Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Are Broner And Matthysse On A Collision Course?

The 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division has long been one of Boxing’s most competitive weight classes. The division currently features such names as undefeated unified WBC/WBA world champion Danny Garcia, IBF world champion Lamont Peterson, undefeated WBO champion Chris Algieri, Mauricio Herrera, Lucas Matthysse, and former three-division world champion Adrien Broner just to name a few. As has been the case over the years, there is certainly plenty of fighters in both the Jr. Welterweight and Welterweight divisions that can raise discussion among both fans and experts alike as to potential fights that could be made.

With undefeated WBO Jr. Welterweight champion Chris Algieri moving up to Welterweight to challenge WBO champion Manny Pacquiao in November for Pacquiao’s world title, some might be wondering what may be in store in the near future in the Jr. Welterweight division. On September 6th both Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse competed on the same card at the U. S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio in separate bouts. Matthysse, who was fighting for the second time after losing a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision to Danny Garcia last September faced undefeated contender Roberto Ortiz.

There is simply not much to say about this fight as Matthysse brought an end to the contest by dropping Ortiz with a left hook to the body late in the second round. In a scenario that has been seen in the sport before, Ortiz seemed to misjudge the count administered to him by Referee Benjy Esteves and got up from the knockdown as Esteves reached the count of ten. It is certainly not the first time that a fighter has suffered a knockout loss by misinterpreting the count of a referee. This however, was not a controversial stoppage, in my opinion.

Esteves was in position in front of Ortiz and did both verbally as well as visually indicate his count. Although Ortiz did appear to get up right at the count of ten, it appeared as though he may have simply misinterpreted the count and that ultimately cost him the fight. The mild controversy notwithstanding, Lucas Matthysse certainly maintained his position as a top contender in the division with this victory.

The main event on this card featured Adrien Broner in his second fight since moving down in weight to the Jr. Welterweight division as he faced Emmanuel Taylor. Broner, who scored a ten round unanimous decision over Carlos Molina earlier this year in his first fight at 140lbs.  was looking to get back into the world title picture after losing his WBA world Welterweight championship in December of last year to Marcos Maidana. Broner would get a tougher test than most expected against Emmanuel Taylor.

Taylor, who scored a ten round unanimous decision over Karim Mayfield in July entered the fight with an impressive record of 18-2, with 12 Knockouts in twenty professional fights. Broner however, a former world champion in three weight divisions did have more experience at the elite level of the sport. 

The first six rounds of this fight can easily be described as “Swing Rounds” where both fighters were able to have their moments and there can be a healthy difference of opinion as to who won those rounds. This was due to Taylor’s aggression in being able to force Broner back to the ropes and maintaining a consistent work rate in punches thrown. Broner however, did have the edge and hand speed and when he was able to let his hands go and land punches in combination that appeared to be more effective.

Broner was able to take over in the second half of the fight by letting his hands go and keeping the fight for the most part off of the ropes. In contrast to the first six rounds, Taylor’s offensive activity and aggression seemed to decline as the fight progressed. Although Broner suffered a cut as a result of a clash of heads in the eleventh round, he closed the fight strong knocking Taylor down with a left hand in the twelfth and final round to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision.

Even though both Matthysse and Broner were victorious in fights that they were expected to win, this card may have set the stage for a showdown between the two at some point in the near future. For his part, Adrien Broner stated after his victory over Emmanuel Taylor that he wants to fight Matthysse in his next fight.

In terms of what this might mean for the landscape of the Jr. Welterweight division, both Matthysse and Broner are rated number two and three respectively in the World Boxing Council (WBC) ratings. It is unclear where the current WBC number one contender Viktor Postol will factor into a potential fight between Broner and Matthysse in terms of rankings, but it would not surprise me to see a fight between the two labeled as a world title elimination bout with the winner to challenge unified champion Danny Garcia.

Even though there might be some questions in regard to what may be in store for the winner of that fight should it be made, I believe that a fight between the two offers a classic scenario of a boxer against a puncher and it will be a fight that both fans and experts will want to see. How soon can the fight be made is a subject for debate, but clearly it is one of the biggest fights that can be made at 140lbs. 

Are Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse on a collision course? We will have to wait and see.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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