Broner vs Maidana: Picks and predictions from the BLH staff for main event and Thurman-Soto Karass

Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Adrien Broner takes on Marcos Maidana and Keith Thurman faces Jesus Soto Karass in a pair of heavy-hitting welterweight showdowns tomorrow on Showtime. BLH staffers pick the winners.

Ryan Bivins

As long as Broner can show Maidana some foot work he'll win the fight. It's as simple as that really. But he absolutely cannot stand there, catch, block, and roll his way out of harms way. His defense is not that nice. He is not Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hell, he's not even Floyd Mayweather Sr. The Broner that fought Paulie Malignaggi gets knocked out by Maidana. But I don't think that Broner shows up. I think he at least TRIES to make the fight easy on himself. Can Maidana lure him into a dog fight anyways? Maybe. But I doubt it. I think Maidana hits the deck at least once but makes it to the finish line. Broner might hit the deck too. Broner touching down early might be the best thing for him. He'd probably fight a lot smarter afterwards. But what do I know? My head says Broner but my gut says Maidana. Broner by decision.

Scott Christ

You can't hurt what you can't hit, and that's the bottom line for Marcos Maidana here. Will he be able to catch Adrien Broner? Or perhaps the question is, will Adrien Broner allow Maidana to catch him? Broner stays in the pocket a lot, and that's not the worst thing against Paulie Malignaggi, Gavin Rees, or even Antonio DeMarco. And while Malignaggi is, in my view, a better all-around boxer than Maidana, he posed no real danger to Broner, and AB knew that. Rees was the same, but also smaller than Maidana or Malignaggi. And DeMarco was at least a small threat in terms of his power, but Broner looked like a bigger man than him, too. Adrien was a huge super featherweight, a big lightweight, and he's a sturdy welterweight. He's got a fairly large frame even though he's not tall. Maidana is still fairly crude, and while he's improved a bit under Robert Garcia, the truth is we've seen what happens to Garcia-trained fighters when up against superior boxers. To be clear, I'm not blaming Garcia for this -- fighters are who they are, trainers can only do so much. Garcia gets a lot out of his guys, more than most trainers could get out of the same fighters. But there's a pattern, and though Maidana has the power to knock out Broner, he's not going to -- unless Adrien Broner's arrogance betrays him. Broner UD-12, with Maidana hitting the canvas at least once.

Tom Craze

Such is the polarizing character of Adrien Broner, and the humble, reserved near-antithesis that is Marcos Maidana, it's highly likely that a large proportion of Maidana picks this weekend will have been talked into because of a desire to see the Cincinnati man brought down a peg or two. That's not to write off Maidana completely, but, as this is grown-up professional sport, and it's Staff Picks, not Staff, Pick the Most Likeable Fighter, I have to side with the guy who's technically superior, quicker, the guy who looks the stronger. Simply put, Adrien Broner should win this fight.

After receiving criticism for his Malignaggi showing (a fight I thought Broner won fairly decisively, but that's by the by), Maidana's surely been chosen as the type of come-forward, face-first opponent that Broner will look - and has looked - great against. This is no gimme, though. Maidana is almost certainly the best that we've seen Broner in with and, given his relentless attack, has to be considered a live, albeit considerable, underdog here.

The big question, of course, is how Broner's chin holds up to one or more of those looping Maidana overhands should they connect clean, and, in truth, nobody really knows. It's hard to see Maidana not having at least some success, but if Broner opts for a cautious, counter-punching performance, there's a real danger that what could be a superb action fight turns into more a case of matador versus bull, Broner's Mayweather versus Maidana's Canelo. Broner by wide 118-110-type UD.

Kory Kitchen

The bulk of my prediction comes down to how Adrien Broner shows up. If he is focused and in-shape, I think he pretty much dominates Marcos Maidana. If he shows up acting like he doesn't care or is drained from having to lose a lot of weight in a hurry, it could be a long night for the Cincinnati star.

However, because Broner just had a recent close call against Paulie Malignaggi, I'm going to assume he is totally ready to go. If he was going to lose, it would have been against Malignaggi whom I do not think he took completely serious.

Maidana's straight-ahead style is made for Broner who likes for guys to come to him, throw power shots, become arm weary, then stand still while he unloads. Broner's biggest weakness that I've seen so far is that he isn't fond of the jab, one reason why Malignaggi gave him some problems from a distance.

With Maidana standing in front of him, that won't be an issue. He'll have ample opportunity to unload with his power shots on the inside, especially his uppercut. Maidana has been hurt badly in the past and Devon Alexander totally blew him out. He's got the puncher's chance but that's about it. He's made a career out of being exciting but exciting won't be enough to top Broner on Saturday night. Broner TKO-9.

Final Tally: Adrien Broner 4, Marcos Maidana 0.

Keith Thurman vs Jesus Soto Karass

11_thurman_vs_soto_karass_img_4924_medium

Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Ryan Bivins

Both guys can punch, are vulnerable defensively, and take punches well. This has bloody war written all over it and I'd be very surprised if it didn't end in a knockout. Either guy can get it, but my head says Thurman. However, I've already picked against Soto Karass twice this year when he fought Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto. He's not about to make a fool out of me and go 3-0 against my "better" judgement. Diego Chaves damn near was too much for Thurman and Soto Karass is a much bigger and more proven man. Soto Karass by knockout.

Scott Christ

Thurman says he's not afraid to lose, that he's not looking to protect his "0," and it's easy to believe. The guy has a real confidence about himself and just might be a future star in the making. Soto Karass, though, is dangerous here. Thurman has good power, but Soto Karass has fought plenty of guys with power. It's going to come down to grit, and that's something Soto Karass has in spades. We saw against Diego Chaves that Thurman can take a good punch and come back for more, and this is another opportunity to prove himself. He's going to have to earn it, and I think he'll win the slugfest this time. Thurman TKO-10.

Kory Kitchen

I would be shocked if Thurman and Soto Karass do no steal the show in terms of action. This is going to largely consist of two men coming together and creating an explosion. Thurman has gradually become one of my favorite young fighters in the sport, having won me over with his relentless style. Soto Karass will come to fight as well, but I doubt he will be able to keep up with the pace. I see the first two rounds or so being a tad slow with the action heating up immeasurably by the third. There will be some hellacious exchanges in the middle rounds with Thurman winning nearly all of them. Soto Karass will land his shots and it's another big opportunity for him, but Thurman has too much for him to overcome. In a grueling, physical fight that eventually transforms into a beatdown, Thurman grinds Soto Karass down by the late rounds. Thurman TKO-8.

Final Tally: Keith Thurman 2, Jesus Soto Karass 1.

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