SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Argentine slugger Marcos "El Chino" Maidana stole the show-and the WBA Welterweight World Championship-on an action-packed night of world championship boxing on SHOWTIME Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The 30-year-old former 140-pound world champion was supposed to be a "test" for rising star Adrien "The Problem" Broner's budding career. And test him he did, right from the opening bell.
Broner was stunned in the first exchange and Maidana poured it on. He overwhelmed the champion for two straight rounds, scoring a knockdown in the second and forcing Broner back on unsteady legs.
By the third, Broner settled into his game and the fight was on.
"High drama in the Lone Star State," bellowed SHOWTIME Sports play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo in the middle rounds of what is sure to be a late entry for Fight of the Year.
Broner had his moments in the fight, but Maidana won the day by throwing from tricky angles and consistently landing a punishing left hook.
"Maidana's awkward ways are working in his favor," said ringside analyst, and world-class welterweight, Paul Malignaggi during the bout. "Broner is getting hit with shots from different angles. Shots that he would not normally get hit with."
In a thrilling eighth, Maidana landed a series of lethal blows including a final left hook that sent Broner wobbling to the canvas for a second time. In the next exchange, Broner tied up Maidana for a few moments before Maidana uncorked a head butt into the chin of the champion."
Referee Lawrence Cole deducted a point for the foul negating Maidana's knockdown adding an additional layer of drama to the close fight. But in the end, Maidana had distanced himself on all three scorecards to win a unanimous decision and wrest the crown from Broner.
After the scores were announced, 117-109, 116-109 and 115-110, Broner immediately vacated the ring and made his way back to his dressing room.
After the bout, ringside reporter Barry Tompkins asked Maidana about comments earlier in the week, that Broner had never faced anyone like him. "The truth is, I've never fought someone like [Broner]," said the new two-division champion via SHOWTIME Sports translator Felix De Jesus. "And the truth is it was a great fight."
Regarding the game plan coming in, Maidana said, "The plan was to fight any which way we can do it and we won."
Regarding the rematch: "Yes. No problem."
Maidana improved his record to 35-3 (31 KOs) and is now 2-2 in world championship fights and can now lay claim as the world's best welterweight not named Floyd Mayweather.