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BronerEscobedoWorkout Hoganphotos5Well, that was a fiasco. Broner was 133 1/2 Friday, needed to be 140 or under Saturday AM…and weighed 143 pounds. So quite rightly, Team Escobedo pulled out. And then pulled back in…he gets a chunk of Broner's purse, because The Show Must Go On, and boxing is the theater of the unexpected.

Adrien Broner-Vicente Escobedo: U.S Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio. Shown on HBO and BoxNation in the UK.

Vicente Escobedo, 26-3 {15} must be thinking to himself: How do you solve a problem like Broner? It's a good question. Maybe, he figured, after seeing Broner weigh in three and a half pounds over the limit on Friday, that part of the problem was solved. Perhaps Broner was looking past Escobedo, to bigger things in the near future, and maybe he wasn't mentally focused on this test. Thus far, Broner, 23-0 {19}has looked simply sensational en route to establishing himself as, in many people's eyes, boxing's premier young talent. The Cincinnati native's flamboyant and boisterous behaviour -he's one of the most polarizing fighter's around- makes him a true entertainer. None of this would matter though, if Broner couldn't back it up once inside the roped square. Unfortunately for Escobedo, not to mention the other twenty-three others who have already tried,he does.

Vicente Escobedo is what I would call a nice fighter.He's pretty well-rounded, throws a decent jab, motors well around the ring,is the owner of decent hand speed and power, and has the cajones to mix it up if the situation occurs. That said, I don't think he has the specialist tools that would be required to solve a problem like the one awaiting him, because I don't think the weight issue will suddenly render Broner a so-so talent. It's not that Escobedo does anything particularly bad,it's just that he fails to possess any stand-out attribute that would really disrupt Broner and take him out of his game. So far,Escobedo has came up short against the most talented fighters he's faced -Katsidis in 2009 and Guerrero in 2010- and hasn't fought anyone of their calibre in his last four fights {Walter Estrada, Rocky Juarez, Lonnie Smith and Juan Ruiz}.In terms of athleticism, skill and technique, Escobedo is probably in for the toughest fight of his life.

Notwithstanding a close unanimous decision win over hard hitting southpaw Daniel Ponce de Leon back in March of last year, Broner has looked every bit the boxing prodigy that many have been quick to bestow upon him. Using his vast array of defensive craft to first neutralize and stabilize his opponent's offense, Broner then sets about quickly dispatching them using his lightning quick offensive bursts and high-grade power power -none of his last three opponents have made it beyond the fourth round- and his superior ring mechanics. Often compared to Floyd Mayweather Jr, and for good reason I might add,Broner shares a lot of common attributes with his self professed idol. Defensively, both possess the uncanny ability to stand within punching range of their opponents, before making them miss by inches with a subtle move -namely a roll of the shoulder-while remaining perfectly poised and balanced, allowing for a counter. Also, on offense, both are as smooth and relaxed as they come. Neither fighter throws much more than a jab or a straight right hand, although Broner tends to work the body more with left hooks, but both share the same mentality when it comes to letting their hands go -straight, untelegraphed, cerebral punching. This allows them to reveal no more of their intended movement towards an opponent than someone displaying a poker face would reveal his next card to his fellow player.

The mere fact that Broner is being talked about as a “next Floyd Mayweather,” and not just for his out of the ring demeanor either,gives an idea as to just how highly regarded he is.


In spite of a sudden rise in upsets of late, it's really hard to imagine one coming into fruition this Saturday. Escobedo is a good fighter, Broner meanwhile is a potentially great fighter, even if questions now arise about his focus and professionalism. Broner's sheer athleticism alone would probably be too much for Escobedo to deal with. Once you throw in Broner's superior speed, technique and power however, suddenly, the odds looked stacked in his favour.

From a strategical point of view, Escobedo should come out moving, fighting off the back foot,looking to implement his advantages in height and reach by attempting to keep Broner on the outside. Broner is a counter-puncher, so Escobedo should give him very little to counter -plenty of feints before throwing and a lot of punch variation.The jab, boxing's straightest and quickest punch,is an important weapon against a counter-puncher, especially if you're trying to keep the fight at arms length as Escobedo will be, but he must not allow Broner to familiarize himself with it, as his timing is impeccable.

Of course,such strategies are easier plotted than produced. Does Escobedo really possess the skill-set to execute such a strategy and pull off the upset? Not likely by my reckoning. Broner, even at this early stage in his career, is of an entirely different breed to Escobedo.The superior speed, reflexes, skill, defensive/offensive ratio and just about any other boxing nuance you can think of should equate to Broner having an easy time of it tonight.

I do believe Escobedo, as he should, will come out looking to box behind his jab trying to keep Broner on the end of the stick. However, despite his counter-punching nature, Broner is highly adept at walking his man down while at the same time making him miss {something Chad Dawson found extremely difficult to pull off against Jean Pascal}. Broner is excellent at cutting off the ring; his foot speed and quickness enable him to maneuver his opponent into where he wants them. Once Broner positions his opponent, he can inflict damage with either hand. Broner's last two stoppages have come via a straight right hand and a short left on the inside. Even with only a little experience, Broner is one of the few fighters competing today whose many attributes never seem to be placed in jeopardy by any of his others -despite the wide stance, which allows for his punching power and defense, his quickness around the ring remains cat-like as does the transition from defense to offense.

With Broner,I get the feeling that we haven't yet seen the very best of him. Maybe we will see something special tonight? I believe Broner has the perfect opponent -one who has never been stopped- in front of him to really make a statement. Look for Broner to have found his range by the third round, where he will then proceed to dominate his less talented opponent with the jab, straight right hand and lead left hook. I also have a feeling, as with many a taller fighter, that Escobedo won't like it to the body.Watch for Broner to be working that area every time Escobedo finds himself with his back to the ropes. Simply put, Broner should be able to dominate Escobedo in just about every aspect of the fight.

With bigger fights on the horizon -namely at 135 pounds and even above- Broner must not look past the opponent at hand. Like I mentioned earlier, there's been an unprecedented sequence of upsets recently, and thus I now finds himself second guessing some of these perceived boxing formalities.

Not here though.

I fully expect Broner to have put an end to matters by the eighth round, thus taking his knockout streak to four and looking just as spectacular inside the ring tonight as he will likely do coming down the aisle outside it.

It's been mentioned here before. We know how GOOD Adrien Broner is, now let's see how GREAT he can be….One step at a time though.

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