Broner Captures WBC Lightweight Title
Lou Eisen / November 19, 2012 - 11:22am
In front of a small but enthusiastic Atlantic City crowd of 2,000 people, Adrien Broner put on a spectacular performance while thoroughly thrashing Antonio DeMarco, and in the process, capturing his WBC world lightweight title. If DeMarco is the best lightweight in the world today next to Broner, then the rest of the division's chances of beating Broner are slim to none and slim has left the building.
DeMarco won the title from Jorge Linares in a fight that started out as a war and ended as a bloodbath. Linares was favored to win and was ahead by the 10th round but DeMarco went out and battered Linares into submission before an absolutely stunned crowd. DeMarco was supposed to have a chance at making Broner's night uncomfortable. Some critics even chose him, unwisely, to hand Broner his first defeat. Ultimately DeMarco only ended up making his own corner extremely uncomfortable the longer the fight lasted.
Most boxing insiders generally agreed in private beforehand that this fight would be an easy win for Broner and it proved to be just that. In fact, during the post fight interview with the venerable Larry Merchant, Broner said he knew prior to stepping into the ring that DeMarco would pose no threat to him at all. He was a typical wade in and bang type of fighter. Guys like that usually come apart when facing a smooth technician like Broner.
If Broner had watched any tape of DeMarco while training for the fight he would have seen that DeMarco always followed the same pattern in every fight. Once the bell rings, he walks straight in and starts trading shots. Against Broner, DeMarco employed absolutely no head movement to make himself a more difficult target to reach. He also offered no head feints, no shoulder feints and no angles, all of which made him a sitting duck for Broner's exceptionally fast hands.
De Marco time and again would walk straight into Broner's wheelhouse and throw power shots, usually left hands, most of which usually missed their intended target by an extremely wide margin; even sliding to his left side just an inch or two would have created more punching lanes for the southpaw DeMarco's powerful left hand. He never once even bothered to vary his predictable routine, which made him an incredibly easy target for Broner to pick apart.
HBO's Jim Lampley said it best when he referred to DeMarco as, "Not a plan B type of fighter." DeMarco has only one style that he employs, namely brawling, and when that is unsuccessful, he is in for a long and very painful night, as he was against Broner in Atlantic City. All great boxers, and Broner is surely a great boxer, look for things to exploit in their opponent's style. For Demarco, Broner exploited his repetitive style. Fighters always do better when they are able to give their opponent many things to worry about during the fight. DeMarco was a one-trick pony against Broner.
Demarco entered the ring with a 3-inch height advantage and it showed throughout the fight as he towered over the smaller, 5'7" Broner. However, for some unknown reason, he did not fight like a fighter with a large height advantage. Rather than keeping the action on the outside of the ring, DeMarco chose to walk in and start throwing left hand bombs without setting them up first with his jab. By doing so he was voluntarily surrendering his significant advantage in height.
After the 5th and 6th rounds, DeMarco's corner asked him if he wanted to quit. Each time their fighter said no and that he was feeling fine and wanted to continue defending his crown. The look on DeMarco's face belied how he really felt. He was a beaten man and he knew it. Unfortunately for DeMarco, he was forced to be a witness at his own execution. He was physically helpless to avert his inevitable end.
In fact, DeMarco got hit flush on the face so often, fans had to start wondering if he was going to develop a cauliflower nose. Because of his height, DeMarco needed more room to get significant leverage on his left hand bombs if he hoped to be successful on the evening. Yet, time and again DeMarco stifled his own attack by crowding Broner, while not giving himself enough room to punch.
DeMarco was demonstrably more successful in the early rounds when he threw body shots from a distance. As the fight progressed, it fell into the same familiar pattern of Broner landing vicious power combinations at will on Demarco, who was virtually incapable of providing an adequate defense against Broner's onslaught of pink leather.
It was thought that the fact DeMarco is a southpaw would have given Broner some difficulty on the night but instead he handled his taller left-handed foe rather easily. If and this is a big if Demarco had been more consistent and accurate with his right hand jab he could have feinted it at times forcing Broner to move to his right directly in the path of DeMarco's left cross. It never happened. What it comes down to is this. You simply can't ask a fighter to do something in the ring during a fight that he has never done before in any previous fights.
DeMarco pleaded with his corner several times not to stop the fight and that he believed he still had a chance. After the 6th round, his corner no longer believed him. Yes, he did come back and defeat Linares in a fight that he was clearly losing. However, the relative skill level between DeMarco and Linares was just about even. The same cannot be said about the comparative skill levels of Broner and DeMarco. Broner may be the most skilled fighter in the world at this moment in time. One thing Broner proved outright tonight in Atlantic City is that speed kills power every time. Or as the legendary Angelo Dundee always said, "Speed never slumps!"
It should also be noted too that in Linares, DeMarco was fighting a stylistic clone of himself. DeMarco looked great in the latter rounds because all he had to do to find Linares was simply walk forward in a straight line. DeMarco's fans wanted him to be something he wasn't against Broner, which is a skilled technical boxer.
After the fight, DeMarco said he would go back to fighting at 140 lbs, which may be a better fit for him stylistically. There are still critics out there who continue to not be impressed by the effervescent Broner's increasingly spectacular performances. It is truly their loss. Broner fights at a skill level most fighters can only dream about. Many critics of Muhammad Ali never gave him his proper due for various odd reasons. Ali beat Sonny Liston by using superior hand and foot speed and lateral movement. Broner did the same thing against DeMarco and it worked to perfection. The scary thing about Broner is that he will only continue to get better with age and experience.
Can you imagine in five years from now, some fight fans may look back at the Demarco fight and actually consider Broner's performance to be an off night? Most likely, the lightweight division will be just a temporary abode for Broner on his way to the junior-welterweight division. Of course, fans are already talking about a potential Broner-Brandon Rios fight. Even the thought of such a match-up will make fight fans around the world salivate. If it happens, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, it has all the makings of a classic. Maybe then fight fans will once and for all forget about the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight that never was.