Cincinnati’s Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner is being touted as the ‘Next Big Thing’ in US boxing. A serial smack talker who insists that his father or his girlfriend brushes his hair prior to conducting his post fight ring interview, the 23-year-old ex WBO super-feather boss makes a formal rise to lightweight this Saturday when he challenges grizzled Mexican Antonio DeMarco for the WBC title at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
With Scottish star Ricky Burns defending his title against Liam Walsh on the big December 15th card at London’s ExCeL, there’s a strong possibility that whoever prevails will be pitched with the winner of Broner-DeMarco in the New Year and, consequently, the ever improving two-weight WBO champion’s head coach Billy Nelson has been scrutinising DeMarco and Broner intensely .
Here he provides boxing writer Glynn Evans with an in depth analysis of Saturday’s fight and explains why neither would present an insurmountable problem for his ward if and when a unification match is made.
“Despite Broner going in as challenger for the title, I expect he’ll enter as a heavy favourite but, for me, it’s certainly no foregone conclusion. DeMarco is a compact fighter who’s good at most things. He’s got a good accurate southpaw jab, hooks hard and has decent power; a particularly good left to the body. On the downside I don’t think DeMarco’s defence is too great. I’m not saying he’s easy to hit but he’s definitely hittable and appears susceptible to being cut.
“I’ve followed Broner’s last five or six fights and have to say I think he’s a wee bit overrated. When he became Ricky’s mandatory, when Ricky held the WBO super-featherweight title, I had no problems accepting Broner as an opponent. I wasn’t worried about him one jot. The only reason the Broner fight never happened then was because it became very apparent that Ricky could no longer make super-featherweight safely. We certainly weren’t ducking him. That annoys me.
“If Broner wins on Saturday, and a unification fight can be made up at lightweight, we’d snap their hands off. That’s the fight we want, trust me. Broner has an act but acts don’t hurt you. Words don’t hurt you. Punches hurt you as Broner will discover if ever he gets inside a ring with Ricky Burns. Broner definitely has good hand speed but he tries to mimic that Floyd Mayweather defence and he’s certainly not perfected it like Floyd has. He still takes enough shots and he’s not really fought at the elite level yet. Antonio DeMarco hits plenty hard enough to trouble him on Saturday night. If he lands clean, DeMarco possesses the power to hurt Broner, big time.
“And I think Broner has stamina issues. True, he’s only been taken into the deeper rounds a few times but, on the occasions that that has happened, he’s looked far from impressive. I actually thought he lost against Daniel Ponce De Leon (Broner unanimously won on points over ten rounds in March 2011). Broner’s not been 12 rounds yet and only past six rounds twice. If he does start flagging in the championship rounds, he’ll be found out by DeMarco.
“To win, DeMarco doesn’t want to get drawn into a brawl too early and definitely needs to keep his back away from the ropes. Broner can set cute traps, if you let him. My advice to DeMarco would be to box his way into the fight behind that long jab, then start switching his heavier shots, up and down. I don’t believe Broner’s as effective in the middle of the ring or when he has a high workrate to contend with. DeMarco then needs to start sinking in the body shots as early as possible in an attempt to draw the strength out of Broner.
“Either way, I expect it to go to points. I’m anticipating more of a technical fight with both very wary of the other’s power. That might suit Broner more and I think he should triumph. Most of DeMarco’s best wins have come against opponents who stood in front of him but I think he’ll have difficulty with Broner’s awkwardness. Broner’s skill set is definitely better.
“Whatever, I don’t think we’ll be watching anything that Ricky Burns will lose any sleep over. Ricky beats ’em both. Neither could cope with his range, speed or body shots and, as he showed against Kevin Mitchell, up at lightweight he hits every bit as hard as the other top guys in the division.
“Broner likes to fight at his own slow pace, similar to how Jeff Lacy did, and when you take them out of that comfort zone with workrate, they start to come apart at the seams.
“Also, thus far, down at super-feather, Broner has always enjoyed a notable size advantage. He’ll get the fright of his life when he sees the size of Ricky Burns, then has to cope with Ricky’s industry, speed and strength for 12 hard championship rounds.
“Don’t expect to see Broner’s daddy coming his hair after Ricky’s done with him!”