Adrien Broner, one of boxing’s most controversial characters, will return to the ring this weekend. Ohio’s Cintas Center will play host, with Showtime and Boxnation airing the action. On the surface, Adrian Grandados looks like a fairly weak dance partner, but there’s a lot more to this fight than meets the eye. Granados is a known spoiler, and Broner’s two career defeats came against similar busy, aggressive, iron-willed types. Let’s take a look at this Junior Welterweight showdown.
Tale of the Tape:
Record: 32-2, 24 KO – Born: Ohio, USA – Age: 27 – Height / Reach: 5′ 6″ / 69″ – Stance: Orthodox – KO Ratio: 69% – Last 5: 4-1, 2 KO – Rounds Boxed: 189 – Latest Win: Ashley Theophane (TKO 9)
Best Wins: Daniel Ponce De Leon (UD 10), Antonio DeMarco (TKO 8), Gavin Rees (TKO 5), Paulie Malignaggi (SD 12), John Molina Jr (UD 12)
Man, I’m always so conflicted about this guy. And I know many others in the same boat. Is this three-weight world champion really great? A total hack? A potential future Hall of Famer who squandered his potential? Furthermore, have riches and an overinflated ego brought him close to derailment? And is there enough hunger left to still carve out a memorable legacy? Questions, questions…
Broner has put on some elite-looking performances in the ring. That is true. Impressive victories over the likes of Antonio DeMarco put him firmly on the fight fan radar, with his slick, shoulder-rolling style mirroring that of Floyd Mayweather. Well, to some extent. But it has to be said that most of Broner’s best victories weren’t against top-level opposition. In fact, against ambitious, legitimate threats, Broner has looked a whole lot more ordinary, and even exposed in places.
Pressure-cookers Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter convincingly beat Broner. Maidana was undeterred by Broner’s outlandish reputation, scoring two hard knockdowns en route to a clear-cut decision in 2013. Then, following a few tune ups, Broner was upstaged again in 2015, with Porter dominating purely on work rate alone. Even a fading Paulie Malignaggi came close to tearing up the script back in 2013.
But why did Broner really lose to Maidana and Porter? Was he undertrained? Did he overestimate himself and underestimate those guys? As someone who still maintains belief that Broner has something left to offer the sport, I’d like to think the answer is yes. But there’s a ton of critics out there who’d say the man simply can’t cut it in the trenches, and or, against quality opposition.
They’d say a whole lot worse about Broner, too. Cos’, you know, most of Broner’s followers seem to actually be psychos. And that’s no surprise since Broner has made a second career out of, well, being a professional lunatic out of the ring. The guy’s been flushing money down the toilet. Like, literally. People don’t like that kind of thing. Or, when Broner throws away loose change at Walmart checkouts, among other stunts.
But something tells me we’re about to see a different fighter in the ring on Saturday. Not an unrecognizable Broner, but a better one than we’ve seen in recent times. Why do I say that? Well, I don’t have eyes on the man, but his humbled demeanor at a recent press conference spoke volumes. I hope I’m right about that, cos’ Broner’s still a Top 10 140-pounder young enough to make some big, meaningful fights.
Tale of the Tape:
Record: 18-4-2, 12 KO – Born: Illinois, US – Age: 27 – Height / Reach: 5′ 9″ / 74″ – Stance: Orthodox – KO Ratio: 50% – Last 5: 5-0, 3 KO – Rounds Boxed: 135 – Latest Win: Ariel Vasquez (UD 8)
Best Wins: Amir Imam (TKO 8), Mark Salser (TKO 6), Kermit Cintron (Draw 10)
I didn’t know an awful lot about Granados until he climbed off the deck to shatter a touted prospect in 2015. That prospect was Amir Imam, a flashy boxer who was expected to pass by without trouble en route to landing a title shot. Imam had Grandados down early, but the unbeaten climber soon found himself in serious peril. A barrage of punches found the target repeatedly, and eventually, with attrition setting in, the referee was forced to save Imam.
That performance told us enough about Granados to take him seriously. Or, at least, what he can do on a very good night. Granados is gnarly, incredibly determined, and obviously not to be overlooked. So, if you want to stop Granados coming for you, you’d better put him away quickly. The problem so far is that no one has managed to do it. He’s a real handful, still in his prime at 27, and doesn’t mind tearing up the script. He’ll also enter the ring three-inches taller (5′ 9″ – 5′ 6″) than Broner, with a notable reach advantage (74″ – 69″).
Now, I feel like I’m coming terribly close to overselling Grandados. In fact, I probably am. So it should be known that Granados can be beaten, and his colourful 18-4-2 record obviously reflects that. He isn’t the most dangerous guy out there for Broner. That’s a given. He’s no Terence Crawford or Eduard Troyanovsky. Staying on the flip side, Grandados isn’t a huge puncher, and doesn’t possess the refined abilities of Broner either. Not even close.
Granados has his limits in the ring, granted, but he makes the most of what his toolset can offer. This is a well-conditioned fighter with a good engine, who isn’t content playing the B-side. And if Broner comes unstuck again, isn’t in top shape, or simply lacks the desire, then he could be in for a hard fight. To tie things up, it’s worth mentioning that Granados’ record isn’t quite as bad as on first glance. His four defeats have either been Split or Majority Decisions, all coming against undefeated fighters such as Olympic Medalist, Felix Diaz. And as for the two Draws, one was against an aging yet capable enough Kermit Cintron.
What do you think about Broner vs Granados? Is this matchup a dark horse? Does Granados have a realistic shot at upsetting the odds? Or will the naturally more gifted Broner be all too much?