Last weekend he looked terrific. The speed was apparent, the flash and the pot-shot punching was there too. He picked his spots and fought as the prey to set up his opponent, then when he felt he had things under control, he came on and pushed the fight assuming the role as the predator.
Basically, he dominated the bout and did what he wanted to whenever he wanted to. That’s called jogging to victory.
Yes, I’m talking about Adrian Broner 31-2 (23), who stopped Khabib Allakhverdiev 19-2 (9) in the 12th round to win the vacant WBA super-lightweight/junior welterweight title.
Make no mistake about it, Broner looked good, he looked purposeful and by the end of the second round it was profoundly obvious that he was fighting on a different level than Allahkverdiev. However, let us not lose sight of the fact that Allakhverdiev moved in with his hands up in a high guard, but wasn’t punching enough on the way in. He lacked sufficient hand speed and really telegraphed his left hand from the outside. In close he led to the body, which left his chin a sitting duck for Broner’s counter left-hooks and right uppercuts because his hands were down, because everybody lowers their hands when they go to the body. He was also very open up the middle and never reacted or adjusted to Broner smashing him with his quick uppercuts both inside and outside. And when Broner had him against the ropes, instead of holding or tying Adrien up, he stayed stationary and squared up, which made him an easy and open target.
His last win came two years and four months ago. Not only was he inept to face Broner stylistically, he was also rusty from inactivity.
Sure, Broner looked really good, but what did we learn during the fight that we didn’t already know? We already knew he was quick and skilled. However, his constitution was never tested during the bout. We also knew that a few years ago he disregarded fundamentals and basics for flash. In addition to that, we knew that Broner is a really good boxer when he lets his hands go, but he has too many lapses where he doesn’t get off enough and in all honesty, his defense isn’t good enough to fight like that.
Now that Broner and Terence Crawford 26-0 (18) both hold legitimate world titles at 140, a fight between them is a natural. Assuming Crawford gets by Dierry Jean 29-1 (20) on October 24th, which is a pretty safe bet as far as I’m concerned. Crawford and Broner are only two years apart in age, Terence is an inch and a half taller and holds a half inch advantage in reach. Broner has fought seven more times as a pro and they’re both fluid boxers with versatility, the biggest difference being Crawford is all business and isn’t interested in becoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. Lite. Terence also is very smart and doesn’t think he’s above learning boxing’s basics because of his immense skill. At their best Broner is more eye catchy, but in the big moment against truly elite fighters he has come undone by the pressure or by an opponent who really doesn’t give a damn about him or who he thinks he is. On the other hand, Crawford seems to me like he has a little Evander Holyfield in him and doesn’t fear anybody or worries about how good they are supposed to be.
Crawford seems to me to be on a mission and nothing is going to break his will or stand in his way. I get the sense that he truly believes he can’t be beat and doesn’t have to convince himself first and then his opponent just how good he is. Whereas Broner, from my perspective, is a front runner and is susceptible to coming undone and to mental demons if things aren’t going his way. And if they ever fought, I think character and constitution will go a long way in deciding who would win.
I think against second tier opposition, Broner is going to shine brighter and woo the fans more than Crawford will. His skill-set really stands out against fighters who do not possess tool one to beat him or challenge him with. On the other hand Crawford doesn’t freelance; he’s more methodical and deliberate in a very subtle and sophisticated manner. Both guys can box and punch, that’s obvious. The question is, which one of them when confronted by the other, has something else to fall back on when skill and physical brilliance isn’t quite enough? I say that’s Crawford. I can see Broner having his moments early against Crawford, and for a round or two he starts believing that he’s going to win. But I think that’s when Crawford’s versatility and fundamentals come into play. Crawford won’t become discouraged if he loses a couple rounds. In fact, I think that’ll push him even harder and we’ll see him slowly and purposely start to break Broner down and cause him to flinch before he’s even started to get thumped.
And once Crawford has command of the fight I don’t envision Broner ever turning the tide on him. On the other hand, I can see Crawford flipping the script even if he gets off to a slow start and loses a couple rounds. Broner has the speed and flash going for him. He’s Mayweather Lite without the IQ and defense. As for Crawford, he’s a little Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns Lite. Add to that I believe he’s the more mentally stable and tougher guy; that, along with his ability to adapt better, sways me to think if we see Crawford vs. Broner in the next year, I like Crawford by unanimous decision in a one-sided bout after the seventh or eighth round.
I’ll take ring discipline and intelligence over a guy who you just never know where his head is at. From what I’ve seen, Crawford is the harder man with more than enough skill and punch to burst Broner’s pipes.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com