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Broner Is 143 Pounds In AM, But Escobedo Fight Is ON

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BronerEscobedoWorkout Hoganphotos5Well, that was a fiasco. Broner was 133 1/2 Friday, needed to be 140 or under Saturday AM…and weighed 143 pounds. So quite rightly, Team Escobedo pulled out. And then pulled back in…he gets a chunk of Broner's purse, because The Show Must Go On, and boxing is the theater of the unexpected.

Adrien Broner-Vicente Escobedo: U.S Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio. Shown on HBO and BoxNation in the UK.

Vicente Escobedo, 26-3 {15} must be thinking to himself: How do you solve a problem like Broner? It's a good question. Maybe, he figured, after seeing Broner weigh in three and a half pounds over the limit on Friday, that part of the problem was solved. Perhaps Broner was looking past Escobedo, to bigger things in the near future, and maybe he wasn't mentally focused on this test. Thus far, Broner, 23-0 {19}has looked simply sensational en route to establishing himself as, in many people's eyes, boxing's premier young talent. The Cincinnati native's flamboyant and boisterous behaviour -he's one of the most polarizing fighter's around- makes him a true entertainer. None of this would matter though, if Broner couldn't back it up once inside the roped square. Unfortunately for Escobedo, not to mention the other twenty-three others who have already tried,he does.

Vicente Escobedo is what I would call a nice fighter.He's pretty well-rounded, throws a decent jab, motors well around the ring,is the owner of decent hand speed and power, and has the cajones to mix it up if the situation occurs. That said, I don't think he has the specialist tools that would be required to solve a problem like the one awaiting him, because I don't think the weight issue will suddenly render Broner a so-so talent. It's not that Escobedo does anything particularly bad,it's just that he fails to possess any stand-out attribute that would really disrupt Broner and take him out of his game. So far,Escobedo has came up short against the most talented fighters he's faced -Katsidis in 2009 and Guerrero in 2010- and hasn't fought anyone of their calibre in his last four fights {Walter Estrada, Rocky Juarez, Lonnie Smith and Juan Ruiz}.In terms of athleticism, skill and technique, Escobedo is probably in for the toughest fight of his life.

Notwithstanding a close unanimous decision win over hard hitting southpaw Daniel Ponce de Leon back in March of last year, Broner has looked every bit the boxing prodigy that many have been quick to bestow upon him. Using his vast array of defensive craft to first neutralize and stabilize his opponent's offense, Broner then sets about quickly dispatching them using his lightning quick offensive bursts and high-grade power power -none of his last three opponents have made it beyond the fourth round- and his superior ring mechanics. Often compared to Floyd Mayweather Jr, and for good reason I might add,Broner shares a lot of common attributes with his self professed idol. Defensively, both possess the uncanny ability to stand within punching range of their opponents, before making them miss by inches with a subtle move -namely a roll of the shoulder-while remaining perfectly poised and balanced, allowing for a counter. Also, on offense, both are as smooth and relaxed as they come. Neither fighter throws much more than a jab or a straight right hand, although Broner tends to work the body more with left hooks, but both share the same mentality when it comes to letting their hands go -straight, untelegraphed, cerebral punching. This allows them to reveal no more of their intended movement towards an opponent than someone displaying a poker face would reveal his next card to his fellow player.

The mere fact that Broner is being talked about as a “next Floyd Mayweather,” and not just for his out of the ring demeanor either,gives an idea as to just how highly regarded he is.

Prediction:

In spite of a sudden rise in upsets of late, it's really hard to imagine one coming into fruition this Saturday. Escobedo is a good fighter, Broner meanwhile is a potentially great fighter, even if questions now arise about his focus and professionalism. Broner's sheer athleticism alone would probably be too much for Escobedo to deal with. Once you throw in Broner's superior speed, technique and power however, suddenly, the odds looked stacked in his favour.

From a strategical point of view, Escobedo should come out moving, fighting off the back foot,looking to implement his advantages in height and reach by attempting to keep Broner on the outside. Broner is a counter-puncher, so Escobedo should give him very little to counter -plenty of feints before throwing and a lot of punch variation.The jab, boxing's straightest and quickest punch,is an important weapon against a counter-puncher, especially if you're trying to keep the fight at arms length as Escobedo will be, but he must not allow Broner to familiarize himself with it, as his timing is impeccable.

Of course,such strategies are easier plotted than produced. Does Escobedo really possess the skill-set to execute such a strategy and pull off the upset? Not likely by my reckoning. Broner, even at this early stage in his career, is of an entirely different breed to Escobedo.The superior speed, reflexes, skill, defensive/offensive ratio and just about any other boxing nuance you can think of should equate to Broner having an easy time of it tonight.

