By Brad Marchetti: Saturday, August 20th welterweight contender Adrien Broner will return from an 18-month layoff to face top-30 veteran Omar Figueroa Jr. in a scrap that could make or break the career of either fighter. Broner vs Figueroa betting odds for the 12-rounder from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida has the popular Broner instilled as a -200 betting favorite with 80 of the action on the favorite.
Figueroa, 28-2-1, 19 KO’s, got waxed via Ko6 in his last bout against Abel Ramos and is in a must-win situation to remain relevant. The cocky Floyd Mayweather protege Broner, 34-4-1, 24 KO’s, has failed to live up to expectations as a professional but was able to notch a workmanlike decision win in his last outing against fringe contender Jovanie Santiago.
Adrien “The Problem” Broner’s biggest problem in his career has been in himself, can he put together one more quality performance at the tail end of his career? Figueroa’s best wins have been against hittable fighters that were usually over the hill, can he figure out a clever veteran like Broner?
Brandon Figueroa – Profile
Strengths: “Panterita” is long-armed at 5’7 1/2″ with a 73″ reach. A durable guy that takes a good punch to the head. Well-conditioned with a larger than average gas tank. His awkward style and perpetual shifty movement make him tough to time with a single blow. Throws lots of leather trying to impose his will on opponents.
Scrappy in-fighter that can bulldoze guys who can’t fight in the kitchen. Uppercuts are his best weapon, using them like small axes in close quarters. Fights mostly righty but can duel southpaw, firing punches from tricky angles. Experienced prizefighter that briefly held the W.B.C. lightweight title for 2 defenses before moving up to jr. welterweight.
Weaknesses: Smallish for a welterweight without much of a punch for a top-level boxer. Legendary trainer Angelo Dundee once said that “The smaller the move the better the move” meaning that smaller defensive movements are better than big ones.
Figueroa’s style is filled with big unnecessary defensive movements that limit his ability to stand in position and score. The excessive defensive movements also cause the Texan to impale himself on punches. Comes from a fighting family and puts his heart on his sleeve for better or worse, often brawling when he would be better served to box.
Adrien Broner – Profile
Strengths: Fast twitch athlete with a smooth style like his idol Mayweather. Bigger puncher than his mentor ”Money” and is physically a little stronger weighing around 157-158 Lbs. on fight night. A slick fighter with plus ring vision, hand placement, and use of shoulder rolls. Can fight at different distances giving him versatility against different styles. Good counter-puncher especially with a check hook that has leverage from a wide stance.
Goes to the body with authority and quickness at his best countering at mid-range against slower competitors. Above-average chin with a gritty toughness from the streets of Cincinnati, Ohio. Knows how to close the show when he has an opponent hurt. Carries power late into fights. Competent ring general that could be considered a savvy veteran despite being only 32-years old.
Weaknesses: Short for a welterweight at 5’6 1/2″ with suspect focus and training habits. Can be hammered over the top in the temple because of low hand positioning and diminished reflexes. Fights too flat-footed often exposing himself to punches around the gloves to the head and up the middle to the solar plexus. Uses the jab more as a range finder than an effective offensive tool.
Punch volume is poor for a top-level contender. A slow starter that often gives away early rounds trying to shake off ring rust. With millions in the bank and options outside of boxing his determination to win is questionable.
Fight Picks: Broner via unanimous decision 115-113