By Joe Thackray [@joe_thackray]
Tonight sees two of boxing’s most talked about stars come together in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year. Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner faces ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter on PBC on NBC.
The fight, dubbed ‘Battle of Ohio’ has been talked about for a long time amongst the boxing world and promises to be an all action show down.
The fight has come at a time where neither man can really afford a set back in their respective careers.
Broner comes into the fight on the back of three fairly one sided victories in the last thirteen months, but will still be keen to impress and set aside any doubts after his bitter loss to Argentina’s Marcos Maidana and the loss of his WBA welterweight title.
Porter, on the other hand bounced back from losing his IBF welterweight title to Britain’s Kell Brook in August last year with a convincing fifth round knock out victory over the relatively unknown Ecuadorian Erick Bone. The former middleweight amateur will be looking to re-establish himself at the elite level with a win on Saturday night against one of boxing’s most loathed figures.
The fight is taking place at a catch-weight of 144 pounds and includes a rehydration clause of only ten pounds on the morning of the fight.
This no doubt favours the smaller Broner who lost to a heavier, stronger and harder hitting Maidana in 2013. It is rumoured that Maidana put on up to fifteen pounds between the weigh in and the night of the fight and there is no doubt that Porter, being a naturally bigger man would be capable of pulling a similar stunt had this rehydration clause not been in place.
The questions marks still loom over Broner as to whether he is capable of winning a real dog fight in these higher weight categories. Many, but not all of his thirty wins have come against lower level opposition, in fights which he was able to look good against and really dazzle with his fast hands, slick footwork and eye catching combinations.
In his last fight, Broner made his Premier Boxing Champions debut against well renowned brawler John Molina Jr. Despite losing his previous two fights, a lot of people felt that Molina had the style to trouble Broner and really make him uncomfortable. Broner quietened his critics with a boxing clinic and shut-out victory over the former world title challenger.
Molina was quoted after the fight as describing Broner as the most ‘elusive fighter he’s ever faced’.
In the other corner, ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter, who is trained by father Kenny, was once regarded as the next Mike Tyson style figure, but is surely under pressure to deliver in this fight.
There is no doubting the Clevelanders ability, he has the power, the style and the work rate to trouble near enough any fighter in and around his weight division in the world. But after the loss to Brook last year, Porter’s performance on Saturday night may determine whether or not he belongs at the elite level.
The catch-weight, although questionable to the fans, seems to be no cause for concern to Porter who made the ceritifed 144 pound limit yesterday, saying he feels as comfortable as ever at the weight and feels that he will be the strongest fighter Broner will have faced to date.
Broner refused a hand shake from Porter yesterday at the weigh and while most expected tempers to flare, Porter remained completely calm and simply smiled.
This fight begs a number of questions, all to be answered this evening; will the craftier, more flashy Broner be able to outbox and outsmart Porter? Or will ‘Showtime’ Shawn’s tenacious, high octane attacking style be enough to solve ‘The Problem’?