If you are a fan of the sweet science for reasons other than just what they do in the ring, if you pay attention to story lines outside of the leather swapping, then this Saturday’s main event (Adrien Broner vs. Jessie Vargas) and chief support bout (Gervonta Davis vs. Jesus Cuellar) at Barclays Center, both to screen on Showtime, presents opportunities.
Before we get into this, let us cover the favorites first. The betting line between Adrien Broner (-120) and Jessie Vargas (-110) is extremely close, it’s a pick ‘em here for the fans. Meanwhile in the chief support bout, Cuellar has been inactive since December 2016, when he lost by split decision to Abner Mares, and prior to that he was on a 11-fight win streak.
Davis’s style can be wild at times and Cuellar will look to capitalize on this. If you also see the value in Cuellar as the (+450) underdog, before you place a wager, SportsBettingDime lists some betting sites to choose from, based on accessibly, bonuses and more. There is a reason why Davis is a big favorite (-800) heading into this encounter; with Floyd Mayweather the promoter on his side, the undefeated young talent has been linked with a Vasyl Lomachenko fight if both win their next bouts.
So...not sure when this has last happened, someone with a better historical grasp of such developments would have to tell me. But check this out…Both Broner and Davis will be cornered by another chief second, after both deciding to sideline their long-time tutors, both of whom they’ve said they see as father figures.
Broner’s been coached by Mike Stafford since he had baby teeth, and Calvin Ford and Davis were thisclose and exulted when they reached the promised land, of title fights and ample purses, after clambering up the ladder from Baltimore to the big time.
Broner decided that he needed some tough love and a new set of eyeballs who’d maybe see things, in strategy, and technique, that perhaps Stafford had missed. It came as no surprise, I suppose, because for a few years, there’d been no shortage of the Twitterati who yapped at Broner to change up his trainer sitch. He’d been under-performing for awhile, pundits and fans alike have noted, so time for a change. This time, finally, AB took the advice.
Stafford is a father figure, and will always have a place in his heart, he said, but he’d been too easy on AB, and the fighter admitted he needed an ass-kicker in the fold. He’s 28 and 29 in July, and as promoter Lou DiBella told us on the Friday edition of the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast, his opportunities to bounce back after losses won’t be available infinitely.
But Davis, this switcheroo came as more of a surprise. He is, after all, still undefeated. The 23-year-old Baltimore boxer, signed to Mayweather Promotions, holds a 19-0 mark, with 18 KOs. And yet, he jumped ship, from Coach Ford, to Camp Cunningham, with the ex-cop Kevin Cunningham, who owns a gym in Florida.
My focus of curiosity, apart from the human interest side of these developments, is this: will it matter? Will the older dog, Broner, learn new tricks, and will this be a useful reboot? And will this change result in a vastly better Davis?
I think, possibly, that we could see a dividend pay off for both men, an obvious one, before Saturday. Broner had lost a title on the scale before, going into his scrap against Ashley Theophane in April 2016. He asked for a weight limit adjustment upward before his fight against Adrian Granados Feb. 2017, and there was fat penalty clause inserted to help force him make weight in his last fight, a disappointing showing against Mikey Garcia last July.
And Davis was embarrassed when he lost his IBF 130-pound crown on the scale the day before he was to fight Francisco Fonseca underneath the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor tango last year. My guess is, on Friday, Broner will be at or under 144 pounds, the catchweight limit for his scrap versus Vargas, and Davis will make the weight for his bout against Cuellar, in which the WBA world super feather crown will be up for grabs.
In fact, I put it to Cunningham, via text. I asked him abut the potential for a scale fail.
“Weights gonna be good for AB and Gevonta?” I asked the new trainer.
“On weight and ready to go!” he responded.
I want to hear from you guys. You think this switch will benefit one or both or neither? Will it be harder for the older guy, with more entrenched habits, to change in material fashion?