Adrien Broner may be on the precipice of a make or break moment– and he’s probably not even aware of it.
On February 18. the four-division world champ and current WBA junior welterweight titlist is booked to have a showcase fight in front of his hometown Cincinnati audience. Those betting on boxing will see that his challenger, Adrian Granados, is about a three-to-one underdog coming into the bout.
On paper, Broner-Granados sure looks like the mismatch it may have been intended to be. In reality, though, the cold stats just don’t tell the story of how complicated this bout could be for the cocky and controversial Broner.
Granados’ modest record of 18-4-2 with 12 KOs and overall pedestrian skill set make the Chicago-area native purely middle of the pack when it comes to being regarded as a dangerous underdog. In the eyes of Broner and his team, a recent upset win over well-regarded prospect Amir Imam has earned him just enough street cred to be a viable fall guy for a Broner showcase.
But there’s a major flaw in that line of thought.
Granados is a tenacious pressure fighter who never seems to rest and never stops throwing leather. Fighters like Granados grind down opposition and very often reveal mental and physical weaknesses in their rivals.
Meanwhile, Broner, despite his advantages in skill and raw ability, is a notoriously distracted character who really hasn’t displayed elite-level focus or in-ring execution since his ugly beating at the hands of Marcos Maidana in late 2013.
These days, Broner is more likely to be written up for out-of-ring altercations and side projects than for his ring performances. He may be 5-1 since the Maidana loss, but not one of those five wins has featured much more than the 27-year-old going through the motions en route to a payday.
And, when it comes to opponents like Granados, history tells us that “going through the motions” is frequently the best way to suffer an embarrassing upset defeat.
Granados, who just happens to be a former sparring partner for Broner, has also spent much of this particular training camp under the guidance of legendary Mexican trainer Nacho Beristain– something which will feed his confidence level against a foe who he knows can be upset with the right amount of push.
“I know what’s going to happen. If I hurt him I’ll try to stop him. I want to be the first to knock out Adrien Broner,” Granados recently told ESPN Deportes. “They think he’s going to knock me out, but I’m going to keep knocking down the walls they’re putting in front of me.”
So, while Broner-Granados is technically still regarded as a mismatch, the betting odds don’t yet reflect the reality of what could happen when the fight actually starts.
Broner is ripe for an upset and Granados is as close as he’ll ever be to being the right guy to deliver that upset. Broner (and the rest of us) should not take the plucky underdog lightly.