BRONER SLUMPS TO DEFEAT AGAINST PORTER
By TOM WATT on June 22 2015
This past weekend saw another installment of the Premier Boxing Champions Series, headlined by Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner and ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter. Before the main event, much of the talk had centred around the catch-weight of 144lbs that had been enforced by Broner’s team – many thought (myself included) that Porter, who had to strip naked to make the welterweight limit of 147lbs when facing Kell Brook last year, would struggle to lose the extra 3lbs particularly with the addition of the rehydration clause of 154lbs on fight night and that this could be the difference between two evenly-matched fighters.
Broner’s plans to drain his opponent, whilst controversial, seemed to be a shrewd move from ‘The Problem’ and he came into the arena full of confidence with a ring walk that embodied his trademark swagger and bravado. Three straight wins on from his humbling defeat to Marcos Maidana in 2013, it seemed Broner was back to his usual brash self and fans and pundits were predicting a strong performance from the Cincinnati-born man as he looked to finally prove to people that he was the heir-apparent to his big brother, Floyd Mayweather who has said he will retire after his next fight in September. Broner did not deliver.
From the off-set Porter looked to control the action, pressuring Broner with his strength and volume of punches as he has done his entire career. Broner, as he did against Maidana, had no answer for the pressure being put on him by Porter and from round one he looked unsteady on his feet as he backed up and tried to get out of the way of the flurry of fists coming his way. Whilst Broner tries to employ the ‘shoulder-roll’ defence, he keeps his legs very far apart and this restricts his ability to move his feet as well as he needs to. As the early rounds zipped by it was hard to make a case for Broner picking up a single one clearly. His successes came in the form of the occasional pot-shot or counter that gave a glimpse of what he can be capable of but was never backed up by a combination or any kind of dominance. Porter seemed able to shrug off all that came his way as he continued to push the action in his own bullish style which caused the two to tangle up often, annoying the MGM crowd at times.
By the mid-late rounds the pattern of the fight had not changed, Porter kept winning rounds through effective pressure and sheer volume of punches thrown, Broner might have exhibited the cleaner work but he was landing one clean punch for every 6 or 7 that Porter threw and at no point looked comfortable in there against an apparently weight-drained opponent. By the later rounds signs of Broner’s frustration were beginning to show, referee Tony Weeks (who showed extreme leniency on the night) gave Broner multiple warnings for a variety of misdemeanors was eventually forced to deduct a point from Broner in the 11th round, although he could have done so a lot sooner. Broner managed to negate the points deduction in the 12th and final round however as he managed to shock everyone by pulling off a flash knockdown with a perfectly timed left-hook that caught Porter far too relaxed and sent him to the canvas. Porter was able to beat the count easily and looked steady on his feet as he got back up, Broner half-heartedly tried to finish him off but it never looked like he had the desire or the power to force another knockdown or worry Porter. By the time the final bell rang the result was beyond doubt and the usually charismatic Broner sheepishly returned to his corner as his friend and ‘big bro’ Mayweather slipped off from ringside before the results were announced.
The judges score-cards (112-114, 111-115 & 108-118), all in favour of Porter, were a surprisingly mixed bag with one judge giving Broner more than the benefit of the doubt in many rounds but the right decision had been delivered. Shawn Porter had executed the game plan to perfection and can now look forward to returning to the melting pot of elite welterweights jockeying for their chance to get that elusive Mayweather fight in September. You’d have to think his successor as IBF Champion, Kell Brook and long-time Mayweather chaser, Amir Khan are ahead of Porter in the queue and seem like much more legitimate opponents but Mayweather does he likes and through his ‘All Access’ programmes will make us all believe that he chose the toughest opponent, regardless of who he decides to face. Porter’s stock will have risen significantly this weekend though and the former World Champion is hungry to return to the top.
As good a performance as it was from Porter, a lot of the talk will be of the abysmal and lacklustre performance of Broner, before the fight he had promised fireworks, he had said he would beat Porter and his trainer/father Kenny Porter in the same night, as it turned it out that was not the case. The question-marks that had surrounded Broner following the Maidana fight will again erupt – he doesn’t attack enough, his defense is easily beaten through pressure and most of all, his ability doesn’t match his attitude. After 3 successive wins, the Boxing World was ready to see an improved Broner in this fight, someone that had learnt to deal with the type of fighter that had previously beaten him, but all we saw was the same cocky young fighter who thought he could pot-shot his way through a 12-round decision against a determined and rugged opponent with no apparent plan B for when that didn’t work.
Broner is a talented fighter, he is a 3-weight World Champion with bundles of skill but if he is to return to the ‘elite-level’ in the eyes of the fans, he needs to go back to the drawing board and decide what his next steps are. There are no shortcuts in Boxing and if he learns one thing from his ‘big bro’ it should be that victory is the result of Hard Work & Dedication because no matter how good you are, hard work beats talent when the talent doesn’t work hard, Mayweather may polarize opinions with his antics and behaviour but one thing that has never been in doubt is his commitment to his training and most importantly, to winning. Broner’s talent hasn’t been in doubt but as a former super-featherweight he should look at a drop back down in weight to a category where his power translates, at Welterweight (or 3lbs below) he has never looked to have the power which was such a key to his success as he stormed to his World Titles a few years ago.
For Porter, the options are endless. Aside from the Mayweather sweepstakes he will also have put himself in with a great chance to challenge Kell Brook for his old IBF Belt or even the winner of Bradley vs Vargas for the WBO strap if a World Title is his game plan. Away from the belts the Welterweight scene is teeming with talent such as Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, Chris Algieri and Marcos Maidana all without their next opponent and Porter’s performance this weekend will have gone a long way to re-instating him as a top name in the sport’s hottest division.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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