Uninspired Broner Outpoints Santiago
By Robert Ecksel on February 21, 2021
“I’m looking forward to getting one of those titles this year.” (Amanda Wescott/Showtime)
Headlining a tripleheader televised live Saturday night on Showtime from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, former four-division world champion Adrien Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) returned to active duty after a two-year hiatus to outpoint unheralded Jovanie Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs) after 12 rounds.
The final scores of 116-111, 117-110 and 115-112 were controversial but not unexpected.
After a couple of feeling out rounds in which little to nothing happened, the Puerto Rican underdog began throwing and landing more, especially to the body, than the “popular and colorful” favorite. It looked like Broner was in tough, tougher than anyone expected. His occasional potshots were eye-opening but did little to alter the texture of the first half of the fight, during which Broner landed just 35 of 138 punches, while Santiago landed 93 of 305 punches thrown during the same stretch.
Broner began letting his hands go in round seven. It appeared he was behind on the scorecards and had some serious catching up to do. But his offensive output was no more impressive in the second half of the fight than in the first, landing 63 of 300 punches to Santiago’s 114 of 392, suggesting that Broner, numerically speaking, lost the fight and was gifted a decision, despite the accuracy of the few punches he landed.
“I knew he was going to be tough because he’s 14-0,” said Broner after the fight. “And anybody with that ‘0’ wants to keep that ‘0’ so they’re going to fight like a bum fighting for a sandwich. I came in and I got the job done. There is a lot of work out there at 140. Right now we’re going to the drawing board with Al Haymon to see what’s best for me. But I’m definitely going back to the gym and I’m looking forward to getting one of those titles this year at 140.”
Broner’s title aspirations won’t be achieved without continual help from his friends. He’s not a bum. He’s not on the skids. He can still impress when he’s willing to fight. But he’s an old 31 and Saturday’s unanimous decision in his favor, while more or less a foregone conclusion, doesn’t sit well with many, Jovanie Santiago excepted.
“The decision doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “Broner did a nice job in there. The decision could have gone both ways. He fought a great fight. We were in it to win this fight and he got the decision. I think boxing fans know who I am now, but in this fight I should have applied more pressure and the fight would have gone my way.”
Santiago applied plenty of pressure. He made Broner fight his fight. That it didn’t go his way wasn’t surprising, nor was Broner’s uninspired performance.
Habitual truth-teller Teddy Atlas watched the fight, after which he asked, “Do you get a little bit of a feeling that someone is looking out for Broner. Just a bit?”
Terence Crawford inadvertently tweeted a response: “I thought dude won but what I know.”