One of boxing’s brightest fallen stars Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner looks to continue on his comeback trail at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on March 7th against game contender John Molina Jr. in a 140lb light welterweight match up.
Broner is now having to face off against fringe level light-welterweights in a rebuilding process since his devastating loss to Marcos ‘El Chino’ Maidana. He dominated with such ease down at featherweight and lightweight as he rose to prominence and won in such fashion that he almost rendered the rest of the fighters and belt holders as obsolete in those weight categories. However when it came to moving up to welterweight, he did it too quickly. He went straight from lightweight up to welterweight and jumped straight in at the deep end of the division by facing some of the divisions best fighters. The warning signs were there at welterweight when he only just managed to edge a split decision win against Paulie ‘Magic Man’ Malignaggi in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. Malignaggi was the WBA champion and a world level operator without a doubt but widely considered as the weakest of the world champions at that weight class. However he was able to expose Broner’s weaknesses and his opponent, despite winning, struggled to cope with his fast combinaton punching. This was something that Marcos Maidana ruthlessly exploited with huge success when he dismantled Broner back in December of 2013 by throwing a lot of leather and brutal combinations.
Due to the manner in which Maidana embarassed him, the fear factor and indomitable aura that Broner possessed as an undefeated fighter seems to have dissipated. His knockout power which was frightening down at lightweight doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the same effect against the bigger stronger contenders in the welterweight classes.
He has now dropped back down to light welterweight and has picked up unanimous points wins over Emmanuel Taylor and Carlos Molina. The calibre of fighters that he is now facing are the sort of fighter he should have faced after stepping up from lightweight in preparation for the bigger names in what is a stacked division. Broner has not been nearly as convincing in victory in his last couple of fights. It could be that he is fighting more cautiously in order to ensure victory; after all the bottom line is that he just needs to rack up some wins at the moment to get back on track. However, psychologically his opponents are going to be less daunted and more willing to take the fight to him after seeing him defeated and hurt badly.
Molina may well be looking at the Maidana fight as a blueprint for victory. He will have to have a high intensity work rate and throw a very high number of punches per round in order to spring an upset. Whether the 32- year old still has enough in the tank to produce such a performance is in question. Molina has lost his last two fights against hard hitting Argentine Lucas Matthysse and Mexican veteran Humberto Soto. His last notable win came back in July of 2013 when he produced a shock upset to beat previously undefeted TMT fighter Mickey Bey via a 10th and final round TKO at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Nevertheless he’s the type of fighter that you cannot afford to underestimate.
Broner should have enough in his locker to negotiate John Molina Jr but without doubt he cannot afford to be complacent in his approach. The ramifications of a loss to Molina at this point could prove to be effectively career ending. There is a concensus that Broner is being matched carefully at the moment by his management team who are desperate for their man to get back to winning in style now that he has got a couple of wins under his belt since taking his first loss. A points win though looks most likely. The 25-year old from Cincinatti, Ohio has achieved so much so young in the sport of boxing and is fortunate in that he has plenty of time on his side to learn the lessons needed to get to the top. Nothing but a humbling defeat would have made him listen to the advice of others. He could prove to be a better fighter for it.
Broner: W29 KO22 L1 KO0 KO%70.97
Molina: W27 KO22 L5 KO2 KO%68.75