Mayweather vs. Maidana Undercard: Preview and Prediction for Broner vs. Molina

Kevin McRae@@McRaeWritesFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

Mayweather vs. Maidana Undercard: Preview and Prediction for Broner vs. Molina

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    Eric Gay

    Former three-division world champion Adrien "The Problem" Broner seeks to rebound from his first career defeat, taking on lightly regarded Carlos Molina on the undercard of "The Moment: Mayweather vs. Maidana."

    Broner, who was last seen jetting from the ring without comment after getting stomped by Marcos Maidana and losing his welterweight title, decided that a move to 140 pounds would be best for his career. He's got a ton to prove in this fight and has chosen an opponent that likely won't do much to silence his growing chorus of critics.

    Molina was unknown before he signed up to face Amir Khan in December 2012. Like Broner now, Khan was looking for a safe fight to get him back on track after a loss, and that's what he got, pummeling Molina until his corner stopped the fight after Round 10.

    And Broner, given all the hype and comparisons—most of which were self-proclaimed—finds himself backed into something of a corner. He needs a win, and he needs to do it in spectacular fashion.

    Read on to find out if he'll get it. This is your complete preview and prediction for Broner vs. Molina.

Tale of the Tape

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    All stats and information per

     Adrien BronerCarlos Molina
    Record27-1, 22 KO17-1-1, 7 KO
    Weight144.5 lbs (Last Fight)139.75 lbs (Last Fight)
    HometownCincinnati, OhioLos Angeles, California
    Rounds Boxed122104
    Last FightL UD 12 Marcos Maidana (12/14/13)L RTD 10 Amir Khan (12/15/12)

Main Storylines

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Broner, nicknamed The Problem, had tons of problems with Maidana in December, as you can see in the above photo. He looked completely out of his depth, didn't know what to do when the Argentine slugger let his hands go and then unceremoniously dipped out of the ring without comment after his defeat was announced.

    From every possible perspective—in the ring, outside of the ring, marketability—he just had an awful night, and so many of the wounds being self-inflicted, he didn't get any sort of break from the boxing community.

    A loss like that, given all the circumstances and perceptions of what led him there—overconfidence being primary—is the type of thing you'd expect to humble a fighter. But if that's what you expect, you don't know Broner. He doesn't plan to change his personality, but for his sake, he'd better change his in-ring approach.

    Molina is being brought to the MGM Grand on Saturday night as an opponent and little more. As of this writing, he remains an absolutely massive underdog, according to Odds Shark, and a win would be one of the bigger upsets we've seen in quite some time.

    The California native was wholly unknown before Khan selected him as a get-healthy opponent after his devastating defeat to Danny Garcia. In the fight, Molina certainly gave it his all, but he was overwhelmed and outgunned by the Brit's speed and power.

    The crazy thing is, he hasn't fought since. That's a very long layoff, and it's not going to do anything to up his chances or the credit Broner would receive for beating him.


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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Broner has received an avalanche of criticism since losing to Maidana, and the bandwagon that had been growing exponentially suddenly has a ton of seats. Now, much of the criticism—particularly about his in- and out-of-ring antics—is justifiable, but the man is still a three-division world champion. 

    He has tremendous physical talent and natural boxing skills. His hand speed has the potential to be elite, but he needs to be willing to let his hands go more. In the lower weight divisions—super featherweight and lightweight—his punching power was huge.

    Broner's best performance to date came against Antonio DeMarco in 2012. In that fight, he attacked relentlessly and showed how his combination of speed and power could overwhelm a world-class opponent. The skills are definitely there, but it's up to Broner to make sure they're put to good use.

    Molina is a tough customer. He's rugged, determined and will continue pressing for a win even when it would seem that he's completely outclassed. That's how he fought Khan, and while he never came close to winning—he even tagged the notoriously shaky-chinned Khan with a few good shots but did little damage—he never quit trying.

