Based on statistics, the world title match between WBO titleholder Adrian “The Problem” Broner and number one challenger Eloy “The Prince” Perez should be an extremely close razor’s edge type of affair when they meet on Saturday.
Broner, 22, has that cocky confidence mixed with eye-popping athleticism and well-honed skills that have kept him unbeaten.
Perez, 25, has that street bred hunger to excel against more physically gifted opposition and he excels as the constant underdog.
The next step toward a more lucrative and fulfilling career takes place at St. Louis on Feb. 25, when Broner (22-0, 18 KOs) and Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs) physically and mentally test each other’s abilities. HBO will televise the Golden Boy Promotions event.
Amid the boxing world few outside of the hardcore fan know about Broner or Perez. Among casual sports fans they’re even less known. But on Saturday those lucky enough to watch the fight between undefeated pugilists will be witnessing one or the other’s real step into stardom.
Cincinnati’s Broner has been boxing since he was old enough to attend kindergarten and living in the Midwest city.
“I see Aaron Pryor and Tim Austin all the time. I see these guys a lot, they come around the gym they’re good guys,” said Broner whose last win was by knockout over Vicente Rodriguez. “I talk to all of them.”
The town known as “the Queen City” has produced a number of pro boxing’s finest prizefighters in history. Pryor, Austin, Ezzard Charles and a number of others have burned a place in the history books for their exploits.
One major tip Pryor gave to Broner has been etched in the 22-year-old’s brain bank.
“Pryor told me stay in shape. ‘As long as you’re in shape nobody can beat you,’ he told me,” said Broner.
So far the quick-fisted, agile moving junior lightweight has proven pretty capable of maintaining the status quo.
“To me they’re all the same,” said Broner about past and future challengers. “Going against me it doesn’t matter who they are, they’re going to leave with another loss.”
Just like the champion Broner, challenger Perez has never tasted defeat in his pro career.
“When he gets in the ring he’s going to know what it feels like to fight someone as good as he is. It’s not going to be an easy night,” said Perez, who has been a prizefighter for more than six years.
Perez began boxing in the Northwest and eventually moved south to California where he found a second home in Salinas. Sports of all kinds were an outlet for the dynamo.
In the ever-growing boxing gyms of Northern California he found another outlet for his boundless energy and quickly became a crowd favorite. It was a reliable asset that he used against supposedly bigger, stronger and faster opponents.
“It don’t matter what kind of fight it is,” says Perez, whose last win was a knockout over Ira Terry. “I’m not a matchmaker, I’m not a promoter. I’ll fight anybody they put in front of me.”
Lately, Perez has wielded seemingly new found power as proven by his back-to-back knockout victories.
“It’s just my body changing. I’m getting stronger, better, and faster,” claims Perez.
Both Perez and Broner are confident of victory. And why not? It’s that cockiness in their own abilities that has brought them to this point.
“I don’t care what he’s packing, how hard he hits, that don’t mean nothing if you can’t hit nothing,” Broner says.
The challenger believes he’s the antidote for “the Problem.”
“He has problems against Mexican fighters,” Perez counters.
Undefeated fighters like these are hard to come by.
“It’s going to be an explosive night for boxing,” said David Itskowitch, COO of Golden Boy Promotions.