uppercuts were what made the bout win the honors of "Fight of the Year" by the elitist clubhouse known as the Boxing Writers Association of America. If you haven't watched the bout, then by all means, check it out. The following Spring, he made a folk hero out of Erik "El Terrible" Morales in a bout which was expected to be over early due to the marauding style of the slugger from Margarita, Santa Fe, Argentina. Morales survived the full twelve rounds and gave "Chino" all he could handle and he did so with a right eye that had swollen itself shut by the second round. Many say the bout was a draw.
In addition to his battle with Amir Khan, the other bout for which he'll be long remembered is his victory over then unbeaten Adrien "The Problem" Broner. The December 2013 contest was the last of his career before the two aforementioned contests with Floyd Mayweather. The fight was televised on Showtime in the United States and the majority of those in attendance at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas left the stadium in sheer delight. Broner found himself in the ring with someone who wouldn't back down and really and truly wanted to hand him a hot dish of comeuppance. He did just that. He knocked Broner down twice and threw everything at him en route to a clear unanimous decision win. In addition to being awarded Ring Magazine's "Upset of the Year", there were many who would have loved to hand Maidana a plaque to thank him for a great service to society.
So, off he goes into the Patagonia sunset. Marcos "El Chino" Maidana, thank you.
Thanks for the great nights in the ring and the perfect bang for the buck. You'll be sorely missed. Reap the fruits of your ring labor and live well. Thanks for the memories.