By Jake Donovan
All week long, Adrien Broner and Emmanuel Taylor have threatened to inflict massive amounts of harm upon each other. They finally get to let their fists do the talking when they meet Saturday evening at the U.S. Bank Arena in Broner's hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The bout airs live on Showtime, topping a televised tripleheader (9:30PM ET).
Broner (28-1, 22KOs) won his first major title at home, stopping Vicente Rodriguez in three rounds to claim a super featherweight belt in Nov. '11. The title reign also ended at home, as Broner was stripped of the belt at the scales after failing to make weight prior to his July '12 bout with Vicente Escobedo.
The fight was nearly canceled before Escobedo agreed to move forward - following a considerable increase in pay - hours before the event. Broner went on to win by 5th round knockout, but his lack of professionalism rubbed many the wrong way.
So went his last home trip. He's since added title wins at 135 and 147, racking up title fight wins over Antonio DeMarco, Gavin Rees and Paul Malignaggi while developing into one of the sport's best TV draws. His unbeaten run came to a crashing halt last December, as he was battered over 12 rounds by Marcos Maidana in San Antonio.
A comeback win over Carlos Molina this past May saw Broner drop down to 140 lb., a division he skipped over in pursuit of welterweight glory. It's a division in which he has now planted the proverbial flag, pining for a showdown with Lucas Matthysse, who faces Roberto Ortiz in the evening's co-feature.
Taylor (18-2, 12KOs) was all too willing to accept assignment to face Broner in his hometown. In fact, the Maryland-based super lightweight was waiting on his higher-profile opponent to finally sign the contracts before making the bout official.
The fight marks the third time this year that Taylor performs in front of the television cameras. A win over Chris Algieri would have put him in line for a shot at Ruslan Provodnikov. Instead, it was Algieri who prevailed in their Valentine's Day (night) bout on ESPN2, moving on to face and beat Provodnikov in June and now having landed a coveted welterweight title fight versus Manny Pacquiao later this year.
Meanwhile, Taylor punched his way back into relevance with a decision win over Karim Mayfield. Taylor overcame a knockdown to take a convincing points win in their ESPN2-televised headliner in July.
Can Taylor once again upset the odds, this time overcoming a partisan crowd against one of the sport's most notable stars? Will Broner continue strong on the comeback trail, turning away his visiting challenger while remaining in pursuit of a title in a fourth weight class?
Read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes tonight's action goes down.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: ADRIEN BRONER vs. EMMANUEL TAYLOR
Ryan Burton (Broner MD): “Broner forced to sweat out decision at home."
Jake Donovan (Broner UD): “"Extending the house fighter the full 12 rounds can be considered a moral victory for Taylor, who - while solid - appears to be overmatched in every other category. Still unsure of Broner's power above 135, but - when (if?) disciplined - still boasts the skills to run with the best. Taylor figures out a way to hear the final bell, but dropping a wide decision in the process as Broner gives a statement performance while awaiting Matthysse (should he beat Ortiz).""
Ernest Gabion (Broner UD): “Taylor hears the final bell, but Broner prevails.”
Ryan Maquiñana (Broner TKO5): "I think Adrien Broner bounces back from his previous subpar outings in an impactful manner. Emmanuel Taylor is coming off a close win over Karim Mayfield, but I think this time, "The Problem" will put his speed advantage on display en route to a stoppage win."
Cliff Rold (Broner Dec.): "This is no Danny Garcia-Rod Salka but it's not - on paper - a particularly worthy Showtime main event, either. If Taylor had a notable punch, his chances would be better. He is live in this fight anyways but the harder hitting, more dynamic Broner should have enough to earn the decision."
Reynaldo Sanchez (Broner TKO in 10 or less): “Broner chose a dangerous fighter like Taylor.. But I think Broner won this fight, Broner has more experience, better opponents and perhaps more power in both hands."
Alexey Sukachev (Broner TKO8): “I'm still far from thinking Broner is finished. This fight is a great chance to prove his assets against durable but otherwise limited fighter. He will not blow it.”
Anson Wainwright (Broner TKO8): “It will be interesting to see how Broner looks against a solid guy. Taylor comes in on the back of a nice win over Karim Mayfield and is looking to parlay that into something even bigger. Broner struggled and was poor last time out. I expect him to deliver an impressive performance this time. I see Broner starting well having the better of things and slowly but surely pushing Taylor back hurting him around eight and stopping Taylor on his feet.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox