RingTV.com caught up to Vicente Escobedo on Monday after his HBO-televised fifth-round knockout loss to former WBO 130-pound titleholder Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner on Saturday night at U.S. Bank Arena in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati.
The stoppage win was the fifth straight for Broner (24-0, 20 knockouts) and ended a four-fight winning streak by Escobedo (26-4, 15 KOs), a 30-year-old who was knocked out for the first time in his career.
Escobedo did not attend the post-fight press conference, owing to the fact that he visited the hospital for a broken nose and a bruised right biceps, the fighter told RingTV.com.
Escobedo discussed his overall performance in the ring against Broner, as well as the fact that the fight was contested over the junior lightweight limit because Broner missed weight. Broner’s actions cost him his WBO belt at the scales.
Escobedo also addressed the reasons he still took the fight although he faced what his camp felt was an extreme weight advantage.
Escobedo said that his manager, Rolando Arellano, was able to negotiate compensation, an amount that totaled at least double Escobedo’s original base purse of $150,000, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Arellano said that he also gained assurances from WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel that, due to the conditions, Escobedo would be in a favorable position to fight for the vacant belt, since Broner has indicated that he is moving up to the 135-pound class to target WBC lightweight beltholder Antonio DeMarco, of Tijuana, Mexico.
“I think that if we lose the No. 1 ranking, then we’ll be there at No. 2 or No. 3,” said Arellano. “The WBO title is going to be vacant, and we want to fight for that vacant title.”
Escobedo will continue to campaign at 130, having fought all but one of his fights at that weight since losing a 10-round decision to Robert Guerrero as a lightweight in November of 2010.
“Vicente has been consistent, and people know him on HBO because of the Broner fight and the Guerrero fight, and they know the controversy. This gives us leverage to go back onto a network whether it’s the main event or the co-main event for that title,” said Arellano.
“Vicente has a great amount of exposure, and he displayed courage in this fight against Broner, with the understanding that he went in there against Adrien Broner, and Adrien Broner had the advantage in weight. I believe that Vicente will be champion at 130 pounds.”
Vicente Escobedo on his general feelings about the fight:
“Everything happened the way that it did, and I don’t regret anything. I went in there and I tried. I tried my best and he was just the better fighter.
“Adrien Broner is definitely a great fighter. Adrien Broner was the better man that night. He felt much stronger and he felt much faster. I definitely felt his power.
“But overall, this makes me stronger. I got to see every aspect of the boxing business with what happened over those crazy two days.
“Just the negotiating aspect and everything, that was chaotic up to the fight. The preparation. I felt that I was at my best. This makes me stronger.
“It’s something that happened. but I’m glad that we were able to come to an agreement. This just all makes me better. It didn’t break me.”
On Broner’s failure to make weight:
“People say that it’s not about the money, or that it is about the money. It is about the money, but it’s also about the principle. I did my job and I came in on weight, and it wasn’t fair that he didn’t do his job.
“This was not an agreement, this was a contract that was violated. The weight was 130, so, right there, I was at a disadvantage completely.
“Honestly, when I checked my weight, before the fight, I was 141. I think I walked into the ring at around 141 or 141.5 maybe.”
On the negotiated deal:
“You know, it was a tough situation. At first, I was going to not take the fight, but we started the negotiating and we came up with a deal, and it was just a deal that I couldn’t refuse.
“That’s when I started thinking about my future, for one thing, and, more importantly, about my family, my wife and my daughter. I thought about the fact that this was a good opportunity.
“I got a great deal. I got a really good deal. My manager got me a deal that I really couldn’t refuse. So, you know, I agreed to everything.”
On whether or not Broner is the best fighter he has faced:
“Hands down, I think, definitely, he is the best. I can say that I have to give him that. Adrien Broner, the guy talks a lot, but he backs it up. Honestly, I felt all of his punches when he was hitting me. I think that he definitely has power.
“It was tough for me to hit him. I couldn’t land too many clean shots against him. He has a way of maneuvering and the way that he defends himself, it was very difficult for me to hit him.
“Every other fighter in the past that I’ve faced has not been that difficult to hit with a clean punch, but Adrien Broner was definitely difficult to hit.
