This past Saturday night 23 year old Adrien Broner 25-0 (21) took apart Antonio DeMarco 28-3-1 (21) to capture the WBC lightweight title. Going into the fight Demarco sported the reputation as being a rugged guy who could really crack. However, if you never saw him fight prior to Broner, you'd think that he couldn't punch, couldn't defend a jab, cross, hook or uppercut, and you could time his punches better with a sundial than a stop watch. Sadly, as long as Broner is in front of him, all of that may be true.
Boxing fans, Broner is the real deal and he may even be better than you think. Not only has he mastered the "bad guy wearing the black hat" persona as Floyd Mayweather has, he's a more imaginative offensive fighter and is physically stronger pound-for-found. Oh, and he may just put his hooks and uppercuts together even quicker and more fast than Mayweather when he was at his best. They may be close regarding how quick they get off with their jabs and crosses, but Broner is quicker and commits more to his finishing and set up punches.
Then there's the boxing aptitude of Broner. Within the first half of the opening round of the fight, Broner saw that the only shots that Demarco could hope to get off with against him were his long straight shots and one-twos. However, Adrien seemed to keep his eyes on Demarco's's elbows, knowing that he couldn't cut loose without moving them, therefore, when he saw Antonio's elbows move, he moved off to his blindside ever so slightly and caused his punches to just miss him. This is a tactic that kept him in range without having to move his feet and enabled him to pepper and counter Demarco off the miss.
From a strategic perspective, DeMarco did the right thing. By trying to use his longer arms and force Broner to go around them should have presented Broner with some problems. In addition to that, if he did land any solid straight rights or lefts, Broner would be knocked back on his heels and be too far out of range to counter. Yes, that's what the cookbook would've called for going into the fight. The only problem with that was Broner could stay in front of him and wait until DeMarco's punches were on their way, and then react, a luxury of being blessed with natural and physical gifts that most athletes or fighters aren't usually born with.
When DeMarco feinted and didn't commit, Broner made him pay with flashy one-twos. And when he committed to his punches, he paid even worse. And that leads a fighter to become glove shy, which is what eventually happened to DeMarco. Once Broner sensed that, it was easy for him to take what ever liberties he wanted whenever he wanted and unloaded his full arsenal and punch assortment. Then it just became a matter of time before DeMarco was gonna end up being stopped.
The report above regarding Broner is quite glowing. So with that said, let me say what really stood out for me. And that was Broner's core physical strength. Knowing that DeMarco can punch a bit, and did so to the body when he realized it was senseless going to Broner's head, did you notice anything? I did. And that was Broner never once broke off one exchange and held his ground for as long as he wanted. And sometimes he did that without even punching. This is a true indicator that Adrien Broner is a very physically strong boxer.
By the way, aside from Mayweather (who's responsible for making it popular) and Toney (and maybe Chris Byrd, to a degree), nobody who uses or used that shoulder roll actually completely understands how it functions and transitions from offense to defense and back to offense like Broner showed he's capable of doing.
No, Broner may not be a life-taker when it comes to punching power--but he can hit. He probably couldn't throw a baseball through a carwash without it getting wet, but his strength is very ring applicable and that will be a problem for any lightweight or junior welterweight that he faces, just as much as his hand speed and punch variation.
Adrien Broner is now the most must-see boxer in the sport, not Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. Broner is gonna fill out and grow stronger as he moves up in weight. He also seems less risk averse than Mayweather did 25 fights into his career, which of course will make for more compelling fights down the road for boxing fans. And that's a good thing.
Lastly, it looks like Broner is going to incorporate a lot of Ali and Mayweather antics into how he sells and markets himself, which will no doubt bring the fans out for his fights. Hopefully there will be some formidable challengers for Adrien down the road and just maybe he can deliver boxing an infusion of excitement that it so badly needs. At the end of the day it starts and end with the fighters, and Adrien Broner is a real fighter who just arrived and looks as if, like Andre Ward, he's on his way to realizing greatness.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com