After nearly five years out of the ring, Marcos ‘El Chino’ Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) is set to return to boxing. The last time he fought was in a losing effort against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs). The fight was a rematch of their fight that took place in 2013.
Maidana announced his return in a social media post, where he called out the likes of Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) and Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs). The Pacquiao fight makes a lot more sense as Maidana also signed a deal with PBC which is set to net him $1.5 million for his first fight at junior middleweight/middleweight. It is no secret that Maidana has been enjoying his retirement as he’s looked vastly overweight on social media. Now, at 35 years of age, Maidana’s return to the sport of boxing is a mysterious one. The list of potential opponents seems to be a long one as well. Here are the best candidates for Chino to face.
Middleweight: Willie Monroe Jr.
Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe Jr. (23-3, 6 KOs) is an opponent that would make sense should it be the case that Maidana’s weight gain forces him to return at middleweight for his first fight. Although naturally bigger than Maidana, Monroe is not a huge middleweight, standing at 5’10. He is also not a huge puncher as he only has 6 knockouts in 23 wins. Politics-wise, Monroe Jr. has fought against PBC fighters in the past and was recently scheduled to face Jermall Charlo on PBC on Fox, so that shouldn’t get in the way of making this fight happen. Although this wouldn’t be the flashiest fight possible for Maidana, it would be against a game opponent that would allow Maidana to return at a more comfortable weight.
The Welterweights: Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner
Danny “Swift” Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) is also a possible opponent for Maidana, should the Argentine make his way back to 147 pounds. Garcia has a fight scheduled against Adrian “Tigre” Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs), and should he get past him, a fight with Maidana would make sense. Garcia tends to take several fights against less-than-elite competition before stepping up in competition. Maidana, at 35 years old and retired for 5 years, fits the bill. It would be a a big name Garcia could add to his resume, but it is also a big opportunity for Maidana. Garcia, despite losing against Porter and Thurman, is still among the top fighters in the welterweight division. A win over him immediately puts Maidana back in the mix for a potential title shot.
Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) is one of the biggest fights possible for Marcos Maidana. It is also a realistic one. Pacquiao is now under the PBC banner and recently beat Adrien Broner to win the ‘regular’ WBA title. With Maidana also signing to PBC, this matchup becomes very possible. Both fighters can be considered from the ‘previous’ era where Maidana and Pacquiao were involved in some of the biggest fights in the sport. Now, with both clearly past their absolute prime, it is a match-up that makes sense.
Would Marcos Maidana deserve a title shot at 147 pounds, should he win his first return fight at 154/160 pounds? Definitely not, but this is boxing. Maidana is still a big name, and Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) has made it clear he will not unnecessarily rush into any fights against elite competition until he feels the time is right. Maidana would be a big fight for Thurman, without being as big of a risk as the current welterweight elite. Of course, the fight would also be a massive opportunity for Maidana. Should he win the WBA title from Thurman, he would set himself up for more big fights against the other PBC welterweights.
Adrien “The Problem” Broner, a.k.a. AB (33-4-1, 24 KOs). This would be a highly anticipated rematch fight, due to the history between Maidana and Broner. The two fighters faced off back in 2013, when Broner was undefeated and highly expected to win. Maidana was having none of it as he dropped Broner twice to capture the WBA world title, in one of the biggest fights of the year. Flash forward 6 years, and Broner has had a solid career but hasn’t reached the heights that were expected, and Maidana is making a comeback after five years away from the sport. A match between the two would create lots of buzz that wouldn’t normally happen between fighters in their positions. It would give Broner an opportunity at redemption, and it would allow Maidana a chance to show he still has a lot left in the tank, as well as set up a bigger fight down the stretch.
Marcos Maidana is back. We’ve seen boxers come back time and time again and only be a shell of their former selves. It is very possible that Maidana gets added to that list, but it is also possible Maidana reminds everyone why he was one of the most exciting fighters before he retired. A match against any of the PBC welterweights will surely generate a lot of buzz, its simply a matter of who gets the call first.