    It was his corner—and not the fighter himself—who pulled him from that affair, saving him from further unnecessary punishment.

    Molina does have the added motivation of expecting this to possibly be his last real shot at the bright lights of boxing. He hasn't fought in over a year, and a loss here would likely confine him to the outworlds of the sport.


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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Broner probably made the right call by dropping down to junior welterweight. His skills and talents just didn't seem to translate well at 147 pounds, and he was physically manhandled by Maidana in his last bout. Dropping back down in weight should do him some good, especially given how imposing he seemed at 130 and 135 pounds.

    The Problem sometimes has issues with his activity rate. Even in bouts that he's won, he's often seemed reluctant to really commit and let his hands go. He falls into these lulls where even a light-hitting—see his fight with Paulie Malignaggi—foe can outwork him. It would be shocking for that to happen in this fight, but you never know.

    Broner also struggles with adapting in the ring. Against Maidana, he made startlingly few adjustments, seeming content to hope his foe would punch himself out. Obviously, that didn't happen, and it cost him.

    Molina is rugged, for sure, but there's nothing about him that wows you or even really impresses you. He was wholly outclassed by Khan and showed tremendous deficiencies. 

    Granted, he came into that fight with an undefeated record, but he hadn't then and certainly hasn't now scored a single victory over anything resembling world-class opposition.

    Molina isn't overly fast, his power is negligible—he clocked Khan with more than a couple of big shots and did no damage—and he has very little chance of winning this fight.

Adrien Broner Will Win If...

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Broner should have little difficulty winning this fight. Stylistically, it sets up very well for him, and the natural advantages he'll bring into the ring should be enough to overwhelm an opponent who—unless he has another gear he's never shown before—isn't really much more than average.

    The Problem needs to be aggressive—this fight is one where it seems how he wins is the most important factor—using his speed and power to carve Molina up with sharp, powerful punches and maintaining a high level of activity.

    The worst thing he can do is attempt to be too cute, settling into a lull that allows Molina, who is a hard-charging foe despite his obvious limitations, to outwork him and steal rounds.

    No, Broner needs a statement here. And that means not letting this guy hang around for the full 10 rounds.

    Attack is the order of the day, and if he does, maintaining a solid work rate that exploits his physical advantages, he should win this fight with ease.

Carlos Molina Will Win If...

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    You really never want to say never, but this fight is pretty darn close to that territory.

    There's a reason Molina was chosen for this occasion rather than any number of potentially tougher foes. But don't blame Broner too much for that. He wanted an immediate rematch with Maidana, but bigger and better things beckoned the Argentine, and he's off to take his shot at the boxing lottery.

    That's probably for the best too.

    Molina's chances of winning this fight appear slim, but if it were to happen, it would probably require a combination of factors.

    Broner would need to completely overlook him, which is not totally implausible given the nearly universal dismissal of this fight as a challenge for him.

    And Molina would need to hope that Broner remains inactive enough to allow him to win rounds by outworking him. That and he'll need to avoid big punches from The Problem.

    If all of those things happen, then maybe, just maybe, Molina can win this fight.

And the Winner Will Be...

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Broner will win this fight, and it won't be terribly close. 

    It's certainly understandable that a fighter coming off a loss, particularly the first of his career, would want to take a showcase fight to get back into the win column, but this one won't do anything to quell the upheaval that's followed him since getting brutalized by Maidana.

    A win—and in spectacular fashion—is what's expected here, and anything less would have to be viewed as a troubling development.

    Broner is leaps and bounds faster, stronger and better than Molina, at least that's how it's appeared throughout their careers to this point.

    Look for The Problem to come out early, attack with some ferocity and try to overwhelm his opponent. But Molina is gutsy and durable, at least he was when he faced Khan.

    He'll stick around for a bit, but Broner will eventually overwhelm him in the middle rounds.

    Prediction: Broner TKO 7 Molina