I do believe Escobedo, as he should, will come out looking to box behind his jab trying to keep Broner on the end of the stick. However, despite his counter-punching nature, Broner is highly adept at walking his man down while at the same time making him miss {something Chad Dawson found extremely difficult to pull off against Jean Pascal}. Broner is excellent at cutting off the ring; his foot speed and quickness enable him to maneuver his opponent into where he wants them. Once Broner positions his opponent, he can inflict damage with either hand. Broner's last two stoppages have come via a straight right hand and a short left on the inside. Even with only a little experience, Broner is one of the few fighters competing today whose many attributes never seem to be placed in jeopardy by any of his others -despite the wide stance, which allows for his punching power and defense, his quickness around the ring remains cat-like as does the transition from defense to offense.

With Broner,I get the feeling that we haven't yet seen the very best of him. Maybe we will see something special tonight? I believe Broner has the perfect opponent -one who has never been stopped- in front of him to really make a statement. Look for Broner to have found his range by the third round, where he will then proceed to dominate his less talented opponent with the jab, straight right hand and lead left hook. I also have a feeling, as with many a taller fighter, that Escobedo won't like it to the body.Watch for Broner to be working that area every time Escobedo finds himself with his back to the ropes. Simply put, Broner should be able to dominate Escobedo in just about every aspect of the fight.

With bigger fights on the horizon -namely at 135 pounds and even above- Broner must not look past the opponent at hand. Like I mentioned earlier, there's been an unprecedented sequence of upsets recently, and thus I now finds himself second guessing some of these perceived boxing formalities.

Not here though.

I fully expect Broner to have put an end to matters by the eighth round, thus taking his knockout streak to four and looking just as spectacular inside the ring tonight as he will likely do coming down the aisle outside it.

It's been mentioned here before. We know how GOOD Adrien Broner is, now let's see how GREAT he can be….One step at a time though.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 274: Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney in Hollywood, Jake, Amanda and More

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HOLLYWOOD, Ca.- Adorned in a white suit, Ryan “King Ry” Garcia arrived on a big white horse followed by a handful of fair maidens dressed in various colors and some twirling hula hoops into the Avalon Theater on Vine Street on Thursday.

Inside the historic theater that once served as the Hollywood Canteen during World War 2, where actors like Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth greeted soldiers, but this time it was the boxing media waiting.

Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) will challenge undefeated Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) for the WBC super lightweight world title on April 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. DAZN pay-per-view will stream the Golden Boy Promotions card.

It doesn’t get more Hollywood than this.

Inside the 97-year-old theater, once the two opposing factions arrived, the pageantry turned into a war of words, taunts and accusations.

This is boxing.

Aside from the taunts and words of derision tossed at each other, the Haney father and son combination admitted that Garcia was the one fighter willing to fight Devin.

“He (Garcia) raised his hand when no one else did,” said Bill Haney the father.

Devin Haney sat next to his father on the stage anxious as ever to prove his talent in the prize ring. After his victory over Regis Prograis that followed wins over Vasyl Lomachenko and George Kambosos, the former undisputed lightweight world champion is now dwelling in the super lightweight division and holds the WBC version.

“I was killing myself trying to make the weight,” said Haney about moving up to the 140-pound super lightweight division.

Haney has long been familiar with Ryan Garcia since their amateur days as they met in the boxing ring six times as youths.

“They fought six times in the amateurs with both of them winning three apiece. Now they meet with championship gold and the chance at being the face of American boxing on the line,” said Oscar De La Hoya, the promoter and head of Golden Boy Promotions. “In other words, this one counts!”

Garcia and Haney have taken similar paths.

Garcia fought professionally numerous times in Mexico where it is legal to fight under the age of 18. So did Haney. Both faced unknown opponents, sometimes last-minute changes forced them to fight foes that were not originally scheduled.

As pros, the two similarly and eagerly sought to face the best opponents possible despite their inexperience. Both proved more than capable.

Garcia quickly amassed a surprisingly large following of fans through social media and through his exploits of sudden knockouts from his uncanny speed.

“Everything I have today, I earned it,” said Garcia. “Nobody gave me a handout, I never had money, I’m really a small town boy.”

Haney proved able to defeat veteran world champions feared for their technical expertise with his own buttery-smooth fighting prowess.

“I am happy to be here. I worked hard to be here. I sacrificed a lot to be here, and at the end of the day, the world will see it on April 20,” said Devin Haney.

