By Brian Grammer and Clint Rosser at ringside
Photos: Scott Foster
Former WBO super featherweight champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner (24-0, 20 KOs) remains unsolved as he methodically picked apart Vincente Escobedo (26-4, 15 KOs) in a dominating performance, finishing off his opponent in the fifth round via TKO on Saturday night at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. Broner remained completely composed as controversy swirled around this bout, with Broner losing his WBO junior lightweight title on the scale Friday by coming in 3.5 pounds overweight. Broner also failed an agreed upon weight Saturday morning, but the bout continued as he paid Escobedo an undisclosed sum. Broner was able to land with both hands, not worrying too much about the punches from the smaller Escobedo and in the final round, he let go from all angles and Escobedo was unable to defend himself. Midway through the round, he landed a right hand that hurt Escobedo and then as he felt the energy pulsing through the crowd, he windmilled the right hand, and then followed Escobedo along the ropes, pounding away to his body. Escobedo’s corner frantically waved a towel for 10 seconds, trying to get the attention of the referee, and mercifully, he turned their way, stopping the contest. Time was 2:42.
Unbeaten welterweight Keith Thurman (18-0, 17 KOs) dominated Orlando Lora (29-3-2, 19 KOs) over the course of six rounds, finally scoring the TKO at 1:38 of the sixth. Thurman landed with both hands at will, letting Lora come to him and then abusing him with shots to both the body and head. The knockout came from a hook, right hand combination, sending Lora scooting backward on the canvas. Lora’s corner was up on the apron instantly, waving a towel, followed closely behind by a commission member who took the towel and waved it in front of the referee.
Lightweight Omar Figureroa (19-0-1, 15 KOs) scored an uninspiring 10 round decision over Dominic Salcido (18-4, 9 KOs). Figueroa landed the heavier blows in this contest, as he kept Salcido off balance by switching between southpaw and conventional the entire bout. In the exchanges where Figueroa would let his hands go, he was able to get off first and the counterpunching from his opponent just couldn’t keep pace. Neither fighter was ever in serious danger tonight although Figueroa put rounds in the bank with his body attack. Boos rained down from the stands for most of the bout as the competitors stood in the ring, throwing punches, but not with much steam on them. At the 10 second warning, both fighters let their hands go and the crowd let loose a sarcastic cheer.
Official scorecards read 97-93, 98-92, 97-93.
Middleweight Chris Pearson (7-0, 4 KOs) won by TKO at 2:08 of round two over Angel Hernandez (14-11-1, 11 KOs). Hernandez came out early in round one attempting to land something solid but Pearson was able to use his stellar defense and wait for Hernandez to tire down to take control of the round. Hernandez again came out aggressive in round two, but Pearson made him pay for his sloppiness by sending him to the canvas for the first time in the fight with a short left to the ear. Hernandez is able to continue only to get knocked down a secon d time by a lighting fast straight left. Once again Hernandez lifts himself off the canvas but Pearson comes straight at him to end the bout with an overhand left. Time 2:08.
Queen City native, junior lightweight Brandon Bennett (14-0, 7 KOs) survived a slow start and a flash knockdown in the first to win an 8 round majority decision over John Nater (9-2, 8 KOs). This contest had a very slow pace and the action occurred in spurts. Nater was able to connect with a solid right hand in the first, sending Bennett to canvas. Bennett was able to immediately jump to his feet, showing no ill effects from the punch. Not much action until the fourth when a counter left hook from Nater landed on the winner’s chin, with only the ropes to hold him up, but no knockdown was declared. Bennett picked up the pace in the second half of the contest, getting his left hand going, clipping Nater on the top of the head. Nater hung on after the shot and the when the two fighters were separated, a point was deducted from Nater’s side of the card for holding. Bennett was able to keep the pace going through closing bell, winning the contest, but no scores were announced.
Late replacement, Danny Calhoun made his professional debut at heavyweight a successful one, landing one-two combinations on Quincey Palmer, (3-2, 3 KOs) in repetition. After a minute of getting his feel for the ring, Calhoun dropped a right hand on Palmer, sending him into a corner. Calhoun, then let the artillery fly, landing combo after combo until Palmer stuck the upper half of his body between the ropes in an effort to escape the barrage, forcing the referee to stop the contest. Time of the TKO was 2:09 of the first round.
Junior lightweight Ra’eese Aleem (5-0, 2 KOs) won a four round unanimous decision over DeVonte Allen (4-2-1, 3 KOs). Aleem controlled this bout from opening bell through the end of the fight. Aleem being the shorter fighter was able to shorten the distance and land both his right and left whenever he wanted. In round one Aleem landed several combinations including a strong left hook that stunned Allen but he was able to regroup and finish the round. Later in the fight Aleem once again put on the pressure and connected on a thunderous left hook that sent Allen’s mouth piece flying into press row. As round four began Allen knew he needed to get aggressive and score a knockdown but Aleem would have nothing to do with it as he stunned Allen late in the round that sent him retreating and looking to hold the rest of the round. Scores were 40-36 on all judges’ cards.