Saturday night at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner made his return to the ring as he took on fellow light welterweight contender, Emmanuel ‘Tranzforma’ Taylor. Broner was touted as heir to Floyd Mayweather before he met Argentinean slugger, Marcos Maidana on December of 2013. Following the loss to Maidana, ‘The Problem’ moved back down in weight and captured the vacant WBA international light welterweight title by defeating Carlos Molina earlier in the year, and was looking to recapture the hype and momentum he carried prior to his first loss.
Emmanuel Taylor came into the fight with an 18-2 record, his biggest victory coming over Karim Mayfield earlier in the year. The relatively unknown Taylor was a significant underdog but was looking to make a big statement in the biggest fight of his career.
As the action kicked off, Emmanuel Taylor looked to take the fight to the Cincinnati native, throwing quick combinations at Broner. ‘The Problem’ did well defensively and looked to counter with shots of his own. Both fighters seemed evenly matched after the first round.
The second round saw Taylor take a page out of Marcos Maidana’s playbook by pressuring and pinning Adrien Broner up against the ropes. Once the fight moved from the center of the ring to the ropes, Broner became very defensive and his punch output significantly dropped. A lot of inside fighting took place, with both fighters looking to mix punches to the head and body, but Emmanuel Taylor being the busier of the two.
The challenger once more came out looking to bring the fight to Broner in round three, throwing a good volume of strikes from the start of the round. One thing that was evident was the hand speed edge that Adrien Broner possessed, which allowed him to sneak in quick counters, primarily his sharp left hook. The champion opened up towards the tail end of the round, but allowed Taylor to dictate the pace of most of the round.
In round four, Taylor abandoned the gameplan that gave him success in the prior rounds. This time he chose to keep the fight in the center of the ring and did not apply the same amount of pressure. As a result, Broner had a very good round. ‘The Problem’ showed off his boxing ability and largely outboxed Emmanuel Taylor, mixing in solid power punches. Adrien Broner’s best round of the fight to that point.
Noticing his lack of success in the fourth round, ‘Tranzforma’ stepped on the gas pedal once again in rounds five and six, pressuring Broner and keeping the fight at close quarters. Emmanuel was able to land the overhand right that he had been looking for, catching Broners attention. The major criticism of Broner is his lack of output anytime he is put on the defensive, and it was on display again. Taylor won both the fifth and sixth, mainly by being the busier fighter.
The seventh round was a pivotal point in the fight, as Emmanuel Taylor appeared to slow down a bit. As seen in earlier rounds, anytime Broner was given the chance to attack, he would. In the center of the ring, Adrien Broner was the better fighter and just had a more diverse attack. Broner controlled the action in rounds seven through nine. Taylor still had his moments, but it was not enough to win him the rounds.
In the tenth round, Broner showed off his footwork — something he doesn’t often put on display. He pivoted off the ropes and made his opponent come after him. There was a sense of urgency in the challenger’s corner, and he came out throwing hard power punches, occasionally landing one, but his power did not bother Adrien Broner much. Broner closed the last 30 seconds of the tenth round in emphatic fashion, unleashing an impressive combination that turned things in his favor.
Round eleven was a fairly even round, Taylor was pressuring but not to the degree that he had in the early rounds. During an exchange, the two fighters clashed heads and a cut opened over the right eye of ‘The Problem’ — the first cut of his career.
Emmanuel Taylor recognized he was behind on points and came out in the twelfth round looking to land something that would change the course of the fight. All Adrien Broner had to do was ride out the remainder of the round and he would get the victory, but he didn’t just box. As the round wore on, Broner landed the best punch of the night, a left uppercut that jolted the head of the challenger and sent him to the canvas. That punch alone killed off any doubt as to who deserved to win the fight. ‘Tranzforma’ got up and finished the fight, but even he knew that he had fallen short of the win.
With the emphatic finish by Broner, his stock remains high, and while he showed many of his faults in the ring, he also showed why he is a former 3 division world champion that has the potential to return to the top of the sport. In Broner’s post fight interview, he expressed his desire to face hard hitting Argentinean boxer, Lucas Matthysse. Matthysse fought on the same card, winning by second round KO over Roberto Ortiz, in less than stellar fashion.
Broner vs. Matthysse would be an intriguing fight match up that may show shades of Broner’s fight with Maidana. While Matthysse is a hard hitter like Maidana, he is also more controlled in the ring, so it would be interesting to see if Broner learned anything in his last three bouts, and can improve on his weakness fighting backwards and dealing with pressure that makes him vulnerable to a fighter like Lucas Matthysse.
Another fight that could be explored would a fight with Manny Pacquiao. The fight has been talked about before in the past, but the promotional situation of both men was a constant road block. Things have changed and Goldenboy promotions is now open to working with Top Rank, so a potential fight between Pacquiao and Broner could be made and fans could see how Pacquiao would do with a slick, fast counter punching style. The fight itself would be a major PPV attraction.
Whatever direction Adrien Broner goes next, there is no shortage of options, as he is still a big star in this sport and is a fighter that people want to see in the ring. Some want to see him fight, only to watch him lose, and others want to see the skills and bravado. ‘The Problem’ remains an attraction, and must see TV.