By Joseph Herron: This past Saturday night from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares defeated, who most boxing pundits viewed as the 26 year old fighter’s toughest test to date, Super WBA Bantamweight Champion Anselmo Moreno by way of gritty, twelve round unanimous decision.
Many ringside experts felt that the skill level and natural athleticism of the Panamanian southpaw would be too much for the undefeated fighter. But Mares took Moreno out of his comfort zone and forced a more torrid pace than the defensive technician had grown accustomed to seeing.
Abner took away Anselmo’s natural southpaw advantage by bringing the fight to close quarters and touching-up the seemingly untouchable and slippery fighter with a barrage of punches from various angles. Mares’ intent was to hit Moreno anywhere he could, as often as he could, and to force Moreno into fighting a very physical and uncomfortable contest.
On Saturday, November 17th, from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Antonio DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KOs) will attempt to defend his WBC Lightweight title against the very talented, defensive specialist Adrien “The Problem” Broner (24-0, 20 KOs).
Expect to see Antonio try to implement a similar fight strategy against his young and confident, unbeaten challenger this weekend.
The Cincinnati born phenom, who has been dubbed the future of boxing by most ringside analysts, creates many unsolvable mysteries for most fighters in the sport and has yet to be taken into deep waters by any opponent throughout his four years as a professional.
Broner fights behind a very slippery Michigan style of defense in which he rolls his shoulders away from incoming shots, while leaning towards his right side at a 45 degree angle. Adrien’s natural athleticism and physical gifts give him the opportunity to implement this defensive strategy to perfection, while leaving himself in position to launch an effective right hand counter.
But this strategy doesn’t always work when facing an aggressive southpaw opponent like Antonio DeMarco; especially one who has a sturdy chin and throws a relatively higher volume of punches while applying pressure.
On March 5th, 2011, Broner faced current WBC Featherweight Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon, an aggressive southpaw fighter who has a good chin and who usually throws a higher volume of punches than his opposition, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on HBO Boxing After Dark.
The slick defensive fighter had many stylistic problems against the smaller but more aggressive fighter in this match-up. Although Adrien kept his undefeated record intact and stayed out of serious trouble throughout the entire contest, the rugged Mexican fight veteran could have created somewhat of a blueprint for success against unbeaten enigma.
When an orthodox fighter who tries to implement the Michigan style of defense against a southpaw opponent, he ultimately places himself in the direct line of fire. Against a left-handed puncher, the usually effective and protective method becomes negated, because the defensive pugilist falls into a southpaw’s power hand instead of rolling away from a right-handed fighter’s hardest shots.
This was displayed when Michigan born prospect Vernon Paris faced veteran southpaw Zab Judah earlier this year in an IBF title eliminator bout in Brooklyn, New York.
Vernon attempted to apply his usually effective defensive practices against an experienced former champion and found himself rolling right into Zab’s hard left hook lead. The end result was a one-sided nine round destruction of the previously unbeaten fighter.
But fighters with the natural athleticism of an Adrien Broner usually find ways to adapt and overcome this potentially adverse situation.
In the case of Floyd Mayweather versus Zab Judah in 2006, the Brooklynite enjoyed much success in the early rounds of the highly anticipated match-up because of the southpaw advantage to Mayweather’s usually elusive Michigan style of defense.
But Floyd’s athletic gifts gave him the capacity to adapt to a more effective fight style against the southpaw champion. Mayweather resorted to using a tight “ear-muff” defense in which he placed both forearms around his head and walked down his less aggressive opponent, using his handspeed and intelligence to place his shots down the middle of Judah’s guard.
This is why Antonio will also have to apply great pressure and high punch volume against Adrien Broner to be successful on Saturday night.
Against a superior athlete like Broner, DeMarco will have to smother his undefeated challenger at times and overwhelm him with a high volume of punches at various angles to be effective. He also cannot simply attempt to aim for the head of Broner. Antonio will have to “Mares” him and touch him up wherever he can.
DeMarco must hit Broner to the stomach, arms, chest, shoulders…basically everywhere Broner does not expect to be hit. He must force a faster and more aggressive pace to make Adrien uncomfortable in the ring.
If the current WBC Lightweight Champion uses the relentless “Abner Mares” strategy in the ring this Saturday night, Antonio DeMarco could put himself in position to shock the world and hand Adrien Broner his first loss as a professional fighter.