The kid from the streets of Cincinnati thought he was taking on another tune up when he signed on to fight an old acquaintance in his hometown at the Cintas Center in Ohio last night. Adrien Broner who has been hand fed two comeback fights since losing to Shawn Porter two years ago, passed once again on a big name fight to entertain Showtime viewers with yet another. Enter Adrian Granados, a former sparring partner who gave as good as he got according to gym rats who witnessed the spirited encounters where both boxers fought their hearts out earning each other’s respect.
While Broner has won “a” belt in four different divisions his adversary is a hungry fighter who has yet to attain stardom in search of a big name dance partner. The intriguing backstory is that these two gents have been there for each other through personal problems and both admit to tasting the others fury in gym wars. This was a peculiar pick for Adrien “The Problem” Broner because even hardcore fans have not been acquainted with Granados until now. This promotion was more than just a catchy “Adrien Vs Adrian” bout, but more a pivotal fight pushing the loser back a tier. For “El Tigre” Granados a spirited outing would ensure prominence in the boxing community and a secure some good paydays in foreseeable future while another loss to his existing record of 18-4-2, 12 KO’s going into the fight relegate him to bottom of contender status list.
The Boxing world has been patiently waiting for Broner to comeback with his “A” game and resemble the terrific lightweight from just a few short years ago. Problem is, the “Problem” himself. Going into last night’s headliner, Broner has been suspect as to his dedication to the sport amid a myriad of personal issues as a hint of fame and stardom went to his head. In 2013, he won a split decision to welterweight champ Paulie Malignaggi that most ringsiders thought he lost. He went 5-2, 1 KO in his next 7 fights but being badly exposed and beat up by both Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter. Last year Broner passed on a 5 million dollar guarantee to face iconic WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao.
Broner fought only one fight in 2016 stopping gallant but over matched Ashley Theophane who fought evenly for 9 rounds before being stopped on a TKO. Big questions loomed this past week as to Broner’s dedication as this bout was supposed to be contested at 142 lbs, already a catch weight over junior welterweight when his camp realized there was no way in hell he would make the weigh in without chopping off an arm. Broner has a middleweight sized chest and the sheer reality is he is no longer a junior weltwerweight. It’s disgusting sportsmanship to pick on smaller foes and then at zero hour decree it’s another weight division with “take it or leave it “attitude. Yours truly would have been highly amused if Granados said “fuck it”, and sued both Broner and Showtime for breach of contract, training expenses, and loss of income. To his credit and warriors heart he accepted new challenge with a motivated vigor to seize the moment.
Both fighters weighed in Friday morning at 146 ½ each, but surprisingly it was Granados who was granted an hour to shed down from his first attempt at 148 lbs. He stands 5’9” and looks like he handled the extra weight easily on his still lean body. Broner looked a tad gaunt and the thought lingered in my mind over night as to what he would hydrate to. I’m for pushing state commissions to enforce a contracted limit on how much weight a boxer can reclaim before entering ring at fight time.
Setting the stage with both orthodox boxers with a 71” reach to unfold there is a fistic curiosity looming beyond the scope of what’s penciled in for main event. Is this a just going to be another fight for Broner? Just one of those bumps in the road until he accepts the challenge of a peer or is he about to be unmasked by a sparring partner who already tasted his best?
Before fight announcer Jim Gray asked Broner if it would be a difficult task fighting a good friend inside the ring. Broner’s retort, “Inside the ring I don’t give a fuck”….
Just before the bout the ring ropes needed to be tightened after the entire card fought with wobbly ring support. Granados entered ring at 156 1/2. Broner’s weight was undisclosed.
Opening round. El Tigre fighting off an adrenalin rush was busier throughout mixing boxing with strategic power flurries. AB countered and looked to hone his timing but clearly lost the round. Granados 10/ 9
Round 2: Both boxers fought evenly for the first two and a half minutes and landed equally until Granados last 20 second flurry and timing pulled out the round.
Granados 10/ 9
Round 3: Even though Granados has picked up a bloody nose somewhere in the previous stanza Granados backs Broner up 2 thirds of the round winning real estate and scoring points. Granados 10/ 9
Round 4: AB starts round on fire and throws some electric inside combinations for first minute. Nothing that Granados will do in next two can win back the momentum outside of a knockdown. Broner 10/ 9
Round 5: Both warriors fight as even a round as you’ll ever witness. Literally punch for punch with much of the action phone booth warfare. Round even. 10/10 draw
Round 6: This round evokes everything round five did but AB has landed the harder shots throughout even though they went toe to toe evenly for three full minutes. Broner: 10/ 9
Round 7: The boys are yet again competing equally that it takes a keen eye to pick up the change of momentum of the moments that carried the round. In this particular fight it is often predicated on last thirty seconds. Once again Granados has separated himself in final moments of round to steal it. Granados 10/9
Round 8: Granados wisely elects to move, box and only bang in chosen moments frozen in quick combos before circling and changing angles. Like the first round, he has controlled it nicely as Broner likes to keep his weight on his back foot and can’t compete in cutting off ring unless Granados elects to let him do so inviting him into the pocket. Broner has huge shoulders and thicker thorax where his body is better built for trench warfare. While I already have Tigre comfortably ahead I am puzzled why he insists on changing tactics and fighting Broner’s fight in the rounds he lost. Granados 10/9
Round 9: Once again Granados backs away from what has just worked and once again entertains Broner in a dogfight in ring center. Here AB has been throwing effective uppercuts all night and working both the left hook and right cross off of them with speed and power if not often clarity. Broner 10/9
Round 10: Granados wisely chooses to use the entire ring and pick his shots. On my scorecard Broner will need a knockdown to pull the rounds close enough for a possible draw. It never comes. Granados 10/9
Ringside Report scorecard: Granados: 97/94
After ten rounds and over 1000 punches throw official score card is a Split decision for hometown hero Adrian Broner.
Judge Robert Pope scored it 97/93 Broner
Judge Phil Rodgers scored it 97/93 Granados
Judge Steve Weisfield scored it 96/94 Broner
Post-fight ringside Granados rightfully claimed he was victim of hometown decision and asked Broner to meet him in rematch on his home turf of Chicago. Broner politely refused but invited Adrian to the post-fight victory party. Broner claimed to have injured his left hand as early as the first round and was unable to jab forcing him to seek refuge inside the pocket. Broner also publicly rededicated himself to the sport and promised to clean up his act from here on out for his fans and the teens who may idolize him.
The undercard featured Lamont Peterson winning a unanimous 12 round decision over David Avanesyan for WBA welterweight title. Both boxers had just come off long layoffs. Peterson entered ring with 16 months of rust while Avanesyan hadn’t fought since last May. The bout was a spirited affair mostly contested inside the pocket where both fighters had to maneuver angles to get good extension on their power shots. Interesting note; Lamont swept the last three rounds on all cards to ensure victory.
Final thoughts. It’s nice to welcome Peterson up to full-fledged welterweight where this cat always gives a good show and is worthy of some big payday opportunities ahead.
You can’t help but feel sorry for Adrian Granados as this kid has shown he can compete on a world stage and deserves rematch. All his decision losses he claims were robberies and has many boxing writers agreeing to his plight.
As for Broner you have to wonder what’s next. If this scrappy kid just undressed him what would the division’s elite do? Adrien can rededicate himself 24 hours a day but he simply isn’t a welterweight force of nature. I suspect he will continue to have Showtime find useful opponents to fill their boxing calendar while he steers clear of the true champions.
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