LeBron James came home to Cleveland, and now Adrien "The Problem" Broner (28-1, 22 KO) is coming home to Cincinnati.
OK, it may not be the same thing, but Broner's homecoming is fairly noteworthy for the Ohio boxing scene. On Saturday, Broner will take on Emanuel "Tranzformer" Taylor (18-2, 12 KO) at the U.S. Bank Arena as the main event of a Showtime-televised card.
After losing to Marcos Rene Maidana in 2013, Broner is in the second stage of his comeback. He easily handled light-punching Carlos Molina in May. Now he sets his sights on Taylor as The Problem attempts to climb back into the world-title picture at 140 pounds.
Cincinnati is not normally the host of major fight cards, but Broner's star power has helped to bring the city to the forefront in the boxing world—at least for one night.
Here's a look at the rest of the card, per ESPN.com. It features two other big names and another local product in Rau'Shee Warren.
- Lucas Matthysse vs. Roberto Ortiz, 12 rounds, junior welterweights
- Andre Berto vs. Steve Upsher Chambers, 10 rounds, welterweights
- Terrell Gausha vs. TBA, eight or 10 rounds, middleweights
- Mike Perez vs. Jared Robinson, 10 rounds, junior welterweights
- Rau'Shee Warren vs. Jose Luis Araiza, 10 rounds, bantamweights
Fight Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014
TV Info: Showtime
Looking to Impress the Home Crowd
Not many former world champions hail from The Natti these days. The city has produced all-time greats like Ezzard Charles and Aaron Pryor, but over the last 20 years, Broner is the town's best hope for a boxing superstar.
The Problem has already won a world title in three weight classes, but most wouldn't consider him a superstar just yet. At only 25, he certainly has time, and his best days could still be ahead of him.
On Saturday, Broner will undoubtedly feel the pressure to dazzle his hometown crowd. He alluded to that in comments he made in a press release from Sho.com.
“It’s always good to fight at home," he said. "It’s overdue. I will not disappoint my Cincinnati fans. I’ll make sure to put up a good show for them. Taylor is a young, talented fighter, but he’s not ready to solve this ‘Problem.'”
With Broner, that could mean tons of in-ring antics as well as a boxing exhibition. Because he's fighting at home, the taunting and braggadocios comments he's become known for won't draw the boos they normally would. Thus, he should be as comfortable as ever on Saturday night.
Broner lovers won't want to miss it. Broner haters better have their barf bags ready.
Looking to Spoil the Homecoming
When you're a talented 23-year-old who hasn't quite scored that signature win in your career, you have to take fights against guys like Broner in their hometown.
Sure, the odds are against you, but if you can pull off the win, it'll be huge. That's clearly a concept that Taylor understands.
Per the aforementioned press release, Taylor said: “This is the biggest fight of my career, and I won’t let it get away from me. All of those hours in the gym were for a moment like this, and I can’t wait to show the world what I can do in the ring.”
Taylor is coming off a big win over Karim Mayfield in July, so there shouldn't be any ring rust or a lack of conditioning.
Per OddsShark.com, Taylor is listed as a clear underdog (11-2). Can he pull off the massive upset in The Problem's hometown?
In a fight like this, Taylor will have to dominate Broner to win a decision or knock him out. It seems almost impossible for him to win a close decision over Broner in Cincinnati.
That's an aspect of boxing that many fans hate. Luckily, it won't be an issue in this fight. Taylor lacks the footwork, hand speed and power to give Broner any real issues. Taylor often stands with his feet too close together, and it doesn't allow him to get as much leverage on his punches.
His hand speed is also not going to be on par with Broner's. Lastly, the lack of substantial power won't be enough to make Broner pay for his inconsistent defense.
Maidana was able to get to Broner because of his relentless style, underrated footwork and big punching power. The Tranzformer doesn't have a surplus of any of those three skills, and Broner will be the quicker fighter.
This all leads to a seventh-round TKO win for The Problem.
Follow Brian Mazique, aka FranchisePlay, the Sports Video Game Journalist.