(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) LONDON (Dec.13) – Loved and loathed in equal measure, WBA World Welterweight king Adrien Broner certainly brings fight fans into a lather.
He is undeniably talented and appears to possess all the technical tools to become the dominant superstar of this decade.
Tomorrow evening, at the fabulous Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, we should have a clearer indication as to whether ‘The Problem’ has the mental fibre to match his physical gifts when he fronts up to stone-fisted Argentine Marcos Maidana.
Make up your own mind by watching the show live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 12.30 am on Sunday morning. Join at www.boxnation.com
If Broner is the most blessed rising star in the division, then Florida’s Keith Thurman is the most explosive.
The 25 year old they call ‘One Time’ has iced 19 of his 21 victims inside the distance and he’ll be anxious to club his way into an All US shootout with Broner by impressively eliminating Mexican veteran Jesus Soto Karass in the chief support.
To analyse the action, boxing writer Glynn Evans touched base with reigning British and Commonwealth champion Frankie Gavin who intends to gatecrash the world 147lb scene himself in 2014.
“Broner versus Maidana is a really fascinating fight. It’s possible the Broner could make Maidana look a bit of a plodder, slow and stupid. But I think the Argentinian has got every chance. Broner looked crap against Malinaggi and Maidana will have tightened up since moving to the Garcias in Oxnard.
I’ve followed Broner pretty closely since he blitzed Jason Litzau inside a round on ESPN a couple of years ago. I’ve seen pretty much all his fights since then.
There’s no denying that he’s a great fighter. The question is, is he a great welter? He took a huge step up from 135 (lbs) to 147 and didn’t look overly strong and powerful against Malignaggi. I think 140 could be his optimal weight right now.
Away from the ring, he’s like an immature version of Floyd Mayweather. I go on him and off him as a person. Some of his showmanship is really funny but he can take things too far sometimes. I don’t like him taking the mick and being disrespectful to fellow fighters whose ability level is far beneath his. But I thought he came across well on Showtime’s All Access program, joking around.
There’s plenty to admire about him as a fighter. He’s so accurate with his shots and seldom wastes anything. Everything he throws is intended to land and hurt. I particularly like how he leans back then delivers that lead counter right hand.
Mind, from what I’ve seen so far I’m not sure his footwork is that great. He tends to walk forward and bully his opponent physically but I doubt very much whether he’ll be able to do that against Maidana. I think Maidana will be physically stronger and the one on the front foot. I know Maidana’s been on the floor a few times against Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz but I can’t see him getting stopped by Broner.
I’ve seen a lot of Maidana too. He can definitely ‘have it’! He’s a rugged, bullying type but he’s not a bad boxer either. I expect Maidana to be the bigger puncher in this fight – Broner’s not a one punch finisher – and Maidana can do his damage with both hands; swinging left uppercuts and big right hands over the top. I think Broner will also find him very strong in the clinches.
On the downside, Maidana’s not the quickest and isn’t great defensively. Sometimes he switches over his feet and can be caught square on. We all saw how easily Deven Alexander managed to outbox him.
To give himself the best possible chance, he’s going to need to get right on Broner and drag him into a war. And I wouldn’t be massively surprised if that happens. Broner is a lazy fighter who likes to take his breaks, whereas Maidana can sustain a pretty high workrate.
It’s possible Maidana could ruffle Broner out of his comfort zone and take over in the later rounds. Broner will enter favourite but I think Maidana has every chance.
Broner would be foolish to stand and trade with Maidana. To win, he’ll need to box Maidana from the outside and hit him as he charges in. He needs to keep adjusting so that Maidana struggles to set himself. You can’t hit a moving target as hard as you can hit a static one. If Broner can execute that, Maidana will get wilder and wilder. Then Broner can really capitalise and make Maidana look cumbersome, like Pacquiao did to Brandon Rios.
As yet, we’ve not really seen how Broner will respond once he gets pushed back.This fight should show us.
I’ll go with Broner to come through a few sticky patches and win quite widely on points, something like 117-110. It’s a fight I’m really looking forward to.
On the undercard we’ll get a good look at Keith Thurman who the Yanks are raving about.
I saw his stoppage win over (Carlos) Quintana and his 12 round points win over Jan Zaveck who used to be the IBF champion.
Clearly, with 19 knockouts from 21 wins, he’s a big puncher – dangerous with both hands – but other than that I don’t really rate him from what I’ve seen. He’s a good body puncher but his big hooks are pretty wild and he needs to learn to keep his hands up.
He hasn’t got great ability. Defensively he’s not all that and I don’t think he can fight off the back foot. I’d definitely take a fight with him if it was offered to me.
Soto Karass has plenty of recognisable names on his record like Carson Jones, Mike Jones, Gabriel Rosado, Maidana, Selcuk Aydin and he had that great win against Andre Berto last time out.
I saw the fight with Selcuk and basically Aydin gave it away rather than Soto winning it. Aydin was very lazy and got outworked.
From what I’ve seen, that’s Soto’s strength. He’s very tough, very busy and makes the opponent work hard. He’s not the most gifted technically – he’s very easy to hit, lacks speed and is quite old (31) – but he could outhustle Thurman.
Thurman is one of the biggest hitting welters but, for me, he’s not in the top five ability wise. The real slick operators would outbox him all day long. I certainly think Kell Brook would beat him, provided Kell did the weight properly.
But Thurman – Soto should definitely be a good fight for the fans because neither shy away. Soto will need to get close and be busy, make Thurman miss, then make him pay. But I’ll back the Yank to draw him on to his big bombs and stop him somewhere around the eighth or ninth.”
Broner vs. Maidana is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) from 12.30am this Sunday. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.