The name on the back of his shorts said Adrien Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs). So did the pictures on the billboards. Yet, what we saw on Saturday, February 20, 2021 was simply the name.
In facing Jovanie Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs), Broner was given the easiest assignment possible. On paper, Broner would stomp his man, call out a few names, curse out several others and be back in the title mix. Broner did in fact curse out a few people and called out a few others but he certainly didn’t stomp his man. Nor did he impress.
From the moment the first three minutes of their contest, which took place at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville Connecticut, went by, it was clear that the same problems that had plagued Broner’s career were still the same.
Simply put, Broner just doesn’t throw punches.
In the opening frame, the former four-division titlist didn’t land a single punch according to Compubox. While that round proved to be an anomaly, Broner never truly found a rhythm. At times, the Cincinnati Ohio native would plow forward and land a pretty combination. However, those moments were few and far between.
The first three rounds appeared to be an easy one to call as Santiago outworked his man. Broner’s pushing and holding tactics weren’t a welcome sight. In round four, after once again being forced to play defense, Santiago and Broner traded shots – after the bell.
With Santiago’s actually landing, he was deducted a point in the fifth. Seemingly unbothered by the event, Santiago continued to maul Broner.
Finding range for the former titlist wasn’t much of an issue but getting himself to actually pull the trigger was.
As the midway point and championship rounds began to roll by, Santiago appeared to be building a lead. Nothing looked pretty or even effective but the mere fact that he threw punches left Broner at a decided disadvantage.
With what many believed to be the biggest win in his career nearly wrapped up, the head coach of Santiago attempted to motivate his man to score the knockout over Broner. Those words though, seemed perplexing considering many believed Broner was way behind on the cards.
But while many stood clueless as to why Santiago was given those instructions, his head trainer knew something funny was about to happen.
Santiago followed the words of his headman and left it all in the ring in the final round. The win appeared to be punctuated. However, nothing is secure in the sport of boxing.
Despite out landing Broner 207-98, and throwing roughly twice as many punches, all three referees found a way to hand Broner the unanimous decision victory on the night. Needless to say, few if any, agreed with their assessment.
Finally Grade For Adrien Broner: F
Jovanie Santiago was called in on roughly a month’s notice. He was an unknown fighter and was fighting for the first time in the United States. Regardless of any of that, Broner couldn’t do anything against him.
The still flamboyant star just simply doesn’t have it anymore. He may sound like Adrien Broner and still look like him but the fact of the matter is, the old Adrien Broner is long gone.