IN the past, Showtime has relieved three of its analysts (Bobby Czyz, Antonio Tarver, and Paul Malignaggi) of their broadcast duties because they crossed a line that did not meet with the network’s moral standards, yet they continue to condone Adrien Broner’s vulgar conduct that was on display at the post fight interview after he was awarded a unanimous 12 round decision over Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago.
The words Broner uttered won’t be repeated here – they need no further exposure – but what is obvious is, even at age 31, Broner is not maturing.
ESPN and DAZN have clearly taken the lead as major players in the boxing business. To stay in the game and be somewhat relevant, Showtime prominently displays Broner who can still fit into their budget.
On this night, Boxing News favoured Broner by 114-113, but judges Peter Hary (117-110), Tom Carusone (116-111), and Glenn Feldman (115-112) came in wider. Showtime’s unofficial scorer, Steve Farhood, had Santiago up 114-113. It was a close fight even if two of the three scores indicated otherwise.
Let’s be clear: Broner, from Cincinnati, is no longer a world class fighter. The four world belts he won in the past, won by a younger, smaller and far more version of the boxer he is today, are a reflection of how championships have become diluted.
Santiago was determined. He confidently carried the fight to Broner and landed some hard body blows, but lacked the power to hurt him. After a slow opening two rounds, the work rate of both picked up in the third. In the fourth Santiago retaliated when he was hit after the bell which resulted in referee Arthur Mercante Jnr penalising him a point.
Broner started to surge in the second half of the fight. In the eighth round, a left hook nearly made Santiago’s glove brush the canvas. Later in the round a hard right from Broner made him hold tightly. The good work from Broner continued into the ninth when a short right cut Santiago over the left eye.
Told he needed a knockout to win entering the final round, Santiago attacked hard in the 12th winging blows that had Broner on the defensive. Broner did not finish the fight well but, at the end of the day, he got a badly needed victory, his first since 2017.
Broner will be back. PBC (Al Haymon) promotes him and Stephen Espinoza, President of Showtime Sports, is apparently a fan. To see Broner box remains curiously enjoyable, but to hear him talk about it is not.
Of course it would have been more impressive if Sweden’s Otto Wallin had stopped Dominic Breazeale inside the distance, but nevertheless he took a step toward a title shot by unanimously outpointing the Californian over 12 rounds at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Wallin swept the early rounds and never looked back. Judges’ Tony Paolillo, Waleska Roldan, and Tom Schreck scored it 117-111, 118-110, and 116-112 respectively. Johnny Callas refereed.
Breazeale is limited and lacking in defence. Wallin repeatedly hit him on the way in. By the time it was finished Breazeale’s face showed the signs of battle. Yet he never gave up and attacked hard over the second half; credit to him for that. Breazeale’s sheer size seemed to tire Wallin out in those closing stages. In the last round, Wallin frequently held and moved along the ropes killing the clock, knowing he had put enough rounds in the bank.
Former IBF lightweight belt holder Robert Easter was too quick for Tennessee’s Ryan Martin, whose only loss going into this contest had been a seventh round stoppage to Josh Taylor back in 2018. Although Easter was forced to go the distance he controlled the tempo the whole way. Judges’ Carusone and John McKaie had it 118-110, Frank Lombardi 117-111. Harvey Dock refereed.
Martin tried his best, but simply was not good enough. Easter’s jab was superb and he picked Martin apart as he moved forward. Martin’s only good round might have been the eighth when he outworked Easter after getting chastised by his corner. Easter from Toledo, was cut over the left eye from a butt. Otherwise he had things pretty much his own way.
There would be no stoppages on this night. On the non-televised undercard, former WBA super-bantamweight titlist Rau’shee Warren from Cincinnati, outpointed St Louis’ Sharone Carter over 10 rounds. Judges’ Hary and Lombardi came in at 98-92, and Paolillo 97-93, all for Warren who was a little too slick for Carter.
In a rough back and forth contest, Buenos Aires’ Juan Jose Velasco took a split 10 round decision over Brooklyn’s Zachary Ochoa. Feldman and Schreck went for Velasco 97-93, Roldan for Ochoa 96-94.