Adrien Broner vs Adrian Granados
Record: 32-2 (24 KO) ... Streak: W2 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 8-2 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5’6" / 69” ... Age: 27
Thoughts: Broner is genuinely one of the toughest guys in boxing to figure out in some ways, but he’s fairly easy to figure in others. Let’s start with the easy: Broner is talented, but he’s not a truly elite fighter. While even in a diluted era it’s impressive to have won world titles in four weight classes, especially by 27, it just doesn’t add up to much that is really special. That’s because he has struggled against his better opponents, including losses to Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter, both at welterweight (or catchweights close to welterweight).
In fact, as a welterweight, Broner is 1-2, and the win over Paulie Malignaggi was fairly controversial, though it did net him a WBA belt. And Broner had to push this fight to a full 147-pound limit instead of the lower contracted weight originally agreed upon. Is he ready? Is he in shape? Is he even much good as a welterweight in the first place?
Those are the questions that make him hard to figure out, because they’re consistent questions going into his fights. He wasn’t impressive last time out against Ashley Theophane, a fight that would have been fairly easy for anyone who was as great as Broner has claimed to be over the years. And what of that ego? Is it real? Is it an act? He’s a case where it’s actually difficult to figure either way.
One thing you can say about Broner is he hasn’t let losses get to him, or at least it doesn’t seem as though he has. For a guy who talked such a big game, there was always the question of how he might handle a loss. But after Maidana, he came back and won a few fights. After Porter, he’s come back and won a few fights. He doesn’t whine about the decisions. Doesn’t make excuses about the losses, really.
But does that speak to a maturity about the realities of the sport — you fight top opponents, someone loses — or to a lack of the motivation to be truly great? I don’t know. I find Adrien Broner somewhat fascinating, but more as a personality. As a fighter, he’s shown his flaws many times over. He is good. But he’s not great.
Record: 18-4-2 (12 KO) ... Streak: W5 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 7-2-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'9" / 74" ... Age: 27
Thoughts: If you’ve never seen Granados fight, do not sleep on him because of his record. He has four losses, yes. Let’s take a quick run over those:
- Juan Jose Fuentes (2008, SD-4): Granados’ second pro fight, a four rounder, and a split decision.
- Frankie Gomez (2011, MD-8): Gomez was/is an elite prospect, and Granados gave him fits. This was a controversial decision and a tough, tough test for Gomez.
- Felix Diaz (2014, MD-10): Another controversial decision, another top prospect and a former Olympic gold medalist. Diaz has gone on to become a contender at 140/147.
- Brad Solomon (2015, SD-10): Another controversial decision, this one going to an unbeaten house fighter.
All of those decisions are questionable. And his two draws have come against Kermit Cintron and Lanardo Tyner, also fights that could easily have gone to Granados. He is a few points in his career away from being 24-0 instead of 18-4-2. It happens — especially when you don’t have a power promoter behind you, which Granados never has.
But the last time someone seemingly looked past Granados a little bit, top prospect Amir Imam found himself on the end of a beating. Granados’ pressure style battered Imam and wore him out, forcing an eighth round stoppage in November 2015. Last year, Granados couldn’t find anyone to fight him. You should credit Broner for taking this guy on. As unfair as it is, the reality of boxing is that a guy like Granados is pretty easy to avoid. He doesn’t have a big fan base calling for anyone to fight him. Broner could have fought someone easier, with a prettier looking record, even. And Granados has a style — similar to Marcos Maidana’s — that has been a serious problem for Broner before.
Matchup Grade: B. A good, solid matchup, and one where if an upset happens, I won’t even really see it as an upset. Is Broner gifted with more natural physical ability than Granados? Sure. Is he a better fighter, though? I think that’s up in the air. Bottom line: this is one you should tune in to see, however it turns out.
David Avanesyan vs Lamont Peterson
Record: 22-1-1 (11 KO) ... Streak: W9 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 9-0-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'8" / 68½" ... Age: 28
Thoughts: Avanesyan, from Russia, is a solid, technically sound, fairly basic fighter. He’s not elite. He’s not really top 10 in the welterweight division. But he does hold the WBA “world” title, for whatever it’s worth, and last year he scored a somewhat notable win over a shot-to-bits Shane Mosley on May 28, so that’s where he’s at right now.
Avanesyan doesn’t have any plus skills, really, but he doesn’t screw up much, and he doesn’t make it easy for opponents to beat him. His record is pretty thin, as the washed-up Mosley is actually his best victory, because otherwise we’re talking about the likes of Kaizer Mabuza, Dean Byrne, and Charlie Navarro. Hardly inspiring. He can fight, but he won’t wow anyone.
Record: 34-3-1 (17 KO) ... Streak: W1 ... Last 5: 3-2 ... Last 10: 7-2-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'9" / 72" ... Age: 33
Thoughts: Peterson has been inactive since an October 2015 win over Felix Diaz Jr, which was a controversial majority decision. That followed a controversial majority decision loss to Danny Garcia, both fights happening north of 140 but south of 147.
Peterson is 33 now, having just had his birthday a couple of weeks ago, and if he’s going to be doing much more noteworthy with his boxing career, the clock is starting to tick. More year and a half breaks are probably a bad idea.
While Avanesyan doesn’t do anything special, Peterson really doesn’t, either. His success has always come from his determination as much as any standout skills. But if you were asking me who has the better gifts between the two, I’d go with Peterson. He’s a bit more dynamic and flexible in his approach.
Matchup Grade: C+. Not a bad fight at all, well matched in terms of levels. It’s just not anything to get truly excited about, either. It’s worth a passing grade, but not a lot more. If it had better action potential, I’d bump it a little more.
Marcus Browne vs Thomas Williams Jr
Record: 18-0 (13 KO) ... Streak: W18 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 6'1½" / 75½" ... Age: 26
Thoughts: A member of the infamous 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Browne was sort an undercooked prospect in London, and has continued to learn on the job as a pro, where he’s been given plenty of TV time as an Al Haymon/PBC fighter. In that time, we’ve seen some highlight stuff, and some questionable potential.
This fight, then, is really pivotal to figure out how good Browne is or isn’t. He looked good in wins over veterans George Blades, Aaron Pryor Jr, and Cornelius White in 2014-15, winning comfortably. He blew away Gabriel Campillo in 55 seconds back in September 2015. He dominated an out of shape Francisco Sierra in December 2015.
Everything was going according to schedule and plan until he was matched with Radivoje Kalajdzic in April 2016. Kalajdzic went down in round one, but didn’t go away. Browne was down in the sixth. And if you ask me, or anyone being totally honest, Browne lost that fight. Instead, two of three judges saw it for him, and he escaped with a win. He didn’t fight the rest of the year. There was work to do in the gym.
The question now is if he’s improved. We know Kalajdzic can fight, but where is Browne at? Did that experience shake him? Has it shaped a better version of him coming into this fight? We’ll see. But he’s taking a risk.
Thomas Williams Jr
Record: 20-2 (14 KO) ... Streak: L1 ... Last 5: 3-2 ... Last 10: 8-2 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 6'1" / 72" ... Age: 29
Thoughts: Williams is simple to talk about, really. He’s an action fighter, has power, doesn’t defend himself so much, and you’re going to have to earn it against him one way or another. He’s a danger to Browne, for sure.
Matchup Grade: C+. This is one that isn’t as meaningful, perhaps, to the 175-pound division as Avanesyan-Peterson is at 147, but it’s got explosive action potential. This could be a slugfest or it could go 60 seconds, and either man winning wouldn’t be a shocker.