by Cliff Rold
Showtime had another good weekend.
They’ve had more than a few recently.
On a day when Carl Frampton proved too much for Nonito Donaire, Zolani Tete walked away with a win over Omar Narvaez, and Gervonta Davis and Jermall Charlo took care of business early and in style, it all ended in a draw.
It was a hell of a road to that draw. Jessie Vargas, behind a stifling jab, got off to a great start. Adrien Broner, digging in his heels, fought back. For all his bravado, his often classless behavior, between the ropes Adrien Broner’s guts have rarely been in question.
One could argue with the outcome. In a fight with a lot of swing rounds, many saw a narrow victory for Vargas. Some others thought Broner might have snaked it with a second half surge. Still others saw the draw as fair.
Would anyone be opposed to a sequel?
Let’s get into it.
The Future for Vargas: Vargas may look back on this fight and wonder if he did almost too much in the early going. His activity level was high for the first six rounds and there was a clear lag in his technique during the middle of the fight. It made sense; he needed to find a second wind. When he found some of that in the last two rounds, his jab returned. When Vargas was working the lead, Broner struggled to get much consistent offense going. If there is a rematch, Vargas will have to find a way to balance both his control at range and the output it required. Can he do it? What if there is no rematch? Vargas will find no shortage of tough welterweights under the Al Haymon umbrella these days. Vargas has shown he’s not quite at the very top of the class but he fits in with anyone just below the elite level.
The Future for Broner: Early in the fight it looked like another night where Broner wouldn’t let his hands go and let a fight get away. He let too much of it get away to earn a win on Saturday. That said, he had the better of a lot of the second half of the fight and showed some real poise in spots. Rather than get discouraged, he chipped away and moved in to brawl when Vargas started to show some wear. His corner implored him to throw more and he may always struggle to find consistent offense. He found enough so there was no feeling, like there has been previously, that he didn’t really give of himself. This wasn’t the Porter fight where Broner looked lethargic and then almost won anyways. It took two to tango on Saturday and Vargas-Broner was a fine dance. Barring a rematch, Broner could make a move back to 140 and it might be the best idea. If there is one thing that is clear after ample evidence, his power just isn’t there against welterweights the way it is the divisions below.
Rold Picks 2018: 11-5 (Including picks for Frampton-Donaire, Tete-Narvaez, Davis-Cuellar, and Charlo-Centeno)
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]