0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The sport of boxing admittedly doesn’t
hold the nation’s spotlight like it once did, but, even so, it seems
this city hasn’t fully embraced the fact that one of its own might be on
his way to being the best fighter on the planet.
by Paul Smyth
Posted In: Boxing
at 12:37 PM | Permalink
Cincinnati's Adrien "The Problem" Broner won the fight Saturday night, but he lost the title.
Broner, contracted to defend his WBO Junior Lightweight
title (130 pounds) against Vicente Escobedo on Saturday in a fight
broadcast nationally on HBO, failed to make weight, coming in more than
three pounds heavy.
The undefeated Broner automatically lost his title, while
Escobedo, who faced more risk fighting the heavier Broner, had the
option to cancel the fight. After negotiating substantial additions to
his share of the purse, Escobedo agreed to proceed.
No longer a title fight, the 12-round bout began with a pattern Broner continued throughout the night: jabbing
low to the body early each round, then mixing his punches — crosses,
hooks and uppercuts with both hands — with jabs higher up. Broner struck
at first in single or a few shots, but increasingly unleashed torrents
of hard shots with speed and power in both hands throughout the first
Both men landed punches, but Broner landed significantly
more jabs and the more telling power shots. For four rounds Escobedo
stayed in the center of the ring with Broner, though faring worse in the
At the end of the fourth round, both men headed back to their corners. Broner
gave Escobedo a long look then told his trainer, "I'm going to walk him
down." Calm in his corner, Broner remained sitting until the final
moment when the bell signaled the beginning of the round.
Broner's pace and intensity ratcheted up. The battered
Escobedo barely forced his way off the ropes through a barrage of
punches, circling not Broner but the whole ring, his back to the ropes.
The final, measured attack saw Escobedo bent double, nose
bloodied, unable to respond to Broner's attack. The referee halted the
bout in the fifth round as Escobedo's corner threw in the towel.
"It was time to open up," Broner said after the fight. "I
was opening up every round, getting closer and closer. He's a world
class fighter who has a chance win a world title one day, but today was
not his day."
"I felt his power. He's fast and hard to hit," Escobedo said. "I did my job and came in here like a professional and he didn't. That's the past, and he was the better man tonight."
For Broner, the TKO victory means he can explore bigger
possibilities in higher weight classes as an unbeaten, phenomenally
skilled, yet only modestly, tested pound-for-pound candidate.
Broner's trainer Mike Stafford said Broner "can be
comfortable at 135; he can be comfortable at 140. But right now, we're
going to . We're not going up two weight classes because we don't
Broner, who previously has said he might go as high as
154, said, "The task only gets bigger from here, going to lighweight.
We'll give them all hell: [Antonio] DeMarco can be next, after that,
[Juan Manuel] Marquez, [Brandon] Rios ... anybody."
Broner's failure to make weight on Friday has been
criticized by many and interpreted to reflect his attitude toward life
both in and outside the ring. It's too soon and the situation too
complex — networks, promoters, pundits, the fighters and camps are all
in play — to reach definitive conclusions about how Broner will continue
to develop as a person and a fighter.
In the meantime, the measured approach of Broner and his
team gives him the best chance to demonstrate possibly elite skills
against more challenging competition.
Three other Cincinnati-area fighters on the undercard won
their bouts Saturday night, including middlewight Chris Pearson, junior
lightweight Brandon Bennett and heavyweight Danny Calhoun.
by Paul Smyth
Posted In: Boxing
at 10:01 AM | Permalink
Westwood resident will defend Junior Lightweight World Champion title at U.S. Bank Arena
Cincinnati resident and elite boxing prospect Adrien "The
Problem" Broner will make his second WBO Junior Lightweight World
Champion title defense at the U.S. Bank Arena Saturday.
The Cincinnati pugilist (23-0, 19 knockouts), who lives in
Westwood, faces Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 knockouts). The fight will
be broadcast on HBO's Boxing After Dark and represents the next step in a
career that may propel Broner into the highest levels of the sport.
This will be Broner's fifth appearance on HBO.
Broner is the youngest current U.S. title holder after
winning the WBO Junior Lightweight belt with a third-round knockout of
Vicente Rodriguez last November. His first title defense came in
February of this year, also in Cincinnati. He easily defeated Eloy
Perez, prompting additional fan, cable and promoter attention. His
second title defense this Saturday may be a turning point, leading to
the next tier of exposure and reward — and perhaps much tougher fights.
Escobedo is a 2004 US Olympian, though he did not medal.
He's fighting at 130 pounds, having tasted defeat as a pro at 135 pounds
in a split-decision title fight loss versus Michael Katsidis in 2009.
After four victories in the new weight class, the 30-year-old Escobedo
now faces one of the most highly touted prospects in boxing today in
In the ring, Broner's athleticism, speed, power and
preparation, as well as his side-on fighting style and
offense-from-defense positioning, have led to comparisons with current
pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Broner says he doesn't watch
tape of opponents but prefers to adapt in the ring.
Outside the ring, he's known for a flamboyant style that
also has brought comparisons to Mayweather's flashy persona, but Broner
shows adaptability in the arena of life as well. Broner describes strong
and apparently nourishing interests, including recording his own music.
So far, when it's time to focus — in the ring or answering serious
questions about his claims to elite status — the 22-year-old can be
frank, direct and thoughtful.
But he's also being called over-the-top. A rare talent. And, of course, undefeated.
Cincinnati sports fans are on notice that maybe, just
maybe, they have a new, hometown, world-class athlete worth following on
the international stage.
Broner-Escobedo headlines an extensive undercard on Saturday, July 21. U.S. Bank Arena doors open at 5 pm. HBO Boxing After Dark coverage begins at 10 pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.