By Peter Wells:
Adrien Broner is back, but Emmanuel Taylor also announced himself in the world title picture with a respectable performance against such a talented fighter.
Broner 29-1(22) won a unanimous decision, scoring a superb knockdown in the final round. Taylor – recognisable to viewers of ESPN Fight Night Fights – gave Broner all he could handle all night, but it was Broner’s adjustments and final minute assaults that earned him the majority of the rounds.
Scorecards read 116-111 (twice) and 115-112 all for the hometown Cincinnati fighter.
Taylor 18-3(12) looked up for the occasion from the opening bell as he went on the front foot, pushing Broner back to the ropes. A couple of crisp uppercut counters came from the home favourite, while Maryland’s Taylor targeted the body.
The 2nd and 3rd rounds epitomised what was to come, Taylor taking charge in the first 2 minutes, before Broner would flurry in the final minute, making a statement to the judges as he opened up, looking irresistible with lightning fast combinations.
The 4th saw Broner take the contest to the centre ring where he was clearly more dominant. Taylor took some punishment and was unable to respond in kind.
The momentum however was yet to change as Taylor came on strong again to open the 5th, but lost that impetus in the final 40 seconds as Broner went to work.
Broner, on his toes in the 6th and 7th rounds, had to overcome some Taylor flurries against the ropes but was clearly adjusting well. Taylor’s attacks were becoming less frequent and far less effective.
Another close session in the 8th was taken with both hands by Broner in the final minute where he once again opened up his full arsenal.
A promising start to the round by Taylor in the 9th was more than matched by Broner for the rest of the round. The frustration must have been hard to contain for Taylor who just couldn’t find an answer to Broner’s late assaults.
On the move in the 10th, Broner was tagged hard on the ropes, Taylor sensing he needed to take control in the championship rounds. But it only awoke the beast in Broner as he responded with a hard volley of punches.
Taylor enjoyed a good 11th, using the jab to full effect, an uppercut opening a cut over the right eye of Broner. Taylor this time ending the session on top.
Taylor was all over Broner to open the final round, landing a flush right hand. The two took turns in pounding away in an excellent final minute of a brilliant boxing match. Then came a gorgeous, blistering combination from Broner, ending with a left hook that sent Taylor to the canvas. Taylor rose quickly to hear the final bell straight after, an ecstatic Broner jumping onto the ropes to soak up the applause of the crowd.
Considering how well Taylor performed, this will prove a good win for Broner, who showed a good variety and a smart boxing brain, using minimal energy to take close rounds with strong final minutes.
Taylor can take huge heart from his performance, and should remain a contender at 140lbs.
Broner target, Lucas Matthysse 36-3(34) won in 2 rounds of an unsatisfying contest with previously unbeaten Roberto Ortiz 31-1-1(24).
The end came when a body shot felled the Mexican who took too long to rise from the count, the referee waving it off. It is still unclear whether or not Benjy Esteves had reached the count of 10 when he waved the fight off.
Elsewhere Andre Berto 29-3(22) made a successful return after shoulder surgery, taking a unanimous decision over Steve Upsher Chambers 24-4-1(6).
It was an entertaining contest, back and forth in the opening rounds before the aggressive Berto took over, taking it 99-91 on all three scorecards. A good comeback fight for Berto, which offered a good challenge, but also allowed the more powerful Berto to regain some lost confidence.
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