Photos by Sumio Yamada
ADRIEN BRONER vs VICENTE ESCOBEDO
When Adrien Broner missed making weight by 3½ pounds at Friday’s weigh-in for his bout with Vicente Escobedo it had echoes of what happened in Las Vegas in 2005 when Jose Luis Castillo came in overweight for his lightweight championship rematch with Diego Corrales.
Castillo weighed in three times but was still 3½ pounds over the lightweight division limit, coming in at 138½ pounds at the third attempt. The bout went ahead, with Castillo agreeing to weigh no more than 147 pounds at a weigh-in held at 3 p.m. on the day of the fight. The Corrales camp hoped that Castillo would be distracted by having to weigh in on fight-day and that he wouldn’t be able to rehydrate adequately by being obliged to make 147 pounds just hours before the fight. We all know what happened: Castillo, who looked much the bigger, stronger man in the ring, blasted right though a game but outgunned Corrales in four rounds.
The Broner camp agreed to a fight-day weigh-in at 9:30 a.m., with Broner obliged to scale no more than 140 pounds. Although Broner still came in overweight — by three pounds — it looked at time of writing as if a private agreement between the camps will allow the fight to take place.
Broner lost his WBO junior lightweight title on the scales; if Escobedo pulls off the upset he will win the now-vacant championship.
For players, there is the tricky question of what to do with this fight. Will Broner be weakened by weight-making struggles? Or, will we have a repeat of what happened in the Castillo-Corrales rematch, with a bigger and more powerful Broner blasting Escobedo into defeat inside the distance?
Broner is without question a heavy hitter — when he is at full strength. It was almost chilling the way Broner blew away Jason Litzau and demolished Eloy Perez. I was doubtful about Broner after his unimpressive win over Daniel Ponce De Leon, when many considered Broner lucky to have received the decision. Subsequent big-hitting performances, however, had me thinking that Broner just might be a rising superstar. Now we have Broner coming in substantially over the junior lightweight limit, which smacks of irresponsibility.
Escobedo might have a greater chance now — or he might have no chance at all. We can’t be certain until the first punches are thrown in this HBO-televised bout in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati, OH.
Broner looked sensational in the fights with Litzau and Perez, and also when he crushed Argentina’s Vicente Martin Rodriguez, but Escobedo is a step up from these fighters. The U.S. Olympic representative from Woodland, CA, is a competent boxer and hits with authority. Escobedo is a durable, dead-game fighter. Robert Guerrero dropped him twice, but Escobedo courageously came slamming back at the southpaw sharpshooter and even seemed to win the last two rounds. Escobedo is a big, strong 130-pounder, having boxed in the lightweight division for several fights (including the loss to Guerrero and a split decision defeat against Michael Katsidis).
My guess is that Broner is going to be just fine in that ring tonight. I have no doubt that Broner will win. I don’t think that his people would allow him to box if they thought there was a risk of him being in a weakened condition. I’m not sure we will see a repetition of the Castillo-Corrales train-wreck of a fight, but I do think that Broner is going to be landing heavy shots. Escobedo can fight, but I don’t think he’s ever met anyone with quite the combination of hand speed and firing power that Broner brings to his fights. Escobedo has a good chin but reviewing my notes on his career I am reminded that Rocky Juarez had him buckling at the knees with a left hook and Escobedo might have been saved by the bell. If Broner hits Escobedo with big left hooks, he is going to have him on shaky legs. I can envisage Escobedo getting hit and hurt, and as tough and gritty as Escobedo is — and he has never been stopped — if Broner is as strong as I think he might be in tonight's fight I doubt that the Cincinnati fighter will have to go the full 12 rounds.
For subscribers: Previews of Perez-Cano, Mendez-Honorio, Lacierva-Vazquez and El Massoudi vs Chaves. I'm not looking to take on any new subscribers at the moment but we hit two upset winners this weekend with Art Hovhannisyan and Devis Boschiero and I have an inkling there could be one more surprise before the weekend is over.