Well, it wasn’t pretty, but “Showtime” Shawn Porter scored a unanimous decision victory over Adrien “The Problem” Broner on NBC’s “Premier Boxing Champions” main event. Broner’s “problem” was one that has plagued him throughout his career — he simply wasn’t busy enough.
While Broner has been campaigning at junior welterweight, Porter has been fighting at welterweight. This fight was scheduled at a catchweight of 144 lbs, a point of contention between the fighters right up until fight night. But even though the weight was an obvious advantage for Broner, weight means very little when one fighter refuses to throw punches.
According to the fight statistics, Broner threw 309 punches TOTAL for the fight. That works out to just under 26 punches thrown per round. That, kids, is pathetic. Porter threw over 200 more punches, and although he was far from sharp, he was much, much busier throughout the fight. Broner was content to try and catch Porter lunging in with shots, and when he didn’t, he’d just hold on for dear life. It made for an ugly, frustrating fight to watch.
There were moments of excitement, like when things started heating up in the 4th and 5th rounds, but Porter struggled to land more than one shot at a time, while Broner struggled to let his hands go. Porter was much more successful digging to the body, which clearly affected Broner. It was also another maddeningly inept display of reffing from Tony Weeks, who issued about 273 warnings to Broner for holding, pushing, throwing backfists, side kicking, and chair tossing without actually taking a point away.
Finally, in the 11th round, after Broner held Porter and then shoved his glove into his face, Weeks woke up and took a point away. That point was negated, however, when Broner decided to finally get busy in the the final round and nailed Porter with a gorgeous left hook as he was lunging in. Porter went down hard and seemed badly hurt, but he shook it off well. For the rest of the round, Porter would throw a punch and then smother Broner’s attack. Broner either couldn’t or wouldn’t capitalize on wounding his foe, and when the fight ended, Porter was confident that he’d earned the victory.
The few minutes between the end of the fight and the announcement of the winner were a little uneasy. From the moment this fight was announced, with the catchweight, the awful referee, and NBC’s frequent replays of Broner’s best moments from the fight (which you could’ve placed on the smallest highlight reel imaginable), it felt like Porter was being set up to be hosed out of a victory.
And when the first scorecard was announced — an absurdly close 114-112 for Porter — it seemed like our fears might be realized. Fortunately, the other two judges were actually watching the fight and scored it correctly, 115-111, and 118-108 for Porter. TQBR agreed, scoring it 116-110 for Porter. He was the better fighter. He imposed his style of fight on Broner, who was awful aside from that one left hook in the 12th.
It will be interesting to see where Broner goes from here, because he is a fighter who needs to be matched properly in order to look good. When he’s able to come forward and dictate pace, he’s a solid bet to win. When he’s fighting a hard-charging banger, he’s in serious trouble. He’s the perfect candidate for a change in trainer. Somebody needs to let this guy know that 300 punches a fight just isn’t going to get it done at the top level.
For Porter, it’s another solid win in another not-so-easy-on-the-eyes performance. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come in at the full 147 lbs for his next fight. Lastly, somebody needs to take a good long look at Tony Weeks. He has been really shaky of late. I’ve said this before, but referees often resemble fighters when they’ve lost a step — they become hesitant and gun-shy. Everybody has a bad night, but there’s a pattern developing here.
On the undercard, welterweight prospect Errol Spence, Jr. made quick work of poor Phil Lo Greco, destroying him in three rounds. Aside from the indignity of being called “Paul” by hapless Marv Albert, Lo Greco had his insides liquefied by horrifying hooks to the body by Spence, before getting polished off in the 3rd round when the referee stepped in and shut him down.
Spence was fighting a guy on three days notice, but he’s been spectacular lately, and we’d love to see him in with somebody at the top level sooner rather than later. He’s ready.
Image: Adrien Broner (L) takes a punch from Shawn Porter. Credit: Getty Images.