On Saturday August 07, 2016, Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) defeated Alexander Brand (25-2, 19 KOs) by unanimous decision at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Brand, the moving punching bag allowed Ward to illustrate his skills. Whether it be from the orthodox stance or southpaw, Ward showcased it all, a great jab, powerful left, great right, etcetera, etcetera. The only risk Ward face was an unintentional head butt in round 11, which led to a contusion on Ward’s forehead. The fight would mercifully come to a close after 12 rounds, the scores were 120-108, 3x.
Ward’s win setup a November showdown against light heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1, 26KOs).
Francisco Vargas (23-0-2, 17KOs) fought Orlando Salido (43-13-4, 30KOs) to a majority draw. “Mexican Style” was on full display. The early rounds saw a “switcheroo” of sorts, when each fighter took turns exchanging power and body shots. The 9th round, Vargas would unload a menacing melee of punches, pushing Salido against the ropes. He landed 50% of his power shots, in the 10th. Salido would punish Vargas in the late rounds. The two combatants set a CompuBox record by throwing 1593 power punches. The fight ended in a fitting fashion with a majority draw and Vargas retaining his WBC Super Featherweight belt. The scores were 115-113 Vargas, and 114-114 2x.
In the most astonishing conclusion to a chest-to-chest match up, Abraham Lopez (21-0-1, 15KOs) pulls out a unanimous decision win over Julian Ramirez (16-1, 8KOs). With several rounds of back and forth action, both fighters going tit-for-tat attacking the body. The 6th round saw an accidental head-butt, which resulted in Ramirez sporting a gushing gash near his right eye. While Ramirez looked to have pulled out the win, based on punches landed, in the eyes of the judges, Lopez put on the better performance. The scores were 97-93 x2, 98-92
Mike Stafford, the man behind Broners success and trainer since childhood, speaks with boxhernews.com, giving viewers a glimpse into the soul of the man…WBA (Super) Super Lightweight Champion Adrien Broner (31-2, 23 KOs).
Saturday March 12th– Oohs and Ahh’s notify onlookers of the champs’ arrival. Adrien “The Problem” Broner strides through the double doors at the Sugar Ray boxing gym to take in a night of amateur bouts, at the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. With a few accompanying friends in tow, he tries making his way to his seat. However, when you’re one of the most successful and outspoken millennial, in the sport, the trek to finding a seat, can seem like a monumental task. As he makes his way through the crowd, Park Police Officer, McCracker, approaches the Phenom and asks for a picture. The often publically brash, Broner, appears honored by the request and obliges the serviceman. As more and more attendants become aware of his presence, Broner stops to shake hands, take more pics and engage every person wanting to be noticed.
The night of fights seem to preoccupy Broner’s mellow mood. In just 2-weeks, he will go head to head with fellow boxer, Ashley Theophane,(36-6-1, 11 KOs) who’s a member of the esteemed Money Team. Now, for most, going against any part of the Mayweather machine, would cause one to tremble in intimidation, however 26-year old Broner seems the least bit phased, as he interrupts an intense day of training, to support amateur boxers.
After my many attempts at getting the athlete to speak to me, when I am denied again, do I find myself simply staring at him, waiting for some volcanic like eruption to ooze from his mouth? “The Problem” simply states, “I don’t do interviews”, and he says it with a smile. Ohh Kay, what was that?! The publically feral, and habitually flippant super lightweight champ, I was expecting, gave me a stern, but gracious response. While I know probing him will not be in my best interest, I notice something. What I’ve come to believe about his persona non grata, may be an allusion, a well formulated character, who lives in stark contrast to the man himself. Now my mind and eyes are warring trying to make sense of the person I believed Broner to be, and the kind, generous superstar seated just a couple of feet away.
Once the dust is settled and the fights begin, it’s easy to see the man affectionately known as “Coach Mike” standing off to the side, studying each person entering the ring. Most of the attendees don’t take a second look at the kind gentleman standing towards the back. While unassuming, the always smiling Mike, lurks in the backdrop, quietly. As the many fighters test out nerves and prepare for their moment of stardom, none of the potential prospects pay attention to the one person, who could develop their talents, just like he did with his most famed protégé.
While his appearance isn’t lost on everyone in the packed gym, his show of support for the hungry talent, speaks louder than any knuckle crunching and faces splitting action taking place inside the square-ring. The Ohio born Stafford, on the surface is the complete contradiction to the aura emanating from his famed apprentice. Mike keeps Broner feet planted on the ground. When Mike is in the room, everyone including Adrien Broner listens.
Famed Trainer Mike Stafford took a moment out of his time to talk about Adrien Broner, and offer a couple clues into solving “The Problem”:
As a man; Adrien Broner (he) cares about kids. He got 7 kids now, he is a good father. He has over 20 members at my gym. He helps the kids at my gym. He provides transportation, meal money and uniforms, whenever I come to him he cuts a check; that’s the type of guy he is. Adrien employs a lot of people. He has over fifteen people he employes.
When you see negative articles about him?
You know you got to remember he’s a kid, an inner city kid too. He did a lot of growing up. He is not pushing or smoking dope, he always tested negative for drugs. Most of these guys test positive for a lot of stuff.
Next fight against Ashley Theophane?
Training going great, Adrien is a World Champion, and he acting like a World Champion. It just so happen its Floyd’s fighter. Adrien did not call Ashley out, Ashley called Adrien out, and Al Haymon made the fight happen. Its going to do wonders for Ashley to get in the ring with Adrien. A lot of fighters do not want to fight Adrien. I’ve seen him knock guys out with a jab. Adrien is an all time talented kid. He’s not going let any one steamroll him and take his belt. His smartness is there; all is left is to raise his hand on April 01.
Adrien Broner takes on Ashley Theophane Friday, April 01, 2015 at the DC Armory.