Marcos Maidana has officially announced he's hanging up the gloves. He was a fiery brawler, an unforgettable fighter and a true legend of the sport.
In the future, tales will be told of a fighter from Santa Fe, Argentina. A man of few words with a warrior's heart who gave everything in the ring. This can be said of Carlos Monzon, but it also depicts another world class fighter in Maidana. It's not about establishing comparisons or going back in history, but we can't fail to mention a great when talking about greats.
In the birth of a new century, Argentine boxing was reborn internationally. From Omar Narvaez to Juan Carlos Reveco, to fighters the likes of Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez and Lucas Matthysse, came hope of the grandeur and prestige once tasted through great fighters such as Monzon, Victor Galindez, "Latigo" Coggi, Julio Cesar Vasquez, Pascual Perez and, of course, Nicolino Locche.
There was, however, a distinctive name: Maidana, "El Chino," the man from Margarita, a small town in the province of Santa Fe.
After a European campaign that led him to a world title shot on Feb. 7, 2009 (a loss by decision to Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA junior welterweight title), Maidana started competing in North America working with Golden Boy Promotions.
This is not the time to get into some ill-advised management decisions. This is a time to remember that he found the right man at the right time. Sebastian Contursi took over Marcos Maidana's representation and took him to the next level.
Maidana did his part, too. He brought explosiveness, rock solid punches, a steel jaw, a giant heart and the tenacity of a true warrior. From then on, the rest was done by his work against his opponents.
His great bout with Victor Ortiz for the interim WBA junior welterweight title in June 2009 was the Fight of the Year and a key moment in Maidana's career. Ortiz came into the bout ticketed for stardom by Oscar de la Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions and precisely because of his links with Golden Boy, Maidana came into the bout way down on the experts' labeling Ortiz as the big favorite.
The result was an explosive fight with knockdowns by both fighters until Ortiz finally gave up. Ortiz, severely wounded, practically turned his back on the fight in the sixth round.
We won't mention his fights one by one, but he did have a wild duel with Amir Khan in December 2010, a true battle of wills with Erik Morales for the interim WBA welterweight title on April 9, 2011 and the night he broke down Josesito Lopez, on practically one leg. And we can't forget the knockout against Jesus Soto Karass in September 2012.
With Sebastian Contursi by his side, Maidana accepted every fight with the same determination. He endured long training camps in California, away from his family.
"Once fighters have recognition, they are rarely open to advice or change," said Robert Garcia, one of his main trainers. "Instead, Maidana takes every lesson with humility and desire to learn."
There are two opponents who will be forever marked by fire in Maidana's career, and in the memories and hearts of his fans: Adrien Broner and Floyd Mayweather.
Broner was presenting himself as the new Mayweather, the great figure of the future. Arrogant, talented and exceptional at marketing and self-promotion, he was poised to keep growing and succeeding.
That was until he collided with Maidana. Or better said, until Maidana crashed into him.
It was in San Antonio, Texas, in December 2013 where Maidana not only won the WBA world welterweight championship from Bronzer, but much more than that. He won with emotion, drama, ecstasy and clarity. The image of Broner, walking slowly toward an ambulance, was representative of the fight, considered the surprise of the year.
He won people's admiration, especially from the Latino fans. And he earned a fight with Mayweather.
No one will forget what happened in that first confrontation against Mayweather on May 3, 2014, because nobody has ever hit Mayweather so much. Maidana harassed him, hit him, pushed him, made the MGM roar and put on such a show that Floyd himself, when everything was over, was the first to congratulate him.
The rematch took place on Sept. 13 and it was Maidana's last bout. At 33, with a record of 35-5 (31 by knockout) Maidana walks away from boxing. As he exits, a whole era will be gone and leaves fresh nostalgia for the Argentine people who gathered to palpitate, suffer, thrill, celebrate and believe during each fight.
On the day the history of Argentine boxing will be written, Maidana will surely have a special chapter. One that could be simply called: MAIDANA, THE WARRIOR OF ALL OF US.