Adrien Broner vs. Adrian Granados: Preview and Prediction for Upcoming Bout

Briggs Seekins@BriggsfighttalkFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2017

Adrien Broner vs. Adrian Granados: Preview and Prediction for Upcoming Bout

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    One of boxing's more well-known names returns to action in his hometown this Saturday night, when Adrien Broner faces Adrian Granados at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

    Broner and Granados are interesting dramatic foils for each other. While the former has been heavily promoted and carefully groomed during his career, the latter is very much a graduate from the school of hard knocks. 

    They are both top-five fighters at super lightweight, making this a highly relevant fight.

Tale of the Tape

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images
    Per Boxrec Adrien BronerAdrian Granados
    Record:32-2, 24 KOs 18-4-2, 12 KOs
    Height:5'6"5'9"
    Reach:69"74"
    Weight:147 lbs147 lbs
    Age:2727
    Stance:OrthodoxOrthodox
    Hometown:Cincinnati, OhioCicero, Illinois
    Rounds:189135

    This bout was originally slated to be fought at a catchweight of 142 pounds, two over the 140-pound super lightweight limit where both men have recently campaigned. But Granados revealed during a conference call last week that Broner's camp requested a move to 147 pounds instead. 

    Granados is significantly taller and longer than Broner, but I still expect him to press the action into a close range.

    This bout is taking place in Broner's hometown, where he is very popular. Crowd reactions could play a role in shaping the judges' decisions.

Main Storylines

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    A half decade ago, Broner was being billed as the future of the sport. While nobody can deny that he has world-class talent, his career has not lived up to the early hype. 

    Broner is billed as a "four-division world champion," but that is promotional hyperbole. He won the vacant WBO super featherweight title by knocking out Vicente Martin Rodriguez in November 2011.

    It remains Rodriguez's only bout in the United States and, three fights after losing to Broner, he was knocked out by 22-19-3 Sergio Escobar. 

    Broner captured the WBA welterweight title by a contested split decision over Paulie Malignaggi, who was then among the sport's weakest belt holders. He won the vacant WBA super lightweight title against Khabib Allakhverdieva second-tier contenderand lost it on the scales in his first defense. 

    The only time he won a title by defeating a true, top fighter in the division was when he stopped Antonio DeMarco for the WBC lightweight belt in November 2012.

    In his two biggest fights, Broner came up short, getting hammered by Marcos Maidana in December 2013 and outhustled by Shawn Porter in June 2015. 

    Granados' rise through the ranks was a vivid contrast to Broner's. He has four losses on his record, all of them disputed. His big break came in November 2015, when he battered Amir Iman, one of the sport's hottest prospects, stopping him in Round 8. 

    To me, the last-minute change in contractual weight, from 142 to 147 pounds, is an interesting item to note. In every interview I have seen with Broner during the buildup to this bout, he has sounded like a more mature, centered fighter.

    A focused Broner could be good for the sport.

    But given history, it is hard not to wonder if a failure to get down to his best fighting weight is not a sign that Broner still lacks some of the mental toughness necessary to be a prizefighting superstar.  

Strengths

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    Broner has blazing hand speed and explosive pop in his punches. He has the ability to catch an opponent short with the check hook.

    Broner has very good head and shoulder movement, allowing him to make an opponent miss before punishing him in return with jolting counters. 

    Granados is a tough, physical fighter. He is an energetic, high-volume puncher who applies pressure, backs his opponents up and generally makes it hard for them to breathe.

Weaknesses

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    Broner is at times very lazy in the boxing ring, allowing himself to get outworked while he loafs and waits for the opening for a flashy combination or jolting lead hook. It got him beaten up by Marcos Maidana and cost him the decision against Shawn Porter. 

    He will find himself falling behind against Granados, if he is unwilling to match his pace. 

    Granados is an aggressive, come-forward fighter, which leaves him open to get hit. Despite possessing very good length, he prefers wide, clubbing punches. If he leaves Broner a lot of space to hit him, the fight could go south for him in a hurry.

Adrien Broner Will Win If...

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    Broner needs to use a quick, stiff jab to disrupt Granados' ability to come forward and impose himself physically. Then he will need to use the entire ring to move about and set traps for El Tigre.

    He wants to catch Granados coming forward, throwing lead rights and check hooks inside of him in wide, frenetic flurries. 

    The big question for me is whether or not Broner will be well-conditioned enough to handle the pace Granados is going to force. The previously mentioned change in weight for this fight suggests to me that Broner might not be in top shape for this fight. 

    But if the Ohioan can control the pace with his jab and use his legs to move and set up sharp hooks and straight rights, he will have a good chance to slow Granados down as the fight progresses.

    Granados certainly leaves plenty of holes in his defense, so Broner should be able to land on him. 

    If he can do it often enough, the damage will pile up and Broner will win.

Adrian Granados Will Win If...

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    The game plan for this fight with Broner needs to be pretty similar to what Granados did when he stopped Amir Imam in November 2015. He has to fight aggressively and fearlessly, throwing punches in high volume while imposing his larger physical frame on his opponent. 

    He wants to back Broner up and trap him against the ropes, where his advantages in hand and foot speed will do him no good. 

    I would like to see Granados move forward behind an aggressive jab. With a five-inch advantage in reach, he can catch Broner first and then swarm him. 

    Granados can win this fight by waging an aggressive, relentless effort. If he does, he will walk away as one of the hottest fighters in the sport below welterweight.

Prediction

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    If boxing matches were won on talent alone, Broner would be a heavy favorite to win.

    Granados is certainly talented in his own right, but Broner's natural ability is rare. There is a reason he was embraced early in his career as a prodigy.

    Granados has shown the kind of toughness and grit that can triumph over advantages in talent. He did it in November 2015 against Imam and will come to the ring expecting to do it again against Broner come Saturday night. 

    Expect this fight to be a battle and expect Granados to start quickly. Ultimately, though, Broner will be able to get off first and control the pace of the fight. Once he begins to frustrate Granados with his jab and movement, he will start finding the space to land his power shots. 

    This will be a competitive and hard-fought battle, but Broner will do enough to win the majority of rounds. 

    Going forward, Broner needs to get back down to super lightweight. His best options for big fights are definitely at 140 pounds.