Broner Decisions Taylor With Fun Rally In Night Of Flawed Fights On Showtime

(Adrien Broner celebrates his knockdown of Emmanuel Taylor; Stephanie Trapp, Showtime)

A showcase tripleheader on Showtime delivered a fun main event, yet one that also demonstrated the limitations of its star, while the undercard had its share of flaws, too.

A hungry Emanuel Taylor leaped from ESPN2 to a Showtime main event and gave Adrien Broner as much as he could handle before losing a decision. Broner is physically talented, yet lacks Taylor’s hunger. It made for a more even than expected match-up; Taylor pressured Broner like Marcos Maidana did, only not as well, and added some speed and technique to it. Broner isn’t the same monster above 135 that he was below it, but at 140 he’s still fast enough and hits hard enough to contend.

This was the typical “one guy fighting over his head and the other guy fighting below his capabilities” situation, although at a certain point, if Broner keeps fighting below his capabilities, then we have to adjust what those capabilities are. Inside the ring, Broner has guts, as he demonstrated with his 10th round rally and another in the 12th that led to an uppercut knockdown and moved the fight definitively into his column were there any doubts. The 116-111, 115-112 and 116-111 scorecards were about right. But Broner clearly likes being a star more than he likes being a boxer, as he hasn’t shown an iota of growth — in fact, regression — since abandoning lightweight. Showtime broadcasters calling it a “terrific” performance and hyping how “technical” the fight was repeatedly was sheer boosterism. Broner can make good fights. That he’s making them against even a souped-up version of Taylor says Broner can’t make himself all that good.

The next flawed performance came from Benjy Esteves, who called off Lucas Matthysse-Roberto Ortiz at approximately the count of nine as Ortiz was standing back up in the 2nd round following a mean left hook body shot. The 1st round was a feeling-out round, and Matthysse had trouble finding the range; by the 2nd, Matthysse had found it. Ortiz shouldn’t have waited to stand up at the count of nine, but Esteves shouldn’t have waved it off since he beat the count. Matthysse wants a rematch with junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, which he probably won’t get. Showtime seems to be steering us toward Matthysse-Broner, which we probably won’t get, what with the Al Haymon-managed fighter showcase trend on the network amid the Golden Boy Promotions shakeup.

Naturally the card started off with some flaws, namely those of welterweight Andre Berto. He caught hell from Steve Upsher, and a version of Upsher who at times threw so few punches that many viewers were speculating that he was trying to throw the fight. Berto was his usual self despite a 14-month layoff, which is to say, fast and willing to exchange, but also, of course, hittable and sloppy. He landed a lot of power shots and got caught with just about as many. He deserved to win the decision. Let’s see him against someone next time who will give the appearance of wanting to win.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.