Marcos "Chino" Maidana officially announced his retirement on Tuesday following months of hints over social media.
Maidana's pure grittiness and unerring determination made him one of boxing's most beloved competitors. During his ten-year career, the Margarita City, Argentina, native earned two world titles to compliment a record of dazzling battles.
In a Facebook post to his "boxing friends," Maidana said: "After a long time out of the rings and after giving it a lot of thinking since my last fight I've decided to hang up the gloves for good. Probably my decision would not surprise much as I had given hints of it in the last few months. But at this time I am making it official."
Maidana hadn't fought since 2014 following a double-header against the unbeaten Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. In their first contest, Maidana troubled Mayweather Jr. in the early rounds before the American eventually found his groove and eked out majority decision with scores of 114-114, 117-111 and 116-112.
The second fight—Maidana's last—was a lot more one-sided. Money maintained the positive momentum garnered from their first bout and won a relatively one-sided affair via unanimous decision with scores of 115-112 and 116-111 twice.
However, in the third round, Maidana did land one of his wild right hands on the chin of Money's, which sent him staggering back into the ropes. Unfortunately for the Argentine, the shot landed just seconds before the bell rung. It was a punch powerful enough to almost cause an upset which would have sent shockwaves across the sporting world transcending boxing. But, alas, it wasn't to be.
Maidana's statement, however, does suggest he's hanging his gloves up with no regrets—he had simply lost the fire that fuelled him for all 40 of his professional fights. "Before anything else, I must say that I leave very proud and deeply thankful to boxing and everything that I have achieved," said Chino. "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.
"I had a tough career and I fulfilled many of my dreams. I am a very happy man with my family and friends by my side these days. I know many of you think that I still have things to do and battles to fight. And I respect them. That is something that I had in my mind in the last few months. But only those who really know what a real challenge is, like the ones I always had, may understand that you have to be absolutely motivated to approach them.
"Only through a great physical and mental effort you can mix in the ring with best of the world if winning is your goal. And I always wanted to win. Today I do not feel motivated enough, do not have the fire inside me to intend to climb those mountains again. That is why I announce my retirement."
In Maidana's 10-year run, he won the WBA super lightweight title and the WBA welterweight belt—latterly from Cincinnati, Ohio's, Adrien Broner in one of the most exciting fights seen this decade.
In his third-to-last fight, Maidana faced the then-unbeaten Broner on December 14th, 2013. A 3-1 underdog, Maidana shocked the world by winning a unanimous decision. Broner had been left relatively unscathed before that night, but Maidana floored Broner twice while on his way to victory and cemented his spot as one of the most fan-friendly fighters of this present boxing era.
It's no wonder why Maidana was popular. Despite the two knockdowns against Broner, Chino often finished his opponents with a fearsome regularity about it—exemplified with his record. The orthodox Argentine won 31 of his 35 wins by knockout, losing five.
Maidana even lost in exciting fashion. Chino's fight against British boxer Amir Khan is another one of the stellar contests from recent years. Khan had Maidana crumpled to the canvas following a brutal left hook to the liver in the first round. But, Maidana recovered to take the fight to the later rounds. Those later rounds almost sealed the win for Maidana, who pressured Khan in the latter stages of the fight. Khan somehow withstood a barrage of devastating punches from Maidana in the tenth round and Bolton, England, native Khan managed to cling on in the final two rounds to earn a narrow unanimous decision victory and clinch the WBA super lightweight title. The fight garnered the Fight of the Year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America and plaudits from the world over.
He may be retiring from competition, but Maidana will not be leaving the sport altogether. In his statement, Chino expressed his desire to mentor his emerging stable of young fighters under the Team Maidana banner.
"At this time, I start a new stage in which I will remain close to boxing, advising and unconditionally supporting "Team Maidana", aiming for new generations to reach the highest levels," Maidana told his followers. "I will be there for our world champion Jesús Cuellar. For new great prospects like Brian Castaño, my brother Fabián Maidana, Alan Castaño, who are already making some noise internationally. For Javier Maciel. Also I will be there for the new kids like Neri Romero and Luis Verón. And most likely I will be there for many others who will join us along the road looking for great challenges. My goal is to pass the baton over to them now."
If the fighters of Team Maidana are anything like their mentor, boxing will be in an exciting place for years to come.