Adrien Broner vs Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr vs Phil Lo Greco & Terrell Gausha vs Luis Gradeja
BY KID HERSH
From the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas came PBC on NBC. First up was the blue chip prospect Errol Spence Jr. (16-0, 13ko's) vs Phil Lo Greco (26-1, 14ko's). Lo Greco is a late replacement for Roberto Garcia, who could not make the weight. Garcia would have been a very, very good test for Spence so it's too bad it didn't come off. I think he would have handled him with his boxing just fine but Garcia is a tough dude that is hard to break mentally so while I wouldn't have bet on it, Garcia backing out could have been a blessing in disguise for the youngster because it would have been a fairly large step up in talent in my opinion. Spence took control of the fight right away with his jab and then by the second round was digging powerful body shots and rapidly breaking down his man. Lo Greco was standing his ground in the third when he was dropped early on from a right hook to the temple after he murdered the body further. Lo Greco got back up and went straight at Spence, trying to hurt him back, but Spence took his time and laid back while sitting down on his shots, countering Lo Greco and breaking him down and punishing him further until the fight was stopped. Looked invincible here, as usual.
Next up was another Olympian Terrell Gausha (14-0, 8ko's) vs Luis Gradeja (18-4-2, 14ko's). Both fighters were tense in the first round and their punches were tight and robotic. Gausha always tends to have a tight and robotic, or predictable, style of fighting. It drives me crazy that he throws one shot at a time and is a very standard 1-2 fighter. He was handily controlling the action until Grajeda came on in the fourth round by stepping forward and landing some of his own shots. It was not enough to control the action consistently but he was having more success by doing this in the fifth round as well. The rest of the fight followed much of the same pattern, with me thinking that while Gausha is no doubt winning the rounds and controlling his man well if he would just throw some combinations (besides 1-2 and put them together more) he would probably be able to take his man out of there. But, it went the full eight rounds and he easily got the clear cut decision. I don't see as much potential in him as a lot of other people do. I think he really needs to work on his offense (in the same likeness as Broner) and that he is actually very predictable with his delivery. He reminds me of an older standup European fighter.
The main is the highly anticipated bout between two very very talented top level fighters in Adrien Broner (30-1, 22ko's) vs (Shawn Porter (25-1-1, 16ko's). In the first round Porter was moving around the ring and looking to feel out Broner and box him - a bit surprisingly but it is probably just a feeler. Broner didn't do much of anything other than step forward one foot at a time. Porter would continue to. Get the edge in the rounds by simply out-throwing Broner, who has an abysmal punch output (my problem with him and watching him has always been this - I still don't see why he is a draw with so many stinker fights). Porter is out boxing Broner still into the middle rounds, being just shifty enough and quick enough on his feet to blunt Broner's output - which is also due to Broner being a straight line fighter vs Porters lateral movement. Broner was getting frustrated by the seventh round from not being able to get his punches off and was warned (for a second time) when he threw an overhead punch backwards at Porter when the men were tied up. The fight is pretty ugly, low output, and low land percentage with lots of inside mauling and holding, with Broner no doubt knowing he cannot keep up with Porters elite stamina and so he ties him up every chance he gets. Broner was docked a point for holding in the eleventh, with the crew (BJ Flores and Sugar Ray Leonard) agreeing with the point deduction as I was wishing it would have been many many rounds ago to curb the ugly fight. In the twelfth and final round there was a shocker when about a minute into the round Broner landed a powerful lead left hook on Porters chin that was fully exposed due to both his hands being far too low. Broner got a nice, clean knockdown from the shot - putting Porter on his rear for the first time in his career. Porter rose and recovered quickly - having some of the best stamina and conditioning in the sport - to close out the final round making an account of himself and showing Broner did not hurt him badly. Porter would get the close but UD and very deservingly so. Great upset win for him despite it being an ugly fight. That was not his problem or doing at all - it was Broner that is not too great to watch offensively at times, as he plucks away with one punch at a time.