Adrien Broner celebrated victory as a welterweight for just the second time in his career – but a 10-round split decision over in Cincinnati merely offered more compelling evidence he doesn’t belong at 147lbs.
Granados started fast and rallied in the later rounds, but it wasn’t enough to upset the hometown fighter with two judges seeing it in Broner’s favour (97-93 & 96-94), and one (97-93) preferring the underdog’s work. Going into the fight, Broner was 29-0 at 140lbs or below but hadn’t won at the bigger weight since a debatable decision against Paulie Malignaggi in June 2013.
This success may have bucked that trend, but his distinct lack of pop at the welter limit was exposed yet again as he failed to make any impression on an opponent who had previously been on the canvas no less than six times in his career.
For Granados, his reputation as boxing’s unluckiest man is now secure, with this the fifth split decision loss on a 25-fight slate that also contains two draws.
The notoriously wayward Broner, who was boxing for the first time following a 15-month lay-off which included a jail term, said: “Adrian Granados is a world class fighter. I knew he was going to come tough. A lot of guys duck him but I wanted to fight him because that’s what I’m about. At the end of the day, I was beating him up. This was an easy one for me.
“I’m taking my career more seriously and being more positive. I want to apologise to everyone who looks up to me. I’m ready to be a better role model.”
Granados enjoyed the ringside support of fellow Chicago resident Irvine Welsh, the Scottish author of ‘Trainspotting’, and the 27-year-old swiftly unleashed his inner Francis Begbie as he let his hands go early, clearly having the better of the first two sessions.
Broner’s jab drew blood from Granados’ nose in the third and a big left on the bell sealed a good round for ‘The Problem’.
That momentum just about carried him through the fourth and the fifth before the pair traded furiously in the sixth. Again, Broner just about had the last word, but it had come at a cost. Visibly tiring, Granados came on strong in the seventh and eighth and the outcome was very much in the balance heading down the stretch. Broner’s cleaner in-fighting stood out in the ninth, while the 10th could have gone either way. Luckily for him, judge Robert Pope, who eventually turned in a 96-64 card, saw it in his favour or it would have been declared a draw.
Granados, whose stature grew in defeat, said: “I know I don’t have a perfect record, but I can beat anybody. Let’s do it again. He fought smart and did his thing. If he thinks he did it this time, let’s do it again. Broner knows there were lots of games played leading up to this. I just want to be treated fairly.”
That was a pointed reference to this bout originally being made at a 142lbs catchweight before being hastily bumped to welterweight when it became clear Broner would not make weight. And despite his eventual victory, his ongoing struggles on the scales – and the difficulties he had with Granados – should be more than enough to add a sobering dose of realism.
That’s not to denigrate ‘El Tigre’, but the influential suits behind Broner had hand-picked him for his ability to provide stiff resistance and little more.
However, many informed observers were tipping the Granados upset beforehand, and they did so because ever since the events of December 14, 2013, it has been practically impossible to place any faith at all in Broner.
That was the night his heralded welterweight debut ended in a savage mauling under the feral onslaught of Marcos Maidana – a chastening capitulation subsequently compounded by a playboy lifestyle and from which so many critical issues remain unresolved.
Primarily, in defeats to Maidana and latterly Shawn Porter, he has looked abjectly ill-equipped to deal with leading 147lbs fighters.
Whereas he scythed through the lower weight classes, he’s fallen embarrassingly short against elite bigger men. Broner would still undoubtedly be a force at 140lbs and below, but the farcical prelude to Saturday’s encounter shows it’s unlikely he can keep his size down.
The money fights are up at welterweight but ‘AB’ has done nothing to suggest he could live with the likes of Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook or Errol Spence. He doesn’t have the natural dimensions or punching power for 147lbs, nor does he boast the professionalism or discipline required for him to stay at 140lbs. The Problem has a sizeable one of his own.