Adrien Broner will face the stiffest test of his career on Saturday when he battles Antonio DeMarco in Atlantic City. The man they call The Problem is 24-0 with 20 KOs, and he has been adorned as one of boxing's best and brightest young stars.
He is making the jump to lightweight after thoroughly dominating his featherweight opponents, and because he could no longer consistently make the weight. At the age of 23, Broner is still growing into his frame.
He will challenge DeMarco for his WBC Lightweight title. The champion owns a record of 28-2-1 with 21 KOs, and he's a boxer-puncher that presents a different challenge for Broner. DeMarco is on a roll, he hasn't lost since 2010.
He dropped a decision to Edwin Valero in a fight that went to the scorecards after the ninth round in 2010. DeMarco hit Valero with an accidental elbow that opened a huge gash on Valero's forehead. He continued on and thoroughly out-fought DeMarco.
DeMarco did not come out for the 10th round, and Valero was awarded the KO victory.
Unfortunately, this was Valero's last fight. He committed suicide (ESPN) in jail after allegedly murdering his wife. The references to the Valero fight are significant because he was a power-punching lightweight.
Broner will be the first top-notch, hard-punching fighter DeMarco has faced since then. Can DeMarco stop Broner's ascension through the boxing ranks?
Here's show you can watch this fight to find out:
When: Saturday, November 17, 10 p.m. ET
Where: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J.
Live Stream: HBOGO (Pay Service)
Here's some deeper analysis into this upcoming bout:
The Book on Broner
Tale of the Tape (via BoxRec.com):
Nickname: The Problem
Birth Place: Cincinnati, OH
Broner is a great natural athlete.
He has excellent foot speed, good hand speed, agility and very good boxing instincts. He looks a lot like Floyd Mayweather in the ring, but he is naturally a harder puncher.
He hasn't quite mastered the shoulder roll defense as well as Mayweather has, but he is still very proficient at the style. His rare package of speed, instincts and raw power is what has experts excited about his present and future.
Check out this domination and KO of Eloy Perez. He finishes him at the 19-minute mark.
Honestly speaking, there may not be a featherweight or lightweight alive that can beat Broner, if he's serious and plugged in.
Broner's seemingly undisciplined approach towards making weight could be an issue against tougher opponents. As of now, he's been able to defeat opponents on talent alone, but if he meets the right guy on the wrong night, it could be his undoing.
He was overweight in his last bout against Vicente Escobedo, and that created a scenario where he had to pay Escobedo's camp extra cash just to keep the fight alive, per New York Post.
Broner would have defeated Escobedo anyway, but he can't continue this practice. Per Boxing Scene, Broner will have to pay DeMarco's camp double if he doesn't make weight. If that is again the case, you have to wonder if at some point this lack of professionalism will cost him in the ring.
Broner is three inches shorter than DeMarco, but his long arms and speed make up for that height difference.
He needs to slowly walk DeMarco down in this fight. His defense, lateral movement and instincts are good enough to pick off DeMarco's jabs and the combination of the three should present counter-punching opportunities.
If he stays patient—which is generally never a problem for Broner—he should be able to stop DeMarco in the mid to late rounds.
The Book on DeMarco
Tale of the Tape (Via BoxRec.com)
Nickname: Tony de Marco
Birth Place: Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico
DeMarco is very accurate with his jab and straight left. He has good power and decent speed. He's a hungry fighter who has shown great determination in the past. His come-from-behind victory against Jorge Linares in October, 2011 to win the title is one example of that.
Defensively, he keeps his guard high and transitions well from guard to attack.
Take a look at this devastating finish of John Molina in September.
DeMarco can be overwhelmed with pressure. I point to the Valero fight as an example. It could have been Valero's southpaw stance contributing to DeMarco's uncomfortable performance, but he appeared intimidated as well.
He did not handle the aggression properly, and Valero controlled the ring and the tempo of the fight. DeMarco's thin frame seemed to be a disadvantage, especially in close quarters.
He is moved off balance too easily, and that can obviously be a detriment.
Who will win this fight?
The way to beat a fighter that employs the shoulder roll is to use an accurate jab while mixing in short 1-2 combinations. He'll have to bring his hands back quickly enough after punching to combat Broner's counters after he rolls.
DeMarco goes from defense to offense well, but is only decent transitioning from offense to defense. He'll need to be on his A-Game in that department to handle Broner.
He has a tough assignment because he stands to do his best work from distance, but that is also where Broner's athletic advantages will shine brightest.
DeMarco has some of the tools to be competitive in this fight, but he needs several factors to go his way.
DeMarco is a very good fighter, but unfortunately for him, he'll be facing a potentially great fighter. Unless Broner is off his game or mentally detached, he will stop DeMarco between the sixth and ninth round.
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