Shawn Porter may have 99 problems, but Adrien Broner isn’t one.
Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Porter displayed superb head movement and survived the first knockdown of his career to capture a unanimous-decision victory over Adrien “The Problem” Broner.
For the record, Jay-Z was not ringside. However, Justin Bieber was.
Showtime Shawn was rewarded for his aggression in the welterweight bout, fought at a catch-weight of 144 pounds and billed as the Battle of Ohio with Porter hailing from Cleveland and Broner from Cincinnati. The judges scored it 118-108, 115-111, and 114-112.
Porter (26-1-1) clearly studied the blueprint for beating Broner (30-2), a former champion in three divisions, that Marcos Maidana established in December 2013. Porter charged ahead all evening, cutting down the distance that Broner likes to fight from and staying on the inside.
“That’s how you beat a great fighter – with intelligence,” said Porter, who is trained by his father Kenny Porter. “Coming out, we wanted to establish our jab and show that we were the better boxer. I did, and it opened things up for me.”
With Porter ahead on the scorecards, Broner landed a vicious left hook at the dawn of the 12th round, and the 27-year-old Porter tasted the canvas for the first time in his career. A lesser fighter would not have gotten up.
Broner’s strategy of holding and clinching Porter when he got in close was finally penalized in the 11th round, when veteran referee Tony Weeks deducted a point after multiple warnings, as well as jeers from the crowd.
The trash-talking and cat-quick Broner, who views himself as the heir to Floyd Mayweather’s throne, is in danger of being regarded as more style than substance.
“I’m okay,” said Broner, who often trains with Mayweather in Las Vegas and calls him his big brother. “My kids are okay. I’m financially fine. Great champs can take a loss just like a win.
“I’m a real animal. At the end of the day, everyone in here will take my autograph and take my picture.”
Broner took the lion’s share of the purse, earning $1.35 million, while Porter pocketed $1 million. Porter debuted as a pro in 2008 at 165 pounds and has gradually moved down in weight in order to fight higher-profile opponents.
The bout was the main event of the latest installment of Premier Boxing Champions. The PBC is the brainchild of businessman Al Haymon, who, much to the chagrin of executives at Top Rank and Golden Boy, is altering the landscape of the sport. The PBC seeks to bring boxing back to the mainstream by airing fights on network television that would otherwise only be on HBO and Showtime.
Whom Broner and Porter will square off against next is anyone’s guess. Even though the reign of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is finally nearing its end, the welterweight division remains the deepest in boxing. With the likes of the two Buckeyes and Maidana, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley, and Danny Garcia in their primes, any number of big-ticket fights can be made. (Brook defeated Porter in a bloodbath that went the distance in August 2014.) Terence Crawford is also lurking at 140 pounds.
Errol Spence Jr., an undefeated former Olympian who dominated Phil Lo Greco in the undercard, appears ready for a step up in competition. The one-time sparring partner of Mayweather is lobbying for a fight with Thurman.