Adrien Broner (27-0) is boxing’s next superstar. The successor to Floyd Mayweather. He has an unbelievably engaging personality. Broner raps and is ridiculously famous on YouTube. He regularly appears at nightclubs and discos for large amounts of money. “The Problem”, as he is known, has a thick entourage. Throughout his career, Broner has largely dominated foes such as Jason Litzau, Antonio DeMarco and Gavin Rees. His only difficulties have been against the awkward Daniel Ponce de Leon and Paulie Malignaggi, who just easily defeated Zab Judah. In short, many in the boxing world are saying Broner is the next all-time great.
Marcos Maidana (34-3) is not that guy. He once was an undefeated Argentinian fighter who lost his “0″ when he faced Andriy Kotelnik in Germany. Maidana regained his lofty status when he stopped the unstable Victor Ortiz in a wild shootout and won a few fights after that but then lost a decision to Amir Khan in a fight he was dropped in but hurt his opponent late. He rebounded to win a close decision against the faded Erik Morales but then was soundly out-boxed by Devon Alexander. The Argentinian has earned the title shot against the new WBA welterweight titlist by knocking out Jesus Soto Karass and Josesito Lopez.
Taking all of that into account, Broner is a big favorite (www.bovada.lv has him at -550; www.sportbet.com lists Broner at -410). Indeed, he is faster and has much better skills. If you want to take the underdog here, you are banking on Maidana’s toughness and his punching power. That said, he could not knock out a shot Erik Morales who was later stopped by the non-power punching Danny Garcia. More troubling are the rumors out of San Antonio, Texas, where the fight is to be staged, that Maidana is heavily struggling to make the 147 pound weight limit. With that in mind, and given that Broner is the superstar in the making, Broner is the pick here.
The undercard features three other title fights. In the co-feature, WBA interim welterweight titlist Keith Thurman (21-0) defends his title against Soto-Karass (28-8-3). While Soto-Karass is coming off of two good victories, those wins are over smaller fighters and Thurman can match him in size and punching power while also overmatching him in speed and skill. Thurman (as a -1000 per Bovada and -1250 per SportBet) is the pick. Prior to that, WBC junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1) (-4000 per SportBet and -3500 on Bovada) defends against Cesar Seda (25-1). No need to analyze deeply here… Santa Cruz is a beast and no one has ever heard of Seda… Santa Cruz is the pick. In the opener, WBA light heavyweight titlist Beibut Shumenov (13-1) defends his title against Tamas Kovacs (23-0). No one has ever heard of Kovacs but Shumenov has been extremely lucky to win his title (in a gift decision against Gabriel Campillo) and to keep it (in another gift decision in a rematch in Campillo and in facing hobos and having long layoffs since then). Kovacs is a huge underdog (+800 on Bovada; +1100 on Sportbet) but this is a good spot to take a shot… Kovacs is the pick.
Author’s Record for the Year 68-22-6 (Last week, one of our valued commentators named “Skeeter” called me a moron for writing Paulie Malignaggi was stopped on cuts against Vyacheslav Senechenko. As responding commentator “Sixheads” noted, Senechenko was cut badly and his impaired vision led to numerous right hands being landed and the referee stopping the fight. While I may have been in the ballpark, “Skeeter” was technically correct and I was not entirely right. Additionally, my picks were terrible as Sakio Bika could only muster a draw, Devon Alexander got upset, Glen Tapia got bludgeoned and Darren Barker barely put up a fight. Therefore, I invite “Skeeter” to join me in writing a picks column [perhaps on for the weekend of January 25, 2014 when HBO and Showtime will be airing competing cards] – just email or tweet me and we can make it happen!)
Tags: Adrien Broner, Boxing