Alvarez vs. Rhodes a Gimme; Broner vs Litzau Tough Call

By Paul Strauss: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has fought better competition. He has proven equal to the task, and carries a big punch into his fight with Ryan Rhodes, who has never fought outside of the UK. It might be asking a lot to suggest someone to risk their hard earned money on the 8 to1 long shot Rhodes.

The HBO semi-main event between Broner and Litzau is another story. There's no heavy favorite in this one. Adrien "The Problem" Broner is another Golden Boy Promotions' prospect, someone in whom they have a lot of faith. He is a slickster, who is hard to hit, and answers when opportunity knocks. Those who believe in him see someone who they believe will capitalize on Jason "The American Boy" Litzau's mistakes which, in the past, he's been known to make when trying to please his fans.

A closer look at the two combatants reveals that Broner lacks experience. Sure he's had 300 amateur fights, but he's only had twenty professional fights, and he's only 21 years old! However, his fans argue that he has 16 big KO's, but the question that always follows is.......Who has he knocked out? His real claim to fame is a UD over Daniel Ponce DeLeon in March of this year. Two judges saw a close fight and scored it 96-94. The third judge scored it more one-sided in Broner's favor at 99-91. Broner explained away the closer scoring of two judges by saying that he purposely took his time and read DeLeon's style, and then proceeded to take charge. In other words, he claims he knew what he was doing and had things under control. That's a good explanation, and although it might be accurrate, it bodes the question, "Will he have the same opportunity to do so against Litzau?"

That might be the "real problem" for Broner. He might find it very difficult in attempting to keep the fight at his pace. Undoubtedly, Broner feels Litzau has always always been an action fighter and has a reputation for setting a fast pace. But, Broner's people also feel that that in fact might also be one of Jason's weak- nesses. Jason has had to deal with a criticism that he doesn't know how to properly pace himself. Broner's counting on that. But, Jason and his trainer Bob Van Sycle believe that's no longer true. They feel Jason has learned his lesson the hard way when he lost to Jose Andres Hernandez 12-16-2006. Since then, the two have specifically concentrated on "defense and smart aggressive offense".

In the Hernandez fight, Jason had built up a pretty good lead, but failed to "box smart". He got careless, and expended too much energy trying to look impressive (showboat) and land big shots. As a result, he tired and became arm weary. His guard dropped and out of fatigue as much as from the punch, he got tagged and kayo'd. Up until that time all three judges felt he was winning the fight, and had it scored 68-64. His only other loss was against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, and no one can fault him for that.

Litzau also has a win over Rocky Juarez and in his best showing to date, he looked very impressive in his big upset win over the heavily favored Celestino Caballero on 11-27-2010. He did everything he needed to in that fight. He used his jab and multiple jabs, along with a big right hand and timely left hook. He adjusted the angle of his punches to be effective, and mixed up his shots up and down. Equally important, he used his height and reach well. He also was rough when Cabellero tried to go that route. Litzau was a 13 to 1 underdog in that fight, so Jason seems to have proven to his critics that he has learned his lessons well and become a very good fighter.

In Litzau, Broner is going to find a faster, taller and more active fighter than he did in DeLeon. He will be giving up approximately three and one-half inches in height and be faced with a seventy-three inch reach as well. As previously mentioned, Jason is experienced with 30 professional fights, as well as 180 amateur bouts. Undoubtedly, Broner will attempt to employ a similar plan as the one he used against DeLeon. Initially, he will try to play it safe and try to dissect Litzau's style, and then exploit the weaknesses he finds. If Litzau opens fast, Broner will try to meet his aggression with hard, crisp counters, and possibly end it quickly.

Of course, that's assuming Litzau will let him. If Litzau has truly learned his lessons well, then he might surprise Broner and play it smart and safe as well, using his height and reach to score from the outside and win rounds. Eventually that would force Broner to come out of his defensive shell and take chances. Then Litzau might be the one planning a little exploitation of his own, and he will have the energy in reserve to do so.

Broner comes off as a cocky fighter, and he seems to like to embroider his talents with a lot of talk. So far he's had a pretty easy time of it, but come Saturday night at the Arena VFG, Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, Mexico, he might be unable to find a solution to the "Problem" presented by "The American Boy".

Article posted on 16.06.2011

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