By Allan Cerf
In a make or break fight for both boxers, Adrien “The Problem” Broner takes on Jessie “The Pride of Las Vegas” Vargas at the Barclays Center in NY this Saturday night.
Background: In what could be an exciting fight, Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas find themselves in a dangerous position in the already dangerous game of boxing. Broner, once heralded wrongly by Money Mayweather as the future of boxing, gets relegated to the pile labeled “so what,” if he loses.
Vargas, whose expectations were never as high – goes to the pile labeled “solid", but not quite the man.” The fact that Broner’s original opponent, Omar Figueroa was injured, may be a small mercy for the Cincinnati man. This is a non-title fight. it’s another deplorable catch-weight.
Vargas possesses considerable height and reach advantages. Broner has more natural skill but strangely, partly because of a lack of seriousness, partly because he throws too few punches, and partly because of the geometry of boxing, he’s a guy that perhaps should have been near the top of the sport but is not.
Fighter’s Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Adrien Broner: B+ B+ B C+ B B B+ (Average of all) B
Jessie Vargas: B- C+ B- B+ B B B- (Average of all) B-
Reality Check: Adrien Broner is too small to bang with the big boys at 147 but too large it seems to make 140 without killing himself. Because of the hype that attended his career – even after he was badly beaten by Maidana – AB is afforded every possible advantage secured by his savvy promoters and accepted by various boxing commissions: catch-weight bouts, legally blind referees, store-bought judges.
The patience of the sport is wearing thin, so “The Problem” must shine as he hasn’t in years. Broner, a bright guy, continues to get in trouble (at least ‘officially’ some say his accusers are opportunists) out of the ring, spends too much and frighteningly, slurred his speech a bit after recent fights - though this seems to have receded. Perhaps it KILLS him to know that while supposedly having incredible talent – he just can’t beat or even go 12 with the top dogs at 147. Perhaps he’s still lucid enough to see that boxing is a crooked carnival and that angry townspeople are storming the tents demanding their money’s worth. He might just take his money and run. And return a few months later.
Jessie Vargas says that 9-10 hours’ sleep has suddenly made a world of difference, which is conceivable. He is a thoroughly trained professional who lost twice to elites but who has real strengths. However, he sometimes telegraphs his shots. His speed appears average until he lands sneaky, quick rights. Most significantly, he often dips his head right before he throws, a horrible habit. Will Broner time him?
Fight and Prediction: Broner by contentious and debatable, majority decision.