by Geoff Poundes
The task facing Vincente Escobedo this Saturday night, when he mounts a challenge upon rising superstar Arien Broner’s WBO super-featherweight title, could be likened to that of King Canute. Broner looks pretty much unbeatable on current form, and there’s nothing in his challenger’s (26-3, 15 KOs) resume to suggest he has the tools to solve “The Problem”. They’ll fight at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
At just twenty-two years of age, Broner is beginning to suggest that he may be the natural successor to Floyd Junior as pound for pound king; he’s unbeaten in 23 contests, and he’s brought nineteen of those fights to a close inside distance. This will be his third defence of the title, and he’s already made clear his intention to move up to 135 pounds once he’s cleared Escobedo out of the way, which he’ll surely do.
Broner is gaining a degree of notoriety away from the ring with some bizarre Twitter messages, in which he posts messages and even pictures of his toilet habits, but whatever his off-piste activities his skills in between the ropes are unquestionable – he’s super-slick, punches hard and fast with either hand, and his confidence in his own abilities is boundless. Broner is great box-office, has the frame to grow into several weight divisions as he ages, and could conceivably win titles all the way up to welterweight.
The young man is excited about his future: “This will be my last fight at 130lbs and I’m going to go out with a bang,” he said. “I’m young, I’m 22, I’m still growing. It’s time for me to go up. After this fight there wouldn’t be a reason for me to stay. I’m just gonna go up and give the lightweights hell.”
Escobedo does present a stubborn obstacle – he’s not been stopped before – but I still expect Broner to overwhelm him and force a stoppage somewhere between the seventh and tenth rounds.