Johnny Wilds ESPN Boxing Insider special to NYFights
ADRIEN BRONER (33-3, 24 KOs) vs. JESSIE VARGAS (28-2, 10 KOs) Welterweight (144 Max) Matchup
Date: Saturday April, 28th
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
TV: Showtime Championship Boxing 9PM EST/ P6M PST
* Odds courtesy of Westgate, Las Vegas
Here's a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, fighters, trainers and my prediction for the fight.
At The Westgate, Las Vegas, Jeff Sherman, Race and Sportsbook Manager, posted the fight with Vargas -125 and Broner +105 and the total on the fight at 9.5 rounds over -400 and under +300. “We have seen limited action on the fight thus far as it’s not a bigger one,” said Sherman. He is expecting action to increase on fight day like many of these types of fights.
At William Hill US, Senior Trader Adam Pullen opened the fight with Vargas -115 and Broner -105 and the total on the fight of 9.5 rounds over -340 and under +280. “We moved to -135/+115 as we have written tickets 5-1 ratio in favor of Vargas,” said Pullen. Like Sherman, Pullen expects more action come fight day.
**Note** This fight opened overseas with Broner -140 and Vargas +120
- Colin Morrison (boxing sharp): “Much of this depends on how motivated Broner is coming into the fight. Talent wise he is slightly better than Vargas but if he's not put the work in during training camp then he will be found out again. Despite my reservations, I am going to believe that this camp with Kevin Cunningham has gone as planned and Broner will be in the best shape he has been in for a while. Broner via close unanimous decision is the call here.”
- Evan Young (boxing sharp): “You’d have to say Vargas vs Broner is a 50/50 fight on paper and the odds reflect that. Vargas is not a guy that scores a lot of KO’s but he is a rugged, workman like fighter with a solid skillset. Broner hits with authority and is quick handed but he is incapable of putting together a high punch output. Vargas has fought better guys than Broner (see Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley) and won’t be overly respectful of Broner. Broner nipped a close win against tough grinder Adrian Granados in his comeback fight. Vargas is a stronger, better version of Granados. I’m looking for a hard fought decision win for Vargas with scores in the 116-112 range.”
- Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): “This is an interesting matchup. A few months ago, I probably would have said Vargas without a doubt. After seeing some camp videos and Broner being down in Florida with Kevin Cunningham, I am now thinking this will be a lot closer than what fans may think and there will be quite a few “swing rounds” within the fight. At the end, I think Broner will have his hand raised in victory. Broner in 12 by SD.”
- Stephen “Breadman” Edwards (boxing trainer): “I can see this being a Draw. Take the over.”
- Marcos Figueroa (boxing sharp): “Broner vs Vargas: Broner is the poster boy of why multiple time champ means very little nowadays. A lot more sizzle than steak. If he can bully Vargas, he can win a UD. I expect Broner to try and do that. I also expect Vargas to punch the bully in the face enough to keep him at bay. Vargas UD.”
- Julian ‘JRock’ Williams (Top ranked super welterweight: “I think it's gonna be an exciting fight 50/50 for sure but if the Broner of the past few fights shows up it's gonna be a great night for Vargas.”
- John “Iceman” Scully (boxing trainer): “I really like this fight and if Adrien is in any kind of shape, then he's going to be a stylistic problem but ultimately I feel Jessie will overcome all that with discipline and determination. I like Vargas via clear 12-round decision.”
- Jamel Herring (ranked light welterweight): “The Broner Vargas matchup is a tough one for me. For starters we all know Broner didn’t execute in his last matchup against Mikey Garcia, which lead him to changing his corner. I’m really interested to see if Kevin Cunningham added anything to his game, but more importantly if he’s been sharp mentally. In terms of Vargas he’s a tough guy, and I believe he’s hungry for another title shot, so I know he’ll bring his A game. His last performance wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the greatest either. I felt he allowed a man in front of him to linger longer than expected. If he doesn’t earn Broner’s respect early in the fight, Broner will walk him down and make it a rough night for him.”
- Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): “I’ve seen both guys marked slight favorite depending where you look so fair to say this is a 50/50 fight. I’m with Vargas, not a huge puncher but big enough and strong enough at this weight to win.”
- Joshua Stabile (boxing sharp): ”Broner’s resume is significantly better than Vargas’. Broner has more power. Both fighters are in their prime. At virtually even money, I am on Broner all day.”
Side By Side:
|Adrien Broner||Jessie Vargas|
|Age: 28||Age: 28|
|Birthplace:Cincinnati, OH.||Birthplace:Los Angeles, CA.|
|Record: 25-2-2 14 KOs||Record: 21-0 15 KOs|
|Height: 5’6”||Height: 5’10”|
|Reach: 69”||Reach: 71”|
|Stance: Orthodox||Stance: Orthodox|
|Trainer: Kevin Cunningham||Trainer: Mike McCallum|
Broner: The 28-year old is a 4 division champion. He brings into the ring a 65% KO average, is not known as a devastating puncher but more of a slick boxer. Broner was being mentioned clear back in 2011 as an heir apparent to Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. Things were cruising along until December of 2013, when he was beaten handily by Marcos Maidana. He went back to the drawing board and rattled off three wins over medium competition. Then, trying to show the Maidana outing was a hiccup, he took on Shawn Porter in June of 2015 and lost a UD. He was questioned by many boxing pundits as to his focus and desire to box after several out of the ring incidents. He returned to the ring struggled against a very tough Adrian Granados and was back in the spotlight in July of 2017 against Mikey Garcia. He was thoroughly dominated and is returning to the ring with a new trainer in Kevin Cunningham in what might be his last high profile fight if he loses Saturday to Vargas. Broner has the tools and skills to be a very dominant fighter but his focus, desire and work ethic have been his nemesis much of his career since he was compared to Mayweather.
Vargas: The 28 year old fighting out of Las Vegas, NV., is a two division champion. He scored the biggest win of his career with a 9th round KO over Sadam Ali in which he dominated every round of the fight in March of 2016. He was coming off a one sided loss to Timothy Bradley in June of 2015 but with his return, captured the vacant WBO welterweight title over Ali. His title was short lived as he lost a UD versus all time great Manny Pacquiao eight months later. The fight was scored correctly by two judges who scored it 118-109 for Pacquiao, while Dave Moretti lobbed in an Adalaide Byrd disgusting 114-113 card for Pacquiao as well. He fought last December, beating Aaron Herrera by UD. He is a taller welterweight at 5’11 and will enter the ring with a 33% KO average. Vargas possesses an underrated right hand that can do damage if he lands it. He seems very poised and confident for this battle Saturday night.
Who will win?
The panel is split again with 4 picks for Vargas, 4 for Broner, 1 draw and one too close to call from J Rock Williams. On paper, Broner is the faster, stronger and better fighter. Vargas is a very good fighter and fights hard every minute of every round. For me, I cannot suggest Broner because who knows what version you are going to get. I cannot suggest Vargas as a favorite because I don’t see any value. I lean toward Broner, but no matter who you back – good luck! And, like the panel being split, the odds reflect a close fight in the making.
Pick: Panel is split so best of luck on whomever you back!