Their clash has all of the ingredients of a classic.
They are two of the most talented fighters in the junior lightweight division, they’re nearing their prime, they’re unbeaten, and they do not like each other.
That’s what fans can hope to look forward to on Saturday night on HBO, when boxer-puncher Adrien Broner (22-0, 18 knockouts), of Cincinnati, defends his WBO belt against counter-punching Eloy Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs), of Salinas, Calif., on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Ranked No. 5 in the weight class by THE RING, the skillful Broner is a brash, cocky, trash-talking 22-year-old who scored a third-round knockout in his last fight in November against Martin Rodriguez, earning the WBO’s vacant belt and ending the former titleholder’s unbeaten streak at 13-0-1, with nine knockouts.
Broner also has to his credit a first-round stoppage of Jason Litzau in June, and a unanimous decision over Mexican former titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in March.
THE RING’s No. 9-rated junior lightweight, Perez, 25, is coming off his second straight knockout, scored in the sixth round over Ira Terry in October. Prior to that, Perez scored September’s impressive second-round stoppage of Daniel Jimenez, ending his run of three straight victories.
Perez, 25, has also scored a 10-round decision over Dannie Williams (21-1, 17 KOs), who has won nine consecutive fights, six of them by knockout, since falling to Perez in September of 2009.
Broner and Perez had been considered to face each other for the vacant WBO belt before Perez fought Terry, but the deal fell through.
So who wins on Saturday night?
RingTV.com sought the opinions of 12 boxing experts, the results of which are below.
Adrien Broner KO 10 Eloy Perez: The fight will be all-action, with Eloy Perez, Adrien Broner’s toughest test to date, giving him fits.
Perez can’t punch, though, and Broner can. Expect Broner’s power to catch up to Perez late, giving “The Problem” the KO victory.
Adrien Broner KO 9 Eloy Perez: Adrien Broner will break Eloy Perez down with his power, but a win for either man would not be a surprise. Great match-up.
Eloy Perez UD 12 Adrien Broner: I like Eloy Perez by close unanimous decision. I think he’ll out-jab and outmaneuver Adrien Broner early in the bout.
Broner will probably take some middle rounds with power counter punching. But Perez will get his shots in as well, and fight smarter — and busier — down the stretch of a good fight.
Eloy Perez UD 12 over Adrien Broner: Adrien Broner has all the hype and most of the power. But Eloy Perez has the experience and tactical knowhow to take Broner where he’s never been.
Broner’s record of quick stoppages – 10 in the first-round — is sensational. But it won’t prepare him for the 12-round test he figures to encounter for the first time against the counter-punching Perez.
For Broner, this one looms as a lesson he’ll be able to use in a possible rematch, which might be the only sure thing to come out of this intriguing fight for a piece of the 130-pound title.
If there is one, an older and wiser Broner figures to win. But that’s a pick for another day.
Adrien Broner TKO6 Eloy Perez: Eloy Perez is talented, but Adrien Broner is more talented, and his speed and power will allow him to eventualy catch Perez and get him out of there when he does.
Eloy Perez SD 12 Adrien Broner: Adrien Broner is a good fighter, but I believe Eloy will dig deep and win a split-decision.
Adrien Broner TKO 8 Eloy Perez: Adrien Broner has been babied along the way, but that does not hide the fact that he’s got a lot of ability. Eloy Perez is a very tough guy.
But I think he’s going to eat a lot of shots and that’s not a good thing when facing a guy like Broner, who has some pop when he sits down on his punches.
As Broner gains confidence as the fight wears on, I think he’ll engage more and wind up stopping Perez.
Adrien Broner W 12 Eloy Perez: I think Adrien Broner escapes with a disputed decision against the well-schooled Eloy Perez, who’s fundamental soundness will neutralize many of Broner’s physical attributes
Adrien Broner UD 12 Eloy Perez: I think that Adrien Broner has too much overall ring generalship. I think that Eloy Perez has wanted this fight for a while, and he’s really tough and that he’s really going to come to fight.
I think that Perez is going to give it his all, and I think Perez is going to have his moments and land some good shots and test Broner’s heart.
But I just think Broner will withstand it an, in the end, that he just has too much skill for Perez.
Eloy Perez SD 12 Adrien Broner: Adrien Broner has looked like an offensive juggernaut in early-round stoppages against Jason Litzau and Vicente Rodriguez, putting his punches together beautifully and in rapid succession.
Perez, meanwhile, is a smart, patient boxer who utilizes his smaller size to give his foes less of a target to hit. I don’t see Perez pressing the issue, but rather sitting back and waiting on Broner to make a mistake.
Therefore, if Perez can catch an overeager Broner coming in with his short counter left hook and left jab, he could take the fight past the sixth round–a place where “The Problem” has only been once before in an unconvincing decision over Daniel Ponce de Leon. Perez by split-decision over Broner.
Adrien Broner UD 12 Eloy Perez: If Eloy Perez were a big puncher, I’d favor him. He’s not. Adrien Broner has a ton of talent and almost as much attitude.
It’s enough to stay a step ahead for most of the night with some really good action in spots after building an early lead.
Adrien Broner W 12 Eloy Perez: I’m going with Adrien Broner. He’s the best at 130 pounds, he just has to pay his dues before we can all say so.
Eloy Perez is an interesting style for him and will make Broner work harder than he has had to in recent fights.
The experts favor Adrien Broner, 8-4, over Eloy Perez
Photos by Mark Buckner, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org