Adrien Broner makes the first defense of the WBO super featherweight title that he won in November tonight in St. Louis, facing Eloy Perez in the HBO co-feature to the Maidana vs Alexander main event. Broner is the solid favorite, at -550 on two major sportsbooks.
Broner (22-0, 18 KO) is an Al Haymon client who has been gifted a fairly easy path to his first major title, and has become a darling for Golden Boy (the promoter allowed to put him on their cards) and HBO, who may or may not see Broner as a "next Mayweather" type of fighter. (Broner says people he's the next Mayweather.)
But to be entirely fair to Adrien Broner, he did fully intend to face Ricky Burns, who instead canceled their November fight and moved up to lightweight. That's fair play on both ends; Burns faced Michael Katsidis and won upon moving up in weight, and Broner meant to face the real "champ," but in the end faced an unqualified Martin Rodriguez, who did come to fight and didn't just roll over and die or anything like that.
This may not be the fight to learn if Broner is "for real," as Perez, who is seemingly popular with west coast boxing writers (or perhaps just boxing writers in general), isn't figuring to be a stern challenge based on his past fights. But Perez is a fighter, and can be expected to give a legitimate effort. One thing Perez has going for him is he's earned his record; it isn't perfect and it wasn't always pretty, but he hasn't been coddled, and he's grown as a fighter. Is he good enough to beat Broner? Probably not, but he's also not bad enough to be totally written off.
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of Broner vs Perez as part of the Maidana vs Alexander card tonight at 10 p.m. EST.