On Saturday night, live from Cincinnati, flashy 22-year-old Adrien "The Problem" Broner (23-0 19 KO's) defends his WBO Super Featherweight title against tough veteran Vicente Escobedo (26-3 15 KO's). Broner's had a somewhat easy title reign thus far, but Escobedo is a quality fighter who should provide him with his first major test when they meet on Saturday.
So, here's a quick breakdown of the fight, with my prediction as well.
When you talk about Adrien Broner, the first thing that comes to mind is that he's young, brash and cocky, but also very talented. Broner has terrific hand and foot speed, and very heavy hands. He's also a big guy for the 130-pound weight class, and looks as if he could one day fight as high as 147 pounds.
Broner's fighting style is the exact opposite of his personality. When he's talking in front of the cameras, he's borderline arrogant and somewhat immature (although I'm a big fan of his trash talk, I think he's hilarious). But when he steps into the ring, he's all business and he totally changes his mindset.
Broner fights with the pace and skill of a wily veteran, picking his shots and being very careful not to make mistakes. He fights out of a really wide stance, but he makes it work and makes his opponents pay if they make technical errors.
He also combines being technically proficient with blazing fast hands and real knockout power. Broner is kind of like Floyd Mayweather, but with higher punch volume and more power. He's got the talent to one day be a Top 5 pound-for-pound type of fighter, he's that good.
He talks a lot of trash, but has thus far backed it up in the ring.
Who wins on Saturday?
In Vicente Escobedo, you have a fighter who fights behind a strong jab and is capable of putting his punches together nicely. He doesn't have the speed or power of Broner, but he's certainly no slouch. Escobedo is a world-class fighter and won't be blown out like other Broner opponents have been as of late.
Escobedo has a nice 1-2 combo that he can use to disrupt the rhythm of Broner, something that will be key if he wants to pull off the victory. Escobedo also goes to be body very well, which he'll need to do early and often to wear down the younger, stronger Broner.
At 5'8" Escobedo is also an inch taller than Broner. While this may seem inconsequential, Broner's used to being the bigger guy with the longer reach. Escobedo must use this to his advantage and make sure to keep Broner on the end of his jab.
If he lets Broner get to work and doesn't keep him at bay with a consistent jab, it's going to be a long day for Escobedo.
So, who's going to win? I think that it's going to be a very good action fight, with Broner pulling out a tough, close, but clear-cut unanimous decision victory, somewhere in the neighborhood of 116-112. If Broner can stop Escobedo though, it would be very impressive, as Escobedo has never been knocked out in 29 career fights.
Escobedo is really tough and has a good chin, so don't be shocked if he wins a couple of early rounds. However, Broner has elite talent and it's going to be very hard for Escobedo to pull off an upset. Pardon the pun, but Broner will just be too strong and too fast, and will cause too many problems for Escobedo on Saturday night.
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