At 28 years old, Adrien Broner won titles in several different weight classes but needed a win against Jessie Vargas to remain relevant in the sport of boxing.
Adrien Broner is a peculiar case in the world of boxing. He has won multiple world titles, but just when he looked his best, he has disappointed at the pinnacle of his career.
He looked unbeatable against Antonio DeMarco in 2012, but he’s racked up three losses on his record since then. His career has been a seesaw of wins and losses in that time. Broner possessed incredible potential, but his erratic behavior inside and outside the ring has impacted his legacy and career.
He lost to Mikey Garcia in 2017, and he desperately needed a win against Jessie Vargas to maintain his status as an A-level fighter.
In Round 1, Broner took the center of the ring and threw out a series of jabs. His height and reach disadvantage was apparent as most of his punches missed. Vargas was content with staying outside, and he was able to maintain distance with his jab. He was more active and won the round.
Vargas stayed on the outside in Round 2, but his jab continued to land. Every time that Vargas threw a jab, Broner appeared frozen in place. With less than a minute remaining, Vargas threw combinations that landed. Broner’s hands were stuck in the guard, and he never let his hands go. Vargas won a dominant round.
Vargas continued to throw punches at a furious pace in Round 3. Broner had no answer for Vargas’s offense. Midway through the round, Broner made a brief offensive and pinned Vargas against the ropes, but he easily escaped.
For the remainder of the round, they fought in close quarters. Vargas got the better of the action because he stayed busier. Things heated up and Broner fought back, but it was too little too late. Vargas won another round.
Vargas stayed active in Round 4, but Broner landed several accurate right counters. Broner threw fewer punches than Vargas, but the ones he did throw landed. He was on his way to winning this round, but Vargas outworked Broner down the stretch to steal the round. Things didn’t look good for Broner.
Vargas peppered Broner for the first minute of the fifth round, and Broner rarely threw a punch. Broner continued to wait and Vargas continued to let his hands go. Broner hit the canvas with a minute to go, but it was ruled a slip. Optically, it was a bad look for Broner, and he continued to fall behind on the cards.
Broner tried to increase his work rate in Round 6, but Vargas matched his output. As Vargas started to throw, Broner remained stagnant. Vargas’s accuracy superseded Broner’s desire, and he won another round. Vargas was in complete control of the fight and was pitching a shutout.
Both boxers appeared to take Round 7 off. Nothing significant landed for either fighter, but Broner was a bit more active down the stretch. He could have won this round merely due to Vargas’s lack of interest.
Round 8 was a wrestling match. Fatigue set in, but Vargas used his size to push Broner around the ring. Broner landed several accurate jabs, but Vargas countered with left hooks that caught Broner on the chin. Broner fought back, but Vargas won another round by being more active.
Midway through Round 9, Vargas landed a slew of punches on Broner’s body and head. His power didn’t hurt Broner, but his activity level was stealing the round. In the last minute, Vargas appeared exhausted and Broner took advantage.
Broner teed off on Vargas for a minute straight and Vargas was in trouble. This was a clear round for Broner and Vargas looked gassed.
Vargas let his left jab go in the 10th, and it kept Broner away. The fight was close, and Broner took his foot off the gas. Both men were tired, but Vargas landed a straight right which was the best punch of the round. Broner flurried with 15 seconds to go, but Vargas outworked him for the majority of the round.
Broner pressed the action in the 11th. Vargas tried to fight back, but fatigue hit him harder than Broner. Vargas circled on the outside, but Broner stalked him and landed several meaningful lefts. It was a close round, but Broner appeared to get the best of the action.
Not much happened in the first two minutes of the 12th. It appeared like both men were taking the last round off. Broner walked forward, but neither man let their hands go. It didn’t look like either boxer was willing to put it all on the line. This round was a stalemate. Broner and Vargas lacked urgency which showed why they were fighting each other to stay relevant in the sport of boxing.
Vargas dominated the first half of the fight and Broner had a resurgence during the second half, but I thought he didn’t do enough to win against Vargas.
When the scores were read Julie Lederman scored the fight 115-113 for Broner. Judges Kevin Morgan and Eric Marlinski had it 114-114, which ruled the fight a draw.
Vargas came out hot in the first half of the fight, but he did fade as the bout went on. Broner fought hard, but he didn’t look like an A-level boxer. His career received a stay of execution, but his performance didn’t prove that he could hang with the best of the lightweight, super lightweight or welterweight divisions.