- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former junior welterweight and welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana has for years been one of boxing's most exciting fighters, so it has been a real bummer that the Argentine slugger has been on the sidelines for nearly a year.
Think of all the good fights he'd be in the mix for, including against fellow Al Haymon-fighters Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Robert Guerrero or rematches with Amir Khan or Adrien Broner.
And imagine the kind of fights we might see if Haymon and Top Rank/HBO did business together: Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley Jr., Ruslan Provodnikov, Terence Crawford or Lucas Matthysse (the all-Argentine collision I've been dying to see for years).
Of course, in 2014 Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs), 32, made big money in a pair of decision defeats to Floyd Mayweather and has been in no hurry to get back in the ring.
"Marcos definitely wants a big name. He says it's all about motivation so we back him up 100 percent," manager Sebastian Contursi told ESPN.com.
Motivation has been hard to come by for Maidana, who nonetheless, is "thinking of going back to California [to trainer Robert Garcia's Oxnard gym] in late August or early September in order to start training and see how feels for a possible comeback before the end of the year," Contursi said.
Since his high-profile fights with Mayweather and those big paydays, Maidana has been taking it easy in Argentina.
"I spend most of the time with my family in my hometown," Maidana told an Argentina radio station recently in remarks Contursi translated for ESPN.com. "I get some rest and do things that I couldn't do before. I try to enjoy myself as much as I can. I've started riding a bike and training lightly to keep myself in shape."
Motivation is the hard part, however, Maidana said.
"Yes, purses are always important but I care more about the will to fight rather than purses," Maidana told the radio station. "I have to be motivated and it's not easy at this point for me. I've made very good purses in the last few fights. I have to see against who. It has to be someone that motivates me. [Contursi] mentioned [Andre] Berto, Broner, Guerrero and Porter for instance.
"I respect every fighter but I've lost motivation after the Mayweather fights. But I will start training and see how I feel because any of those names are very good boxers and I have to be in top shape to face them."
Hopefully, Maidana will find the motivation to fight again because boxing is more fun when he is in the ring letting those heavy hands fly.