On Saturday night, Adrien Broner will put his 147 lb. WBA title on the line against hard-hitting contender Marcos Maidana.
Last time we saw Adrien Broner in the ring he had just scraped through with a split decision victory over Paulie Malignaggi in his 147 lb. debut, a fight in which he was supposed to dominate. Although It was a big ask of Broner to move up two weight divisions and walk through Malignaggi, if he was as good as the hype suggests, that’s exactly what he would have done.
Broner was very effective in bursts against Malignaggi and looked flashy at times but his performance as a whole, was unimpressive. He let Malignaggi outwork him for the better part of fight. When Broner did put combinations together, he backed Malignaggi up and looked superb but there simply was not enough of it. For the majority of nearly every round, Broner was coasting and Malignaggi was landing punches. You simply cannot expect to win fights by fighting only 30 seconds of each round.
As much as Broner is a very talented young boxer, he has only looked exceptional against average opposition and remains very much unproven against top opposition. There have been hairy moments for Broner against relatively unknown opponents and there is also a fair argument that he was given gift decisions against the two biggest names on his resume in Paulie Malignaggi and Daniel Ponce De Leon. Even with those names, he really doesn't have bragging rights to being a pound for pound star and the second coming of Floyd Mayweather, which he claims to be. However, had those decisions gone the other way, he certainly wouldn’t be where he is now.
Saturday nights clash between Broner and Maidana is being billed as Broner’s toughest fight to date, yet virtually no one in the media is backing Maidana. With 6:1 betting odds, he is a heavy underdog. Maidana is not elite but I think he probably fits into the same level as Malignaggi and Ponce De Leon. Even though he has not been a champion, he is a world-class fighter who comes to win and can give most top fighters trouble.
I think Maidana is very much a live underdog in this one, with a lot more than a punchers chance. While most people are highlighting the troubles Maidana has had with slick boxers in the past, the reality is Broner is not the slick boxer or the defensive genius that he is drummed up to be, he is an athletic boxer-puncher. In Maidana’s three losses, he has really only looked bad against Devon Alexander. He lost an extremely close decision to a prime Amir Khan and a questionable decision against Andriy Kotelnik, there is no shame in that.
You also need to take into account the trouble Broner has had against slower punchers who have applied constant pressure such as Fernando Quintero and Daniel Ponce De Leon. In my opinion Broner clearly lost both fights.
Other fighters such as Willie Kickett and Gavin Rees also had some success against Broner before being stopped. It’s not something we see a lot because Broner is always fighting average opponents but when things don’t go his way he really looses his confidence and retreats into his shell. Willie Kickett had taken control of that fight before one punch turned it all around.
While Broner may have the tools to walk through Maidana with ease, it doesn’t mean he will. You just need to look what happened with Anthony Dirrell and Sakio Bika last weekend. Dirrell had the tools to get the job done but he lost the mental battle.
I feel that Broner’s obsession with trying to be like Floyd is to his detriment. He does have brilliant hand speed and good power but he is way too stationary on his feet. His stance is too wide and does not have the defensive skills to work Floyd’s style. When he is not throwing punches he really isn’t that hard to hit, his best defense is his offence. He is far more effective when he fights aggressively but he only does that for 30 seconds a round. Also, while he does have good power its not the same type of brut power that Marcos Maidana possess. It is more a case of speed translating to power and is a lot more effective when he throws punches in bunches. I think a lot of his KO victories are more a representation of the quality of his opponents, rather than evidence of his power.
This fight is a really interesting match up because, with all the hype aside, Broner is very sharp but we have seen him struggle with guys who apply constant pressure and we know he can be hit. We just haven’t seen him hit or backed up by someone with the punching power of Maidana. How will Broner react when he has fought his thirty seconds of the round and wants to coast but he has a maniac relentlessly coming forward blasting him with thudding punches for three minutes of each round?
Maidana has showed us how much he has in the tank. We saw him get up from three knockdowns against victor Ortiz and get the TKO win. We also saw him get up from a devastating liver shot in the first round of his fight with Khan, continue fighting till the closing bell and still have the tenacity in the final round to almost get the stoppage. There is a long list of quality opponents he has faced and the end of the day I think it is actually Maidana who has the better resume coming into this bout.
I am very interested to see how Broner’s mental strength and chin hold up in this one. I genuinely feel three men have already solved the problem. If Broner shows up in shape he should win, but that is a big if. I won’t be surprised to see Broner win but I’m going to go out on a limb and pick Marcos ‘El Chino" Maidana TKO 10.