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.