Next month in Brooklyn the two longtime foes will be performing. Will it be the biggest grossing pay-per-view of the year 2024?

Jake and Amanda

Jake Paul and Amanda Serrano are boxing’s best tag team.

Several years ago, Paul recognized that Serrano, a seven-division world champion Puerto Rican was capable of much more than fighting on the small stage.

Genius.

Paul signed Serrano to his Most Valuable Promotions company and together they have been able to draw a mixture of fans long ignored by other promoters.

Welcome to the age of the influencers.

For the past several years Paul has fought MMA stars, boxers and other social media influencers. And when he signed Serrano she fought Katie Taylor in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden where their fight drew more than a million pay-per-views.

Paul (8-1, 5 KOs) meets Ryan Bourland (17-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round cruiserweight fight on Saturday March 2, at Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. DAZN will stream the card.

He will be co-piloting the fight card with the great Amanda Serrano (46-2-1, 30 KOs) who will be defending the undisputed featherweight world championship against Germany’s Nina “the Brave” Meinke (18-3, 4 KOs).

Once again Serrano and Paul will share a very good fight card that also features female super flyweights Krysti Rosario-Ortiz (2-0) and Gloria Munguilla (5-0).

Others on the card include Javon “Wanna” Walton, a featherweight out of Atlanta, Georgia. If he looks familiar there is a reason. He was featured in the Sylvester Stallone film Samaritan and also appeared in the HBO series Euphoria.

Walton has always boxed and now will be a part of the Paul and Serrano team.

Paul has that magic touch for attracting fans to boxing.

Just today Most Valuable Promotions signed Indian prizefighter Neeraj Goyat. The welterweight fighter was recently seen on social media approaching Paul in his training camp and daring the fighter to meet him in the boxing ring. The short video clip attracted more than 150 million views.

Paul, ever the think-out-of-the-box promoter, signed Goyat immediately.

“In just 2.5 years, MVP has organized some of the world’s most significant boxing events, and I’m excited to work with MVP to elevate the status of professional boxing in India and bring attention to boxers from India globally,” said an excited Goyat.

“His viral callouts of Jake Paul certainly got our attention,” said MVP co-founder Nakisa Bidarian.

Out-of-the box thinking.

Fights to Watch (all times Pacific Time)

Sat. DAZN 1:30 p.m. Amanda Serrano (46-2-1) vs Nina Meinke (18-3).

Sat. ESPN+ 2:10 pm Otabek Kholmatov 12-0, 11 KOs) vs. Raymod Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs); Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) vs Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs)

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Madueno Upsets Pauldo and Lopez Overcomes Escudero at Whitesands

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Madueno Upsets Pauldo and Lopez Overcomes Escudero at Whitesands

When it comes to professional boxing down in the Tampa Bay area, Canadian transplant Garry Jonas is a one-man band.

The architect of the Wednesday Night Fights series, Jonas doesn’t have to pay a site fee for the shows that he promotes because he owns the venue. The shows that he stages at his Whitesands Events Center in Plant City air on his live streaming platform ProBoxTV. His series currently has only one sponsor, a bookmaking operation called SportsBetting.Ag., and he owns that too. (A self-styled serial entrepreneur, Jonas continued his assault on the established order last week with his purchase of the respected Boxing Scene website, but that’s a story best saved for another day.)

Jonas promotes high-grade club fights. When he started this venture, he promised entertaining, well-matched fights and tonight he delivered. The “A” side fighters in the co-main events were matched tough.

In the featured bout, lightweight Justin Pauldo (17-2, 1 NC) was upset by Mexico’s Miguel Madueno. Managed by Jolene Mazzone, the former VP and matchmaker for Main Events and trained by Ronnie Shields, Pauldo, a resident or nearby Orlando, was unbeaten in his last 12 heading in.

In his previous start, Madueno turned in a lackluster performance against surging Canadian campaigner Steve Claggett. His showing (he was 30-1 with 28 KOs heading in) was inconsistent with his record. Tonight, he was more pugnacious, out-working the man in front of him, a 4/1 favorite. The decision was split; 97-92 and 95-94 for Madueno, 95-94 for Pauldo. There were no knockdowns, but the Mexican had a point deducted in round 5 for leading with his head.

Co-Feature

The co-main was an entertaining 10-round light heavyweight affair in which Edgar Berlanga stablemate Najee Lopez improved to 10-0 (8) with a hard-earned majority decision over Marcos Escudero (14-3). One of the judges had it a draw (95-95) but he was overruled by his cohorts who had it 97-93 and 99-91.

Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican descent but was born and raised in the Atlanta area, hadn’t previously gone beyond six rounds. He was the house fighter. Named the 2023 Prospect of the Year by the ProBox team of TV commentators, Lopez was making his eighth appearance at Whitesands. Escudero, a South Florida-based Argentine had won four straight heading in at club shows in Delray Beach, FL after back-to-back setbacks in competitive fights with Joseph George.

Escudero, who did most of the leading, had many good moments. The 99-91 tally against the Argentine was a head-scratcher. (Commentator Paulie Malignaggi said the offending  judge, Alvaro Rodriguez, should have his fee withheld and be forced to serve a one-year suspension.)

Also

In an 8-round lightweight contest, former two-time Olympian Tsendbaatar Erdenebat, a 27-year-old Mongolian southpaw who began his pro career in China and now resides in southern California, improved to 9-0 (4) with a unanimous decision over Guinea-born Mohamed Soumaoro (11-3) who was a willing mixer but was out-classed. The scores were 79-73 and 80-72 twice.

As one would expect from a two-time Olympian, Erdenebat is a good technician who puts his punches together well, but doesn’t have a lot of power. If his name rings a bell, he’s the fellow who purportedly sent Ryan Garcia to the hospital from the effects of a body punch during a sparring session.

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Two Featherweight Title Fights Top a Strong Bill at Turning Stone on Saturday

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When Top Rank announced in December that they would be returning to Turning Stone Resort & Casino for an ESPN+ show on March 2nd featuring two featherweight world title fights they promised a deep action-packed show. Usually such words fall by the wayside as the event ultimately comes together but in this instance the docket is loaded from top to bottom with name attractions, undefeated prospects, local grudge matches and two very well-matched co-headliners.

In the first of the co-headliners, Luis Alberto Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) makes the third defense of his IBF featherweight belt against Japan’s Reiya Abe (25-3-1, 10 KOs). Lopez is a popular brawler whose aggressive style and lack of attention to defense usually makes for entertaining fights. Abe, a southpaw, is a slick boxer who is coming off a career best win against Kiko Martinez last April. Abe has a style similar to that of Ruben Villa who outboxed Lopez to a ten round unanimous decision win in 2019.

The co-headline finale is being contested for the vacant WBA featherweight title between Otabek Kholmatov (12-0, 11 KOs) and Raymond Ford (14-0-1, 7 KOs). Both fighters were highly touted heading into the pro ranks. Ford has the speed advantage but Kholmatov has a big edge in power. Social media seems split right down the middle on this fight and oddsmakers agree installing Kholmatov as a very slight favorite as of this writing.

Also on this show is the return of the ever popular Nico Ali Walsh (9-1, 5 KOs) who bounced back from his first career defeat on Dec. 16 at a show in Guinea where he defeated a Frenchman with a 9-2-1 record (mysteriously, that fight isn’t yet listed on boxrec). He will face off against Luke Iannuccilli (7-0, 3 KOs). Walsh, Muhammad Ali’s grandson, will make his debut at Turning Stone Resort Casino in the same exact arena where his aunt and Boxing Hall of Famer Laila Ali made her professional boxing debut in October of 1999 with her legendary father sitting ringside. This will mark the fourth time a member of Muhammad Ali’s family has fought at Turning Stone.

The card also includes several contests featuring up-and-coming undefeated fighters. One match in particular to keep an eye on is an eight-round welterweight bout between a pair of unbeaten fighters in Rohan Polanco (11-0, 7 KOs) and Tarik Zaina (13-0-1, 8 KOs). Zaina opened some eyes last November when he defeated Marcelino Lopez and Polanco is coming off three consecutive wins against opponents who had a cumulative record of 39-3.

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t notate the local grudge match on the docket between Gerffred Ngayot (6-1, 5 KOs) of Buffalo and Bryce Mills (14-1, 5 KOs) of Syracuse. They are scheduled to face off in a six-round bout in the 140-pound division. They are on this show because each have solid local fan bases and matching them was a way to help fill the stands. Mills is a sharp accurate counterpuncher with all-around solid skills. Ngayot is an aggressive fighter who is not afraid to be first and fire away to the body. Stylistically this could turn into quite a barnburner and each have plenty of motivation to make a statement on what is a much bigger stage than they are accustomed to.

We are often quick to criticize those in the sport when cards come together that are seemingly either loaded with mismatches or bouts that just don’t pique much interest. This is an instance where those involved need to be applauded for putting together a card from top to bottom that will certainly give fans plenty of bang for their buck.

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