Adrien Broner, boxing's second-youngest titlist behind Saul Alvarez, risks his WBO super featherweight belt for the first time Saturday against fellow unbeaten Eloy Perez as the co-feature to Marcos Maidana-Devon Alexander. Will this fight upstage the main event? Their CompuBox pasts provide the following food for thought:
Adrien the Style Shifter: Despite being a titleholder, "The Problem" is still a work in progress. As such, he's still searching for his ring identity and during that process we've seen several personalities emerge.
His most recent persona -- a dynamic, explosive speed merchant -- surfaced in his last fight against Vicente Rodriguez and, at least in the final moments, versus Jason Litzau. Broner started fast against Rodriguez as he piled up 20-5 (total) and 11-3 (power) connect advantages in round one, then landed 50 percent of his 22 power shots to put away the Argentine in round three.
Other explosive moments occurred in his one-round devastation of Rafael Lora, when he unleashed 82 punches -- landing 43 percent of them -- and landing 56 percent of his power punches. In destroying Litzau in 178 seconds Broner landed 44 percent of his total punches, 38 percent of his jabs and 46 percent of his power punches while amassing advantages of 14-3 (overall) and 11-2 (power).
But lurking is the more cautious version that arrives when opponents survive the opening waves. Here Broner patterns his game after Floyd Mayweather Jr. in that he keeps his punch rate down while trying to land a high percentage of power shots. Because he's still developing, he hasn't perfected it.
In winning a disputed majority decision over Fernando Quintero, Broner was out-landed 154-83 (overall), 29-22 (jabs) and 125-61 (power). He threw 48.1 punches per round (16.3 percent below the 57.4 junior lightweight average) and landed 21.6 percent overall while an industrious Quintero landed 25.4 percent of his 75.9 punches per round. Broner connected on 28.5 percent of his power punches to Quintero's 36.2 percent, which only added to Broner's angst.
In lasting 10 rounds Daniel Ponce de Leon out-landed Broner 127-126 (overall) and 119-101 (power) because Broner limited himself to 35.1 punches per round to Ponce de Leon's 59.2. His 41.6 percent power accuracy trumped Ponce de Leon's 30.4 percent, probably securing him the victory.
If Perez pushes Broner into deeper waters, will this more negative persona emerge? If so, then Perez will receive his best chance to win.
High Octane Offense, But Low Power: Perez has only seven knockouts in 23 wins -- a problem against "The Problem" -- but at times he has shown the capability of duplicating the high-volume offense that troubled Broner two-and-a-half years earlier against Quintero.
For instance, Perez averaged 70.5 punches per three minutes in disposing of Daniel Jimenez and his 72.2 punches per round against Roger Gonzalez led to connect edges of 137-74 (total), 60-48 (jabs) and 77-26 (power), especially because Gonzalez threw a Broner-like 44.2 per round.
In beating Alejandro Rodriguez over 10 rounds, Perez -- despite being out-thrown 730--631 (total) and 548-446 (jabs) -- managed to out-land his rival 209-122 (total), 119-79 (jabs) and 90-43 (power). He landed 48.6 percent of his power shots to Rodriguez's 23.6 percent, 33.1 percent of his overall punches to Rodriguez's 16.7 and 26.7 percent of his jabs to Rodriguez's 14.4.
Perez Has No Need for Speed: Perez proved vulnerable to Dominic Salcido's quirky long-distance boxing, which limited his output to 43.5 per round to Salcido's 64.9 and enabled the gatekeeper to out-land the prospect 140-112 (overall), 83-65 (jabs) and 57-47 (power). Volume is critical to Perez's success against Broner, who is faster and more elite than Salcido. If fast hands and angles gums up Perez's motor, then he'll fail against Broner.
Prediction: Perez is quick but Broner is quicker. Broner is capable of sudden knockouts while Perez struggles to stop hurt opponents. Perez is good but Broner is better. Broner by TKO.