AB is back.
Former four-division titlist Adrien Broner ended a lengthy ring absence with a landslide ten-round decision win over Pittsburgh’s Bill Hutchinson. Broner won by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 99-91 in the main event of a Don King-promoted Fite TV Pay-Per-View event Friday evening from Casino Miami Jai Alai.
Broner was due to return to the ring last August versus Omar Figueroa atop a Showtime tripleheader from nearby Hollywood, Florida. The former four-division titlist withdrew just ahead of fight week, citing mental health issues.
An effort to return earlier this year saw three separate opponents fall through for a variety of reasons, which left Broner with a full training camp but an ultimately canceled February event in Atlanta. He then resurfaced one month later with the shocking news of a signed promotional deal with King, which led to Friday’s main event.
All told, Broner was out of the ring for nearly 28 months but hardly mattered versus the hand-picked Hutchinson who fought his first scheduled ten-round contest and was out of the ring for more than a year. The Cincinnati native caught Hutchinson with a quick left hook upstairs before he connected with a right hand and left hook downstairs. Hutchinson was trapped along the ropes during two separate exchanges as Broner continued to target the body.
Hutchinson tried to make a fight out of it in round two. Broner fought behind a high guard and a sharp jab but was not overzealous with his offense. Hutchinson threw right hands with confidence though most were either blocked or well short of the mark. Broner connected with a left hook and straight right hand which set up a final sequence of power shots just before the bell.
The best moment of the fight for Hutchinson was met with a swarm of right hands. The 34-year-old punching attorney landed a left hook in round three, which Broner took well and responded with clean right hands to the chin of Hutchinson. Broner continued to punch with conviction but also at a pace that suggested he was happy to get in some much-needed rounds.
Hutchinson attempted a combination but missed the mark in round four. Broner was far more successful in his attack, as his left hook landed upstairs and to the body. Hutchinson was warned by referee Samuel Burgos for leading with his head late in the round.
Round five opened with Hutchinson’s best stretch of the fight. He found early success with his left hook in the first 30 seconds and also landed a right hand upstairs. Broner quickly turned the tide and began to wear down Hutchinson, who was given a long, hard look by the referee in the closing seconds but was able to make it out of the round.
Broner slowed down just enough for Hutchinson to mount a brief rally in round six. Broner continued to target the body but Hutchinson was able to connect with a right hand to the chin and later with a left hook downstairs. Broner saved his offense for when they were at close quarters where he would catch Hutchinson with a short uppercut.
Hutchinson opened up his offense in round seven though it proved a disservice. Broner connected with combinations through the guard of Hutchinson, who was forced to contend with a mouse under his left eye.
Broner hurt Hutchinson to the body with a left hook inside the final minute of round eight. It came after he landed a right hand upstairs but it was the left hook downstairs that nearly doubled over Hutchinson. Broner continued to press the action but Hutchinson was able to clinch and avoid further damage to make it to the bell.
The round-ending surge appeared to briefly fatigue Broner, whose mouth was visibly open throughout the ninth. Hutchinson jabbed and threw right hands before he stepped back to avoid the incoming. Broner’s offense slowed as a result, reduced to one punch at a time for much of the frame.
Time was called at the start of the tenth and final round as the ringside doctor assessed the facial damage absorbed by Hutchinson. The bout was permitted to proceed but Hutchinson—despite his willingness otherwise—was able to land the type of game-changing shot to erase the massive scorecard deficit. Broner threw the occasional right hand but otherwise stood directly in front of Hutchinson and managed to slip most of the incoming punches.
Hutchinson can claim to have gone ten rounds with a former multi-division titlist as a moral victory. The actual result was his first defeat in more than seven years.
Broner advanced to 35-4-1 (24KOs) with the win, his second in a row since a twelve-round, unanimous decision defeat to Manny Pacquiao more than five years ago.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox