By: William Holmes
Cincinnati, Ohio native Adrien Broner is set to clash with Akron, Ohio native Shawn Porter on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in what many are calling “The Battle of Ohio”.
This bout will be fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds and will be the main event of the evening. U.S. Olympian Errol Spence Jr. was originally scheduled to face Robert Garcia in the opening fight of the night in the welterweight division. However, Garcia has withdrawn from the bout due to being severely overweight with only a few days to go before the fight. However, Phil Lo Greco has agreed to step in as a last minute replacement.
The ideal location for the “Battle of Ohio” would appear to be in the state of Ohio, but the powers that be have decided to make it in far away Las Vegas. The following is a preview of Saturday’s televised portion of the card.
Errol Spence Jr. (16-0) vs. Phil Lo Greco (24-1); Welterweight Division
Errol Spence Jr. is considered by most experts to be the best talent out of the 2012 United States Olympic Boxing team. He won the 2011 U.S. National Championships in the welterweight division and competed in the 2012 Olympics.
Phil Lo Greco doesn’t have the amateur pedigree of Spence, but he could be considered a tougher fight for Spence than his original opponent Robert Garcia.
Spence is twenty five and is five years younger than his opponent. He will also have a four inch reach advantage and an inch and half height advantage. He is also the harder puncher with faster hands.
Spence has stopped thirteen of his opponents including four of his past five fights. Lo Greco has only stopped fourteen of his opponents and two of his past five fights were stoppage victories.
Lo Greco has only fought once in two years and inactivity as well as having very little time to prepare will hurt him inside the ring. He has a good record, but most of his victories have come against soft opposition. The one time he fought an “elite” level boxer was against Shawn Porter in May of 2013, and was nearly swept on the judges’ scorecards and was knocked down once in the tenth round.
Lo Greco’s most notable victory was against a one loss Brandon Hoskins in 2012.
Spence has been very active and fought five times in 2014. His most notable victories were against Samuel Vargas, Javier Castro, and Ronald Cruz.
Spence will be simply too much for Lo Greco to handle with little time to prepare, and it will be surprising if Lo Greco is able to last all twelve rounds.
Adrien Broner (30-1) vs. Shawn Porter (25-1-1); Welterweight Division
Adrien Broner is a former super featherweight world champion and fought in the junior welterweight division the last time he stepped inside the ring. Porter has spent most of his career fighting in the welterweight division and is more comfortable at the 147 pound weight limit. However, Porter only has about a half an inch height advantage and they both have the same reach.
At this point in their careers Broner is the bigger draw and had the power to request, and receive, a catch weight of 144 pounds. Porter may struggle to make the agreed upon weight limit and may be more tired than normal from expending energy to suck down a few additional pounds.
They are both in their physical primes and Porter is only two years older than Broner. Porter has sixteen stoppages on his record but has only had two stoppages in his past five fights. Broner has twenty two stoppages on his record but he has not had a stoppage victory in his past five fights and his last fight that failed to go the full twelve rounds happened over two years ago against a smaller Gavin Rees in February of 2013.
Porter has the edge in power, but Broner has a reputation of being the better defensive boxer. Marcos Maidana is Broner’s lone loss on his record and it was a fight that featured an aggressive and constantly moving forward Maidana. Maidana was able to knock him down in the second and eighth rounds. However, Broner was never knocked down in any of his other thirty one fights before or after the Maidana bout.
Porter’s lone loss came in August of 2014 to Kell Brook in which viewers saw Brook out maneuver and out box Porter for a majority of the twelve rounds. Porter had never been knocked down in his career.
Both Broner and Porter has successful amaterur careers. Broner was the 2002 and 2003 National Silver Gloves Champion and a 2005 National Junior Olympics semifinalist. Porter was a 2007 US National Golden Gloves Gold medalist and a 2007 and a 2008 US National Championships Silver Medalist.
Broner’s list of notable victories include John Molina Jr., Emmanuel Taylor, Carlos Molina, Paulie Malignaggi, Gavin Rees, and Antonio DeMarco. Porter’s list of notable victories include Paulie Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Phil Lo Greco, Julio Diaz, and Alfonso Gomez.
The biggest question in this fight is how will Porter react to being forced to cut an additional three pounds to make this fight happen. Broner has problems with a boxer that isn’t afraid to brawl and Porter has shown several times that he’s willing to take a punch to give a punch. Broner also struggled against their one common opponent, Paulie Malignaggi, while Porter crushed Malignaggi and had battered him to the point that the fight had to be stopped in the fourth round.
If Porter is willing to take risks and apply pressure he has the power and talent to stop Broner, but if the additional loss of weight could make Porter tire late and give Broner an edge in the later rounds.
Media Day Quotes:
FLOYD MAYWEATHER, President of Mayweather Promotions
“You’ve got two guys this weekend in Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter who have the right teams around them. If they continue to win and we bring their personality out of them, we’ll see what happens.
“Shawn Porter has been a champion before. He only has one loss and Adrien only has one loss. So I think this is a good matchup.
“When I was getting ready for Robert Guerrero, who is a southpaw, the first guy I started looking to spar with was a southpaw and Errol (Spence Jr.) was giving me real good work. He pushed me and made me get in tip top condition, and once I was in tip top condition, I was ready and the best I could be. He’s a hell of a fighter.”
“Porter can’t beat me, it’s not going to happen.
“I will not be the next Floyd Mayweather. I will be the first and only Adrien Broner.
“I don’t know why I would be terrified of Porter. I’m not terrified of anything. He can talk, it’s all okay.
“I’m going to give my dad a great Father’s Day present this weekend when I get that victory Saturday night.
“Everyone has to tune-in to see AB on NBC, it’s going to be a show just like every time I step into the ring.”
“This is the AB show. You’re all getting it first, live and personal.
“I’m fighting Shawn Porter and I’m fighting his dad. It’s like I’m fighting his dad because the check comes in his dad’s name, then he pays Shawn.
“Since both Shawn and his dad get a check, if I whoop both of them, will I get paid twice?
“I like Shawn as a person, but he gets so much negative energy from his dad. That’s just the truth.
“After I whoop you Shawn, come sign with About Billions and I’ll buy you a nicer car than your dad’s. I already wrote out the contract.
“This is going to be a great fight. I’m very excited because I love putting on a show for the fans. This boy will not beat me.
“I’m coming to deliver a beat down. Shawn Porter is a football player, I’m going to take him out. It’s going to be fun.”
“I feel great. My weight is great and that’s all that matters. That’s the first small battle and the next battle will come on Saturday night.
“I think Broner thought that if he gets me drained it would be a problem for me, but it’s not going to be. That’s not the Porter way. We’ve done everything right to this point.
“Broner keeps saying that he hopes I’m ready to bring it, but I don’t really understand what he means because everyone knows I’m ready and everyone knows I always bring it. You don’t have to ask that of Shawn Porter.
“He’s a talker, he likes to run his mouth but it’s all good. We’re just going to do our thing on Saturday night.
“This is going to be a good one. Certainly a crowd pleaser. Old or new to boxing, this is going to be good for you. Broner has skills, but I have skills too. It’s going to be a magnificent fight on Saturday night.”
Photos: Idris Erba/Mayweather Promotions