In the opening bout of HBO’s split site doubleheader, Adrien Broner did what he was supposed to against a completely overmatched opponent, stopping Argentinean Martin Rodriguez midway through the 3rd round with a crushing left hook.
Fighting in front of his hometown fans at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, Broner came out aggressively in the 1st round, demonstrating the immense speed and skill differential between himself and Martinez, who came in having never fought outside of Argentina.
In the 2nd round, Rodriguez came with unrelenting pressure and momentarily took control of the fight. Broner easily defended the majority of Rodriguez’ punches but failed to offer much in response, giving his opponent the round.
Rodriguez resumed his aggressive tactics in the 3rd round, but Broner now had his timing down and began to land sharp counters. A perfect counter uppercut from Broner hurt Rodriguez and led to the climactic onslaught.
In the midst of his follow-up attack, Broner threw a hard left hook that spelled the end of Rodriguez, dropping him to the seat of his shorts with blood flowing from his mouth as he listened helplessly to the referee’s count of diez with 1:17 remaining in the round.
This was Broner’s second consecutive early knockout on HBO, although Martinez was an entirely undeserving HBO opponent. Nonetheless, with the impressive-looking win, Broner continues his ascent in the star-deprived junior lightweight division.
Although the weight class lacks big names, it does boast promising young fighters in addition to Broner, like Eloy Perez and Diego Magdaleno, who could quickly make the division one to watch. In addition, junior lightweight may soon see an infusion of stars from lower weight classes, like Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez, and even potentially Nonito Donaire in the more distant future. Broner should have plenty of worthwhile opponents to test his impressive skill set against whenever he chooses to step up his level of competition.
Because of the early stoppage, HBO aired the entire replay of the featherweight bout between Gary Russell, Jr. and Heriberto Ruiz. Russell landed a righteous right hook body/right hook chin combination to stiffen Ruiz and win by an impressive 1st round knockout. Russell continues to demonstrate the speed and skills of a future star; he could now stand to take a step or two up in competition himself.