By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Adrien Broner didn’t get the victory he thinks he earned Saturday night.
Broner is sure, though, that the way he fought against Jessie Vargas proved the inconsistent ex-champion can continue to succeed against championship-caliber opposition. Even Broner feels his majority draw with Vargas amounted to a close fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but the Cincinnati native figures fighting in an entertaining way was exactly what he needed to show boxing fans in his first fight after losing to Mikey Garcia.
“Sh*t, my stock go up,” Broner said at ringside late Saturday night. “Y’all see what I did in here? Did y’all see what I did in here? Come on, man, did y’all see what I did in here? And do y’all see the type of performance I put on, man? I performed for y’all.”
His fight against Las Vegas’ Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) was widely viewed as one Broner couldn’t afford to lose if he is to remain in contention for sizeable paydays and meaningful fights against top opponents. The 28-year-old Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC), one of the most polarizing people in boxing, lost a decisive decision to Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) in their 12-round, 140-pound bout July 29 at Barclays Center.
He was much more competitive and entertaining Saturday night than he was against Garcia. Broner still didn’t let his hands go enough at times, but he was very accurate with his power punches versus the defensively flawed Vargas (152-of-347; 44 percent).
Only one judge, Julie Lederman, scored their 12-round, 144-pound fight for Broner (115-113). Two judges, Eric Marlinski and Kevin Morgan, scored the action even (114-114).
Broner still was pretty pleased with how he performed in his first fight with no-nonsense veteran Kevin Cunningham as his head trainer. Cunningham, who previously worked Broner’s corner, ran what Broner called a “militant” training camp in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“Very different,” said Broner, who made $1 million, twice what Vargas earned ($500,000). “As you can see, I was letting my hands go more. This is just the first fight with Kevin. It was a very different training camp and I felt great. As you can see, I’m as clean as a whistle. I ain’t got a scratch on me. I look good. I look like I just walked in the ring. He f*cked up. He probably gotta spend the night in the hospital.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.