ADRIEN BRONER-ELOY PEREZ
I absolutely get why so many people find Broner annoying. He is cocky beyond belief. But he makes me laugh, and more importantly, he backs up all the big talk. Perez isn't some bum -- he's a real contender at junior lightweight. And Broner toyed with him, and then demolished him.
Perez began promisingly enough, not that he won the 1st round or anything. He was getting countered, and was struggling with Broner's speed and size advantages, which were enormous. But at least he had some openings he would occasionally exploit, working his way in with combinations.
By the 2nd round, all of Perez' openings had closed. HBO's commentators thought Perez hurt himself by just sorta standing around in front of Broner, but I honestly don't know what more Perez could've done. Despite hopes from the Perez camp that he would have better feet than Broner, it wasn't even close in the opposite direction. And when Perez attacked, he flailed against Broner's defense and/or got countered half to death.
Broner will try to tell you he's his own man, but he's as much of a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. imitator as exists. He does that shoulder roll thing, and has for a while. In this fight, he adopted Mayweather's rule-bending elbow-to-the-neck move, the kind of move that is enough to get the occasional warning but never enough to get a point deducted, which makes it worthwhile when you're trying to keep someone off balance who'd prefer to fight on the inside.
Not that it won Broner the fight. What really won it was that his speed and power are ginormous. Finally, in the fourth round, those two ginormous qualities joined forces to produce a right hand from hell, one that arrived right in the center of Perez' face. Perez, showing some toughness, tried to rise. But instead he squirted around like an inch-worm, jumping up in the middle of his body only to fall down a couple times thereafter. The referee saw that a couple times and stopped it. Maybe Perez could've risen, but he was in bad shape, and the stoppage was beyond defensible.
After the fight, Broner said some cocky, colorful things. He said he wanted to "tenderize" Perez' meat before frying him up later. He said he should be called "Can Man," because he'll fight "Afri-Cans, Ameri-Cans, Domini-Cans and Mexi-Cans." And it's hard to get cockier than rapping your own song on the way to the ring. Really, I get this kind of thing annoying people. But all I care about is that it's funny. And to me, it's super-funny.
More importantly, Broner has cause to be cocky. He no longer looks like the overly cautious fellow who struggled with Daniel Ponce De Leon. He'd rather counter, but he'll be aggressive when it's called for. And when he lands, watch out.
Perez probably took on too talented a fighter too soon, but I don't see why he can't rebuild himself into a contender and make a move at 130. It's hard to say what Broner ought to be doing next. There's not a ton of talent at junior lightweight. He says he'll happily move up to lightweight. But there's not much there these days, either. Short of a Yuriorkis Gamboa fight, I don't see anyone at 130 or 135 that could give him much trouble. And as someone nicknamed "The Problem," and who's living up to it, I don't know who's gonna want to fight this guy. But he'll be bad news for anyone I can imagine him fighting, that's for sure.
DEVON ALEXANDER-MARCOS MAIDANA
Alexander had blamed his recent lackluster performance on struggling to make weight at junior welter. I wasn't sure I bought it. It got easier to buy after Saturday night.
It must be said that Maidana -- making his own 147-pound debut -- didn't seem to have anywhere near the power at welterweight that he had at junior welter. That's not just hindsight. The moment they stepped into the ring, Maidana didn't look like a particularly fearsome welter, while Alexander was muscular and big.
Nonetheless, Maidana, with sheer ferocity, kept things on relatively even terms through four rounds. And all the while, Alexander's trainer, Kevin Cunnigham, kept telling him to relax. Alexander did seem tense for a few rounds, but he loosened up well after Cunningham kept hectoring him.
After the 4th, it was pretty much all Alexander. He had far superior boxing skills, and by being stronger than Maidana on the inside -- he clinched far, far too much, enough that referee Steve Smoger should have at least warned him -- he took away whatever advantage Maidana usually has.
Some thought Alexander dropped Maidana in the 6th, but I didn't. Sure, he had him hurt -- but if you look at the moment where Maidana went down, he was raising up before Alexander pushed him down. That Alexander had Maidana hurt was still something of a headline. Not since the Juan Urango fight has Alexander appeared to hurt anyone.
From there on, Maidana looked discouraged, and Maidana doesn't get discouraged. It spoke to how Alexander out-classed, out-muscled and out-slugged Maidana. In the 8th, I thought that Alexander had Maidana "ready to go," but he lacked the killer instinct to capitalize.
The wide unanimous decision was accurate, unlike the other fights Alexander has had in St. Louis where people thought he got the hometown decision.
Alexander wasn't perfect; he was still too sloppy in places, and is still struggling enough with his mental game that the first few rounds were close. But he showed plenty in his debut at 147, enough to make you wonder whether he can be a real factor in the division. It's hard to imagine him contending with the likes of Manny Pacquiao or Mayweather, of course, but he could be a compelling opponent for, say, the winner of Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto II.
