In this two-fights-per-year era for those at the highest levels of the sport, it's highly unusual for a titleholder to fight just 69 days after his most recent title defense. Such will be the case for WBC lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco, but only because he's fresh off scoring the fastest knockout in 135-pound history. His 44-second destruction of John Molina Sept. 8 broke a record that had stood since November 14, 1930 when Tony Canzoneri dethroned Al Singer in just 66 seconds. Interestingly enough, Singer had won his belt four months earlier with his own 106-second blitz over Sammy Mandell.
Don't expect similar fireworks Saturday, for DeMarco's opposition is recent 130-pound titlist Adrien "The Problem" Broner, one of the most charismatic and talented figures on today's boxing landscape and a man capable of delivering quick knockouts as well. Broner is on a four-fight knockout streak over opponents with a combined 111-7-3 record and he hopes to add DeMarco's scalp -- and his second divisional belt -- to his mantle.
Which man will walk out with the belt? Their recent CompuBox stats tell the following tales:
Will The Real DeMarco Stand Up?: DeMarco's performance against Molina was stunning because while he boasts 21 knockouts in 28 wins, he's not known for quick outings. Against Molina he was 8 of 24 (33%) overall and 8 of 20 (40%) in power shots while Molina could only fire three punches and land one.
The one terrific effort was preceded by a four-fight stretch in which he was out-landed three times -- and in two of those bouts he was badly out-performed. Jorge Linares built commanding leads on the scorecards after 10 rounds (98-92 twice, 99-91) because he out-landed DeMarco 216-97 (total), 67-14 (jabs) and 149-83 (power). But once DeMarco opened severe cuts over Linares' eyes and produced an extraordinary rally, everything that had taken place previously was wiped out in a tidal wave of drama.
Eight months before that Reyes Sanchez lost a fairly comfortable decision to DeMarco (117-111, 116-112, 115-113) but still out-landed the titleholder 154-150 (overall) and 120-108 (power) because he out-threw him 1,003-545 overall and 541-337 (power). Finally, Edwin Valero destroyed DeMarco with savage aggression and supreme activity (93.2 punches per round) that allowed him to out-land the Mexican 270-80 (total), 87-47 (jabs) and 183-33 (power) en route to a corner retirement between rounds nine and 10.
Worse yet for DeMarco, he's not an active fighter. He averaged 40 punches per round against Linares, 45.4 versus Sanchez and 37.2 against Valero. If he is to retain his title he must keep Broner somewhat occupied on defense and the best way to do that is to up the work rate.
Has DeMarco turned the corner or did the Molina fight camouflage the flaws that still lie underneath?
Working the Short Shifts: At times Broner tried his best to emulate the high-accuracy/low-output style of his hero Floyd Mayweather Jr. while also imitating his polarizing personality. While his antics before and after his most recent outing against Vicente Escobedo rubbed many the wrong way, the work he produced during the bout was often wow-worthy.
Averaging a high (for him) 51.4 punches per round, Broner landed 44% of his total punches and jabs as well as 45% of his power punches en route to connect gaps of 114-58 (total), 54-25 (jabs) and 60-33 (power) en route to a fifth round stoppage, running his string to four straight knockouts averaging 3.25 rounds per fight.
He enjoyed similar success against Eloy Perez and Vicente Rodriguez, for he averaged 49.7 and 59.9 punches per round, landed 47% and 41% of his power punches and limited his opponents' marksmanship. In his last three fights, Broner allowed a combined 20.8% of his rivals' total punches to get through as well as 17.2% of their jabs and 25.1% of their power punches. He's not quite Floyd on defense but he's more than good enough to get the job done.
Prediction: DeMarco is the first southpaw Broner has faced since September 2010 when he stopped the 11-1-1 Guillermo Sanchez in two rounds on September 4, 2010. DeMarco is a much better fighter than Sanchez but the leap in class won't trouble Broner. DeMarco's defense is pretty sound but his tendency to be out-landed will be a problem against "The Problem." Broner by mid- to late-round TKO.