Adrien Broner vs. John Molina Jr.: Preview, Analysis & Prediction

(R-L) Adrien Broner throws a right at Carlos Molin (Getty)

(R-L) Adrien Broner throws a right at Carlos Molin (Getty)

Adrien Broner takes on John Molina Jr. this Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. NBC carries the bout live at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT.

Adrien “The Problem” Broner will enter the ring as a wide favorite to win. But John Molina Jr. is a live dog with an iron chin and fight-changing punching power.

Combine Broner’s flashy speed with Molina’s plodding, rock’em sock’em style — fireworks are guaranteed to ensue.

Here is what you need to know going into the rumpus:


Adrien Broner Is Still Coming Back From His Loss to Marcos Maidana

(L-R) Marcos Maidana and Adrien Broner (Getty)

(L-R) Marcos Maidana and Adrien Broner (Getty)

The Adrien Broner brand took a major hit in 2013 when “The Problem” suffered his first career defeat at the hands of Argentine mauler Marcos Maidana.

Making his second appearance in the 147-pound welterweight division (up from 135 pounds), Broner (29-1, 22 KOs) entered the fight against Maidana displaying his usual cockiness and bravado. But the Adrien Broner Show quickly turned serious in the second round when Maidana connected with a crushing left hook, dropping Broner and leaving him starry-eyed and wobbly-legged.

Broner, who holds wins over top-level fighters Paulie Malignaggi, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and Antonio Demarco, survived the round and the distance. But he had already snuck out of the ring before Maidana’s unanimous decision was announced. Viral memes created from his sad exit did not help his image.

adrien_broner_2

Since the humiliating loss, 25-year-old Broner has been campaigning at 140 pounds and on the rebuilding trail with back-to-back victories over Emmanuel Taylor and Carlos Molina.

Yet the only way to erase that ugly picture of defeat may be to acquit himself in a rematch against Maidana.

“I can’t wait to fight Maidana again but the guy I have to fight is John Molina,” said Broner. “So I’m going to hand him my business and worry about making the Maidana rematch later.”


John Molina Jr. Was in the 2014 ‘Fight of the Year’

Matthysse punches John Molina (Getty)

Matthysse punches John Molina (Getty)

Hosting modern classics such as Bradley vs. Provodnikov and Figueroa  vs. Arakawa, the StubHub center in Carson, California has rightfully earned its reputation as the venue where the bloodthirsty congregate to feast on epic battles between today’s most vicious warriors.

Fans lucky enough to be there to witness John Molina Jr. fight Argentine Lucas Matthysse on the Thurman-Diaz undercard in April 2014 were not to be disappointed.

Molina and Matthysse gave the mobs 11 rounds of pure blood, sweat, and tears (and probably a few years of their lives), during which the Argentine was dropped twice and Molina ate canvas three times, before referee Pat Russell waved off the contest in Matthysse’s favor.

“I’m just disappointed I didn’t finish Lucas,” Molina, who came to the fight having recently upset undefeated lightweight champ Mickey Bey, said. “I think I’m the only one who ever had him hurt like that. Matthysse is the real deal. He can punch. Yes, he’s coming off a loss to Danny Garcia, but he is still a No. 1 rated fighter in the world.”

32-year-old John Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 KOs) was last in action in September 2014, losing a dirty brawl to Humberto Soto by unanimous decision.


Styles Make Fights: The Flashy Speed Demon vs. The Rock’em Sock’em Puncher

(R-L) John Molina Jr. connects with a right to the face of Humberto Soto. (Getty)

(R-L) John Molina Jr. connects with a right to the face of Humberto Soto. (Getty)

Adrien Broner

Broner is a highly skilled, versatile fighter with deep amateur pedigree (300-19-1 before going pro). His athletic style and flashy combinations make him one of today’s most entertaining boxers to watch.

Broner possesses excellent mobility and footwork and has highly developed boxing skills, but favors fighting stationary and dispensing out of a wide stance. He has lightning-fast handspeed and reflexes, and he is a first-rate counter puncher. He wields a quick, laser jab and throws a beautiful left hook which he can deliver from unconventional and unexpected angles.

Broner’s amateur background is evident in his ring intelligence. He commands the ring well; he controls the action, pacing, and distance; and he knows what it takes to win rounds. Broner has good defensive skills and a dependable chin.

Since moving up in weight, Broner appears to have lost some of the power that made him such a threat in the junior lightweight and lightweight divisions. All of his 22 kayos have come before he stepped up to 140 and 147 and, coming of his last two tactical-style matches, Broner will be looking to put on a show for Saturday’s national TV audience.

John Molina Jr.

Hailing out of Covina, California, John Molina Jr is a game blue-collar-style power puncher. He throws selectively, with single punches, looking to land with fight-changing or fight-ending ammunition.

Molina punches well to the body, and he throws left and right hooks that come out of wide, hard to see angles. He has good power in both hands, but his straight right hand is the bread maker.

Molina works best when plodding forward on his opponent. He possesses an iron chin, excellent stamina, and decent command of the ring. He has good upper-body strength, able to bully an opponent around the ring, and a comprehensive inside game.


Keys to Winning

Adrien Broner punches Carlos Molina (Getty)

Adrien Broner punches Carlos Molina (Getty)

Adrien Broner should look to get off first against Molina and not give him a chance to throw. Look for Broner to use his jab to disrupt the slugger’s rhythm.

Broner should turn the pressure on early, getting inside behind his jab and putting Molina on the back foot.

Molina can get locked up when up against the ropes: Broner should look to bully him into position and unload with swarming combinations.

Broner traditionally needs two or three rounds to get a fix on his opponent before he gets to work. Molina should capitalize on this by coming out hard and strong, and looking to put the hurt on early.

Molina must establish his jab early and keep it busy to hold Broner outside. Molina has to stay away from the ropes and should avoid the urge to stand toe-to-toe against the Cincinnati native. He should rely on smart boxing and look to create opportunities.

“Timing beats speed,” the old axiom goes, and this should be Molina’s mantra as he steps through the ropes on Saturday night. The properly placed shot could be the difference between a third loss in a row for him, or an upset victory in front of a primetime audience.


Prediction

  John Molina Jr. (Getty)

John Molina Jr. (Getty)

Despite Molina’s record against solid opposition, Adrien Broner will, by far, present Molina’s toughest challenge to date.

I see John Molina’s one-dimensional style as tailor-made to make ‘The Problem’ look good, and I believe Adrien Broner will out-class a game John Molina Jr. on his way to a late-round TKO victory.


Also co-featured on Saturday: Keith Thurman faces former two-division titleholder Robert Guerrero, and former three-division world champion Abner Mares will fight Arturo Santos Reyes.

NBC 8:30 p.m.  ET / 5:30 p.m. PT

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