Two elite pound-for-pound boxers meet on Saturday night in what has the makings of an exciting brawl, when Shawn Porter faces Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout, fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds, is part of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.
Broner (30-1) has won three consecutive fights since his unanimous-decision loss to Marcos Maidana in Dec. 2014, holding off Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor and John Molina Jr. in unanimous decisions. He used a very tactical approach against John Molina, not throwing too many power punches. In fact, that has been somewhat of a trend of late, with Broner having failed to knock out his last five opponents after a string of six consecutive knockouts. The speedy Broner has very good balance, and has become highly effective with his jab. The 25-year-old has a strong left hook, as well.
The blemish against Maidana was an important indicator of Broner's ability to take punishment but continue fighting. In an exciting contest, the Argentine knocked down Broner in the second round with a hard left hook. But Broner showed resilience against one of boxing's top stars, even after a knockdown in the eighth round and a controversial headbutt by Maidana moments later. Though Maidana won convincingly, Broner proved he could endure 12 rounds of punishment and finish a fight with some impressive flurries. That experience may serve him well against Porter.
“Even if it is a hard fight, I’m going to win this fight,” Broner said at a recent news conference. “They say he’s strong, they say he comes like a bulldozer …whatever they bring to the table, I’m ready.”
Porter (25-1-1) is a highly aggressive boxer and one of the more under-rated punchers in the welterweight division. The 27-year-old has a great chin, and doesn't hesitate in trading punches. His lone loss came in a tight bout with British star Kell Brook at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Porter was making only his second title defense of his IBF welterweight title, and lost in a majority decision despite landing some sharp punches. He followed up the loss by earning a convincing knockout win in March over Erick Bone, who admirably filled in at the last moment for no-show Roberto Garcia.
While Broner is the bigger name between the two, Porter has defeated notable competition such as Devon Alexander and Paul Malignaggi. It will be interesting to see if Porter decides to be more defensive against the hard-hitting Broner. Another intriguing aspect of the fight will be Porter's effectiveness as 144 pounds.
“I haven’t looked at this as a catch weight, but as a weight class,” Porter said. “My weight class is 144. Anything that he expects to gain from having me come down to 144, he’s not going to get it.”
Las Vegas might be the wrong setting for the fight considering where both boxers grew up. Ohio might have been the better location, as Broner is a native of Cincinnati, while Porter is from Akron.
Prediction: This should be a very interesting fight. Broner would be wise to take a more defensive posture, and be selective with his hooks and power punches. Porter may have enough to defeat Broner by simply throwing a lot of punches, and baiting Broner into a slugfest. Expect the fight to have several close rounds.
Porter in a majority decision