“He’s definitely the best that I’ve faced, defensively, because he made it very, very difficult for me to throw and land the punches that I wanted to.
“At the end of the day, Adrien Broner is just very skillful, and you can’t take that away from him. He’s really, really talented and very, very strong.”
On his strategy against Broner:
“I felt like when I landed the body punches, they were doing some damage. I could see that. The plan was to make him go a little longer. To get beyond the first four or five rounds to see if I could maybe make him work early.
“Realizing that he had to lose some weight, we wanted to maybe get him tired and see if he would be drained having to lose that weight.
“I felt like I had some success to the body, but he’s such a good counterpuncher, I was worried about him coming back with the good uppercuts and the counters. He landed some good shots and some hooks.
“I did have an effect, but I couldn’t land the right hand. I have a strong right hand, but I just couldn’t land it the way that I wanted to. Like I said, he had some good maneuvers and good defense.
“Plus, he has a good jab, and so do I, but his was so quick. It surprised me, because every time, he would be able to hit me with it.
“In the first round, I thought that things were going pretty well. We were going off our jab and being smart. But Adrien Broner, he turned it up.
“He started to apply pressure and he started landing some shots. He did catch me and hurt me. He was just basically the stronger man in there.”
On his mindset following the weigh-in controversy:
“I got in there and I felt good. As far as my mindset, you know, the fight was on, the fight was off. I’m a fighter. I can flip the switch. Any fighter should be able to do that.
“If you’re ready to fight, I’m ready to fight. It’s something that’s in my blood as a boxer. I was ready to fight that night. I came in at my best and I gave it my best.
“I was ready. He just landed some good power shots. I think that his weight helped him. He felt heavier. I felt like I couldn’t push him back when I hit him.”
On the stoppage of the fight:
“I had no problems with it. I think that my corner did a good job. Adrien was landing some shots, and there was going to be more damage, little by little. He was hurting me little by little.”
On his nose and arm injuries:
“Yeah, I went to the hospital after the fight and they said that my nose was broken. I felt it like in the third round. I could feel my nose getting numb, and I’ve never felt that kind of pain.
“Adrien had a good, strong jab, and every time that he hit me, once he broke my nose, he was aiming for that nose. It was in pain. As you could see, it was bleeding a lot.
“That made things difficult. Talking to my manager, it looks like I’ll be out 45 days or more with the healing and everything.
“I probably won’t get back in the ring until maybe later on this year, maybe in December. My nose is definitely broken, and I’ve got to go and get some surgery done.”
On how the arm was injured:
“You know, he has that Floyd Mayweather style, and I think that in the first or second round, put that elbow up and he nailed me in the nose with it.
“I told the referee about the elbow, and he said, ‘I caught that, I caught that.’ But maybe in the third round, I think that I threw a right hand and it happened that his elbow hit my bicep or a nerve or something.
“Basically, my right arm was dead. I can’t even really straighten it out right now. The doctors said that there was nothing broken, but that maybe it was just bruised.
“But it was big and swollen. When they stopped the fight, I had to ice my arm because I couldn’t even move it. But during the fight, I guess with all of the adrenalin, I couldn’t feel the pain.”
On continuing to fight at 130:
“I know that I’m up there. I’ve heard that I’m going to stay at [the WBO's] No. 1 spot, or maybe No. 2 or No. 3. I think that I’ll get another shot at the WBO title.
“I know that my manager is working on that and trying to position me and see what’s next for me to see if I can get a shot at that WBO title.
“I think that I’m entitled to that, given that I was the No. 1 contender and maybe didn’t get a fair shot. I’m hoping that it happens.
“But at 130, I feel like I’m the man and I feel like I’m going to be at my best at 130. In that weight class, I feel like whoever they throw at me, I’ll be ready for them. So I’m looking forward to fighting for that WBO title.”
On fan reaction:
“I’m definitely getting a lot of support from my fans. They’re saying that I’m a warrior. I’m not afraid of anyone. Put me in there with anyone in my weight class.
“I’m a fighter, and I’m going to go in there and try my best. I tried my best, but at the end of the day, he was the better man.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com