Akron, Ohio can rest easy knowing that their brood, Shawn Porter, overcame a plethora of obstacles to defeat Adrien Broner by unanimous decision on NBC. Broner, a Cincinnati native, tried to fake his way through “The Battle for Ohio” before scoring a late knockdown, but ultimately his offense was too basic and his defense too porous to defeat Porter, who turned in a determined performance.
Now 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts, Porter also got Broner back for a stream of pre-fight trash talk and disrespect that culminated in the latter’s refusal to shake hands at the weigh-in. Swagger again manifested during ring walks, as Broner tried to infect the Premier Boxing Champions sterility with some odd dance moves. It was a smokescreen; once Porter closed the distance and got physical, “The Problem” had no solutions.
A slower round one saw Porter press the issue toward the bell and into round two, and Porter managed to punch to the body with his free hand when clinched and stifled. The action devolved in a hurry after that point, with Broner holding almost in a panic with every collision or attempt at close work from Porter. The deck was already stacked in Broner’s favor in almost every conceivable way, from an absurd 144-pound catchweight and promoter interest, as well as the general expectation of who was supposed to win. None of this could bail Broner out when he found himself backing into punches, hitting the ropes or just unable to do what he wanted.
However, for most of the contest Broner was allowed to hold excessively and use his forearm or elbow in close. Both are tactics Broner has used in many other fights, notably in his 2013 loss to Marcos Maidana. But while Maidana was able to punish Broner for his unsavory antics by upping the ante and fighting rougher and dirtier, Porter generally stayed within the rules, often to a fault. He attempted to keep working when tied up, but referee Tony Weeks warned Broner roughly a half-dozen times for pushing Porter’s head down and holding, which Broner did every time Porter got close enough to work the body or do any kind of inside fighting.
It wasn’t until round 11 that Weeks finally took a point, and by then many offensive opportunities had already been taken away when it became clear Porter wouldn’t be allowed a fair shake in the clinches. But despite being handcuffed, Porter stayed busier and engaged more. To his credit, Broner responded to adversity by scoring a knockdown in the final round with a left hook. Porter got up buzzed and it took some time for him to get his sea legs back, but he got through it and even had Broner retreating to the ropes again before too long.
An almost recalcitrant smile hung on Porter’s face as scorecards of 114-112, 115-111 and 118-108 were read, as if he anticipated getting had by the judges. The cards were all for him, however, and Broner shook his head incredulously, not having learned anything from his previous loss, or any of the three wins since.
Shawn Porter earned the win by both out-working and out-landing Broner, but he still exhibits some of the same flaws that led to his being troubled by Julio Diaz and being handed his lone defeat by Kell Brook. Rather than cutting off the ring with his foot work or jabs, Porter advanced predictably, sometimes punching with his head down, relying on Broner’s poor reaction to pressure to keep the fight at that range. It worked, but only because Broner is that geographically clueless. There’s something to be said for Porter stepping out of his stylistic comfort zone by bullying on the inside, though; that and getting up from a knockdown took character.
Weighing in light in the character department is one Adrien Broner, 30-2 with 22 knockouts and 1 No Contest. Maidana rattled his bones enough to say Broner has a good chin, but he tried to buy his way out of that match with holding and complaining and playing up fouls. When under pressure from Porter, Broner again held and fouled enough that Weeks’ non-enforcement became a serious issue in the contest. Gone is the physical advantage he holds over foes at 135 pounds, and sometimes at 140, and those are divisions he seemingly won’t or can’t fight in anymore. Hard truths are necessary if he’s to approach that level again.
Ohio was going to come out a winner no matter what in this fight. Seeing hard work and respect rewarded while Broner got his well-deserved comeuppance just made it more enjoyable for everyone else. — Patrick Connor