Adrien Broner wins, squeaks by Jovanie Santiago
SAN DIEGO, Calif., February 20, 2021 – Former four-division champion Adrien Broner of Cincinnati (34-4-1, 24 KOs) had to contend with a two-year absence from the ring, the coronavirus pandemic, and more distractions outside the ring than most fighters ever face in his return on Saturday against Jovanie Santiago of Puerto Rico (14-1, 10 KOs). He ended the night with a decision win judges saw one way and fans another. Scores were 117-110, 116-11, and 115-112.
The first eight rounds were lackluster, and the less said about them, the better. When Broner finally heated up, the exchanges got a little more interesting. Both worked fairly good jabs. Santiago was the far busier fighter, landing 207 of 887 punches thrown (30%) versus 98 of 338 for Broner (29%). Santiago landed 83 jabs and 124 power shots, and 91 of those were to the body. Broner’s offense was split evenly, with 48 jabs and 48 power shots.
Looking only at the numbers, it’s hard to see how the judges scored it for Broner. Broner landed the heavier-handed shots, and if you reward power, Broner gets the nod. Admittedly it was a very close fight. A draw would have been fair. But when is boxing fair?
“It was cool. I hadn’t fought in two years. I thought I won. I feel I beat him in the gym, honestly,” said Broner after the fight. “I gotta go home and assess my performance. Later on, in the fight, I felt warm, so I started picking it up. I knew he was going to be tough, he’s 14 and 0. Anyone with an 0 wants to keep that 0. They fight like a bum fights for a sandwich,” said Broner.
It will be enough to give Broner fights against bigger names because he remains a draw. Saturday’s fight took place at welterweight, but after the fight, Broner says his goal is to win a belt at 140 pounds.
Broner: ‘Keep me in the ring’
Asked what he might change in his next fight, Broner replied, “What are you going to change? I’m going to change my drawers. Until I go look at my performance, I know what I’ll work on. I hope you all doubled up betting on me and shit.”
Broner said he needs to stay in the ring. “If I was fighting on the regular, nobody would have lasted. Maybe we’ll stop getting in trouble, keep me in the ring, and I’ll do what I do. It is a different Adrien Broner, it is. What happened is, I only had 13 dollars coming into this (deleted) fight. A lot of things gonna change. For the rest of the weekend, we’re going to pop bottles, cash checks, and have sex. Come Monday, we go back to work.”
Santiago shrugged off the loss. “It’s not surprising. He did a nice job in there. The decision could have gone both ways. It’s not that I thought I was losing the fight. We were in it to win the fight. He got the decision.
“Boxing fans know who I am now. To win this fight, I should have done a little more pressure, and the fight would have gone my way,” said Santiago.
Otto Wallin outworks Dominic Breazeale
Otto Wallin of Sweden (22-1, 14 KOs) was too active and too accurate for veteran Dominic Breazeale of California (20-3, 18 KOs) who put up a good effort but couldn’t keep up with Wallin as their 12 round bout went the distance. Scores were 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112.
It wasn’t the barnburner fans hoped for. Wallin kept his left jab busy, sneaking in hooks behind it. The right side of Breazeale’s face showed the accumulated damage. Breazeale has heavy hands but couldn’t move them fast enough to land shots that would hurt Wallin.
“Speed was the difference, good footwork, and smart fighting. I knew before the fight he was going to come out hard, he had a point to prove. I’m happy going 12 rounds and racking up experience,” said Wallin.
“I knew he is a strong guy, and he takes a pretty good punch. I mean, he was knocked out by Joshua and Wilder, but those are the biggest punchers in boxing. I’ve seen him take huge shots from other guys and didn’t go down. So I wasn’t that surprised. I wish I could have done a little better and knocked him down. All in all, this was a great experience for me. I’m 30 years old, but I haven’t been at a high level very long. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better, and I feel like I’m improving every fight.”
Breazeale admitted he let the early rounds get away from him. “Otto is a good boxer and did a good job of sticking and moving the whole fight. I did a little bit too much head-hunting at the start and paid for it on the back end.
“I don’t think the eye bothered me much, and I’ve had it busted up before. Otto did a good job of throwing the overhand right and making the eye look the way it does. He just did a better job of paying dividends on the body. I maybe landed 10 body shots the entire fight, which is unheard of for me.”
Wallin landed 232 of 699 total punches, with 129 power punches, to just 91 of 556 with 54 power punches for Breazeale.
Robert Easter Jr. breezes past Ryan Martin
In the opening bout, former lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. (23-1-1, 14 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio, dealt a boxing lesson to Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (24-2, 14 KOs) of Chattanooga, Tennessee by unanimous decision. The scores reflect Easter Jr.’s command in the fight: 118-110 X 2, and 117-111. In Easter Jr.’s second fight at junior welterweight, he was the busier fighter, controlling the pace behind a solid jab. It’s fight fundamentals, chapter one.
“Once I stay boxing, I get comfortable,” said Easter Jr. “I get a little bored, but everybody says when I box, when I use my jab, keep my distance, I make the fight that much easier. So that’s what I was working on the whole camp. Me and my dad have been stressing on using the jab, keep your distance, and that’s what we did.” Easter Jr. was headbutted by Martin and suffered a cut for the first time, which also motivated him to steer clear.
Martin couldn’t seem to get going. It was his first fight with trainer Mark Farrait in Florida, and Farrait was all about tough love in the corner. “You worked too hard for this. You’re giving him too much respect,” said Farrait. “You’re giving him the fight. Why aren’t you using your jab?” Farrait’s assessment was right.
“I thought I was competitive, but obviously, I could have done a lot of things better,” said Martin. “I followed him too much, and he was able to take away our game plan. He did a great job of keeping me on the outside. There’s not too much to say, he was the better man tonight.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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