More than six weeks have past since Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao squared off in a welterweight championship fight so grandiose that it shattered all types of financial records and had A-list celebrities jostling for seats.
But to many viewers, the fight was not satisifying, and the $99 that the pay-per-view audience shelled out was an inflated price for what amounted to a very tactical effort by both boxers, and lacking in any serious power punches. Only certain purists may have felt that Mayweather-Pacquiao lived up to the hype.
It's the aftertaste of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao that has perhaps added to the growing interest of other boxers and fights in 2015. One of the galvanizing forces has been Premier Boxing Champions, which has broadcasted high-profile fights on network television, and has received solid ratings. In the process, the fights have generally been entertaining, and have showcased rising stars who might challenge the likes of Mayweather and Pacquiao. In fact, the debut of PBC showcased Robert Guerrero, a boxer who fought Mayweather in 2013, against Keith Thurman, a boxer who has a growing chance to become Mayweather's final opponent. Those types of fights have often been more action-packed than pay-per-view championship bouts.
A perhaps similar PBC fight will take place this Saturday at the very same location where Mayweather and Pacquiao fought on May 2, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. There will be no exhausting lead up and red-carpet hoopla when Adrien Broner (30-1) battles against Shawn Porter (25-1-1) in Sin City, but there should be plenty of action. These are two talented boxers in their prime years, and battling for a big payday.
If either boxers' past fights are an indication of what's to come, Broner and Porter could exchange plenty of hard punches and provide plenty of exciting rounds. Porter has an excellent chin, and has shown a willingness to throw serious knockout punches. He also has an overall aggressive style that throws off the timing of his opponents.
Porter's strength overwhelmed Paul Malignaggi, who is considered a solid and experienced fighter in the welterweight division. Malignaggi, 34, will face rising star Danny Garcia in August, and has already met the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Amir Khan, and even Broner. Malignaggi said he was shocked by Porter's punching power, after losing in a technical knockout in the fourth round.
"I didn't expect that from Porter. I didn't expect the power that would hurt me like that," Malignaggi said.
Porter, whose biggest win was against Devon Alexander, will put that power on display against Broner, who has grown into a high-profile welterweight. Broner has a very good jab, but can be baited into a slugfest. Like Mayweather, Broner uses the shoulder roll, but not even close to the same effectiveness. Should Broner rely on it too much, he could be victimized by Porter's heavy work rate.
But Broner's talent cannot be downplayed. He moves around the ring well, and is good at timing his punches. His convincing loss in 2013 to Marcos Maidana was considered a major upset at the time, but there was a silver lining on the cloud. Maidana proved in two fights against Mayweather that he can compete against the best. Since losing to Maidana, Broner has has gone the distance and won against his last three opponents.
“I believe I showed a lot more in [the fight against Maidana], taking that loss, than I did in my biggest wins,” he told Yahoo! Sports. “I got off the canvas and turned the fight around. I fought my ass off when it would have been easy for me to go, ‘Oh, this isn’t my night. Maybe next time.’ I didn’t do that. I fought."
There is a bit of a grudge entering the fight, as well. Porter has been outspoken about the catch weight of 144, and is bothered by Broner's indifference about it.
“We’ve known for weeks now that the contracted weight is supposed to be 144,” said Porter in a Monday conference call. “Here we are doing everything we need to do as professionals to be on weight, be on point, be 100 percent. And the kid who chose to make the contracted weight 144 wishes not to talk about the contracted weight, wishes not to talk about any rehydration clause, wants to avoid any conversation involving weight limits or anything like that.”
Indeed, Broner vs. Porter is one of the more tantalizing fights of 2015. Both fighters have something to prove, much like other similar showdowns this year. In April, Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse had a memorable and extremely close fight. Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland energized a large crowd at Minute Maid Park in May.
These types of fights may also put to rest, for some people at least, that the only fights worth watching are the ones involving the most famous boxers.