SAN ANTONIO – Just a little more than three hours before his welterweight title defense Saturday night, Adrien "The Problem" Broner was in the lobby of the Marriott Rivercenter hotel, being, well, Adrien Broner.
He was with his entourage, yelling, laughing, preening, and was relaxed as could be. It was as if he didn't have a care in the world.
As it turns out, "The Problem" had a world of problems.
Marcos Maidana bullied Broner, outpunching him, outworking him, knocking him down twice and taking his WBA welterweight title via unanimous decision in a tremendous bout before a crowd of 11,312 at the Alamodome.
The official scoring was 115-110, 116-109, 117-109 for Maidana.
Maidana knocked down Broner in the second and eighth rounds and was the aggressor throughout the fight. But the knockouts weren't the worst part of Broner's performance. Near the end of the opening round, as the fighters clinched in the corner, Broner slipped around Maidana and got behind him. Broner then proceeded to grab Maidana by the waist and do something a little more appropriate for a bedroom or a seedy dance floor, mimicking a sexual motion. He later got pelted with boos from the crowd after landing a hard punch to Maidana's face well after the bell at the end of the 11th round.
And perhaps those acts sum up Broner – immature, ill-mannered, and a poor substitute for the real thing.
It's no secret that Broner wants to follow the path of his friend, Floyd Mayweather Jr. He can talk like Mayweather, walk like Mayweather and try to provide the flash like Mayweather, but he clearly isn't Mayweather in the ring. That was more than apparent Saturday.
"He was the better man for tonight," said Broner, who didn't speak to reporters after the bout but talked to Showtime after its broadcast ended. "But I'm still A.B. – Always Ballin'. We're still going to live like we won the fight. I'm still gonna party and still gonna have fun."
If only Broner had shown that much spark during the first half of the fight, when he seemingly couldn't handle Maidana's bull-rushes and simply didn’t throw any punches. He clutched and grabbed instead. He tried to dodge shots along the ropes, but his shoulder-roll defense – a Mayweather staple – wasn't effective as he was hammered by left hooks to the head from Maidana (35-3-0, 31 KOs).
Maidana, 30, worked the body throughout the bout, landing 101 total body shots, according to CompuBox, and it had an obvious effect on Broner. Maidana also threw 964 punches to Broner's 400.
"I did this hard work to get to this spot, so this win was very satisfying for me," Maidana said through a translator. "My plan was to win with heart, and I just kept going forward.
"Every time I landed a punch, I felt I hurt him."
He definitely hurt Broner (27-1, 22 KOs) in the eighth, dropping him with a left hook that signaled the beginning of what would become a wild round. During a clinch from Broner, which was a common tactic for him throughout the fight, Maidana launched his head up and struck Broner in the chin. It was an obvious foul and a point was deducted from Maidana. Broner, 24, proceeded to collapse to the canvas, rolling to the corner in apparent agony. He eventually made it to his feet, but continued to put on a display of pain and suffering that didn’t seem fit for a man who makes a living trading punches.
"The fight was a dirty fight, so I had to play dirty too," Maidana said of the headbutt to the chin.
It was a raucous affair. It was brutal, exhilarating, a fight-of-the-year candidate. It was so good, so raw, would they consider doing it again?
"I tell you one thing: make a rematch," Broner said. "I don’t need a warmup fight. I want a rematch. … He fought a hell of a fight. We can rematch it at any time."
Maidana agreed: " I have no problems with a rematch."
It was just one of many things Maidana didn't have a problem with. The same, of course, can’t be said for Broner.
Keith Thurman vs. Jesus Soto Karass
Hard-hitting Keith Thurman battered Jesus Soto Karass throughout their Interim WBA welterweight title bout, finally stopping Soto Karass with a brutal barrage of punches at 2:21 of the ninth round.
It wasn't easy though for Thurman, who was rocked in the opening round by a big winging right hand from Soto Karass. Thurman (22-0-0, 20 KOs) was stunned but managed to stay on his feet and finished the round effectively.
"A hell of a fighter and he showed he had a chin," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said. "I don't think anybody [at 147 pounds] can beat Keith Thurman."
Thurman knocked down Soto Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs) with a short left hook in the fifth, and the challenger was genuinely stunned. But he rose and fought gamely, his face bloody and swollen, until the stoppage.
"It was a wakeup call for me," Thurman said of nearly getting knocked down in the first round. "But I was good on my power and knew it was a matter of time."
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Cesar Seda
Leo Santa Cruz continued to prove why he is a crowd favorite with his aggressive style and volume punching, winning a unanimous decision against a game Cesar Seda to retain his WBC super bantamweight title.
Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KOs) was the more accurate puncher, landing combinations and dictating the tempo by throwing 829 punches, nearly 200 more than Seda (649), according to CompuBox. Although not known as a defensive wonder, Santa Cruz did a nice job of blocking Seda's punches and effectively applying pressure, knocking down Seda in the fifth round.
He was shaking his right hand throughout the latter half of the fight, when he seemed to slow the pace and ease off the pedal a bit, but he certainly didn't stop throwing.
"I wanted to give the fans of San Antonio a better fight than tonight," Santa Cruz said, perhaps disappointed he couldn’t get a stoppage, "but I have no problems with my hand."
The ringside judges scored it 116-111, 115-112, 117-110 for Santa Cruz.
With the loss, Ceda dropped to 25-1-1 with 17 KOs.