Maidana should go back down to 140. And Alexander might never get back to the "next big thing" status he once held. But this was a really nice step toward it.
Sorry I didn't respond to everyone individually this time -- with the site down, I just focused on getting a blog post up on Weekend Afterthoughts. But I took all your comments into account when writing that one.
Yet another thought about Alexander-Maidana (sorry for the drip-drip, stream of consciousness!): Sadly, I think Maidana is starting to enter the Michael Katsidis portion of his career.
Maidana and Katsidis both are tough as tungsten. Both only know one tactic -- move forward and throw. Both give all every time they step between the ropes. But both also are extremely limited as fighters and will be used as either all-action tests for rising stars or fallen stars on reclamation journeys.
I also worry about the long-term health of both. They've become punching bags with double-leather covers. They won't break and will continue to perform even when all of their stuffing sinks to the bottom of the bag.
One other observation about Saturday night's main event: Harold Lederman was spot-on with his criticism of Steve Smoger. This was not the best night for Double S.
I'm a HUGE Smoger fan. I think he's the second-best ref in America behind Kenny Bayless. The guy lets fighters fight, and that's exactly what caused him trouble Saturday night.
Smoger doesn't over-officiate like Joe Cortez. He lets fighters work their way out of scrums and also fight inside. But when fighters use clinching and holding as a tactic instead of as a resting technique, Smoger is too slow to react because he's afraid to be too meddlesome.
There was some decent inside fighting between Alexander and Maidana. But this was not Corrales-Castillo I. Most of the inside work last night came after failed clinches or when one free arm was used to inflict damage.
Smoger needs to step in more quickly to prevent appendage origami in the ring.
I think Alexander has made as much of a transformation in the last 13 months as any major player in boxing. He looked soft and tentative against Bradley. Let's admit fact, too: He quit that fight.
But Alexander has created many more appealing dimensions for himself after beating two of the toughest, roughest guys from Argentina, Matthysse and Maidana. Alexander no longer is a boxer; he's a boxer-puncher.
It takes some stones and ring command to back up Maidana, and Alexander had achieved that control of the fight by about Round 7. Maidana had no answers and was frustrated. Most telling was that Alexander -- yes, the slap-dap, run-from-trouble fighter we saw against Bradley -- was pushing Maidana back and marching right through him.
I also think the extra 7 pounds have caused Alexander's boxing wardrobe to climb from Toughskins to Calvin Klein. The guy really wears the extra weight well. He's chiseled, able to resist more body shots and didn't lose any stamina.
This is a good result for boxing because welterweight has gone from the glamour division of the sport to a relative ghost town in the last three-plus years. In 2008, the class was loaded: Pacquiao, Mayweather, Mosley, Cotto, Margarito, Hatton, Williams and more. Now Pacquiao and Mayweather remain the only true stars in the division, with Ortiz and Berto still somewhat suspect in my mind. I think Alexander could hang with either Ortiz or Berto based on his performance last night.
Last night also was a fine night for American boxing. Broner -- hair brush, rappers, "Cans" and all -- is multifaceted as hell. Who's better than this guy at 130 right now? No one. Like Tim, I like the schtick. It's clever, funny -- and most importantly, he backs it up.
The re-emergence of Alexander also will help to raise the profile of the sport in America. It looked like a spirited crowd in St. Louis. The TV picture didn't give an accurate peek at the size of the crowd, as the upper deck of the Scottrade Center was unlit and probably fairly empty.
Still, the home folks must have liked what they saw. I did, too.
Yeah, I agree on the no-knockdown call for Maidana. It's not a knockdown if you get on top of a guy and push him to the floor. I didn't really see Maidana look discouraged, apart from the parts where he was actually hurt, just flummoxed when nothing he did worked.
I think Broner's pretty funny too. Was watching it with my brother, though, and he was not particularly impressed. Anyway, I rate him way higher than Floyd (who's actually kind of a boring dude) in the personality stakes.
Adrien Broner is a clown who imitates floyd, but it is a bad copy, I would like to seein front of a fast boxer with good technique and punch, for me is a fucking clown
I thought Perez could have done a few things to time Broner, though whether or not he has/had the ability to, I'm not sure. But I do think a lead right hand was there over Broner's low left, and I'm not convinced he's on the level of a Floyd in terms of avoiding that shot. Some of that style mumbo jumbo seemed a bit forced, even if it did work very well. Regardless, I was impressed. Eloy's not trash, and Broner worked him.
As for Devon-Maidana, not sure how much of what we saw was the weight, Maidana looking flat or Alexander appearing to fight with a bit of purpose. But Devon looked to be in good shape, settled down in the second half of the fight and, all that other stuff aside, he did to Maidana what nobody else has been able to do. Wasn't a fan of the clinching and it was a little excessive, but I'm not ready to point to that as an important narrative in the fight, because Maidana either didn't seem to want out of it most of the time, or he'd just use it to land rabbit punches inside and not much else.