It didnít matter in the slightest that his opponent was supposed to be his most challenging to date. Eight rounds in, the towel was waved and the fight was called off. Antonio DeMarco had just been dismantled in spectacular fashion and Adrien Broner had just shown yet again why heís considered by many as the next big superstar of boxing.
Here, Iíd like to take a look at what led to Adrien Broner being so superior to Antonio DeMarco at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Saturday night.
Changing the range
Right from the off, it was immediately apparent that in order for the visibly taller Tony DeMarco to be at his most effective, he needed to keep the shorter Adrien Broner at distance and on the end of his longer punches so that his southpaw angles would be at their most operative.
This is what Iíd consider to be a good range for Tony DeMarco to be in -Broner is clearly outside of his contact range but is well inside of DeMarcoís. At this distance, Broner could find himself on the end of DeMarcoís straighter punches and unable to touch him with a counter.
Broner found a way of taking DeMarcoís length away from him and eventually forced an inside fight. First, Broner took DeMarcoís jab away from him.
When one fighter is a southpaw and the other is orthodox, both fightersí lead hands will be lined up with one each otherís. Right from the opening bell, Broner made a conscious decision to smother DeMarcoís lead hand with his own lead hand, nullifying DeMarcoís southpaw jab in the process.
Notice in these photographs how Broner is closing the distance and covering DeMarcoís lead hand with his own lead hand. DeMarcoís best way of establishing his length advantage is by keeping Broner on the end of the jab. Here, Broner has prevented DeMarco from even throwing it.
On the rare occasions when DeMarco did find the room to let his jab go, Broner had it timed and avoided the shot easily, either by blocking it or parrying it.
Here, Broner stuffs two attempted jabs by DeMarco. The first jab is slapped down by Bronerís lead glove, while the second jab is stopped short because of Bronerís forearm.
With DeMarcoís most significant offensive weapon taken away, Broner set about implementing some offense of his own, again using DeMarcoís lead hand as a bridge.
Because DeMarco was now familiar with having his lead glove touched and covered often, Broner began to use his lead hand as a feint to disguise his follow up shots. Here, Broner uses his lead hand cover as a decoy to dip low and land a jab to DeMarcoís body.
In this sequence, Broner uses his lead hand to first cover DeMarcoís lead hand before pulling his arm down and firing a straight right hand inside of DeMarcoís now open guard.
Here, Broner gains outside position with his lead hand. This time he pulls back and lands a jab over the top of DeMarcoís lead hand.
Broner continued to vary his offense in the early rounds, particularly with his jab to the body. Again, because Broner was using DeMarcoís lead hand as a precursor, DeMarco became confused and wasnít sure what to expect next from Broner. The jab to the body is a great way of causing an opponent to lower their guard slightly in order to compensate. As a result, shots aimed up top became easier to land for Broner.
Hereís Broner landing his jab to the body. At this stage in the fight, DeMarco had no idea what type of shot was coming next from Broner.
By the middle rounds, Broner had already neutralized DeMarcoís length by taking away his jab. Not only that, but Broner was now starting to take over the fight using his own jab along with unpredictable offense Ėjabs aimed high and low, straight right hands and left hooks. DeMarcoís jab and length, considered to be his best tools before the fight, were now actually working against him. This is where DeMarco decided to change tactics and try his luck on the inside against Broner. This, I believe, would have been part of Bronerís plan; to cast self-doubt upon DeMarco by taking away his jab and forcing him into believing that his best shot at winning would be to work inside. Itís been said here before, Broner is excellent at limiting his opponentís attacking options by manipulating them into thinking heís vulnerable in close. Once a fighter is on the inside with Broner, itís very hard for them to throw anything other than right or left hooks, such is the way that Broner positions his body in relation to his opponent. Broner reads everything at close quarters.
And so, because DeMarco felt that fighting from the outside wasnít working, he decided to go shoulder to shoulder with Broner. Mission accomplished for ďthe problemĒ. Infighting
Look at the difference in range between the two fighters at the start and the middle of the fight in the two photographs. Regardless of what was happening, standing shoulder to shoulder with Broner clearly wasnít the way forwards for DeMarco. Notice Bronerís body shape in the second photograph in relation to DeMarcoís ĖBroner is standing side on with chin behind his lead shoulder, offering little to aim at and is in perfect position to land a right uppercut. DeMarco, on the other hand, is squared up to Broner, his shoulders and feet are parallel and heís wide open for an uppercut through the centre. In this position, straight punches are pretty much impossible to throw for DeMarco, leaving only wide hooks in close. Bronerís body shape is designed to pick wide shots off at this range.
Once the distance was shortened, the fight became a lot more difficult for the taller fighter and a lot simpler for the shorter, slicker fighter, who is one of the best inside operators in all of boxing. There arenít many fighters as refined as Adrien Broner inside the pocket. Itís one thing for a fighter to bury his/her head into an opponentís chest and wail away blindly with rights and lefts, itís another thing altogether what Adrien Broner does on the inside.
Hereís Broner using the elbow to push into DeMarcoís chest and create space for himself so that he can land his right uppercut.
Here, Broner uses his lead shoulder to bump DeMarco and create space for his right uppercut to the body.
In this sequence, DeMarco attempts to land a straight left, only for Broner to parry and counter with the same hand. As DeMarco tries to come back with a right/left combo, Broner rolls and catches both shots on his right forearm and and left elbow. Again, once an opponent gets too close to Broner, many of their attacking options are gone.
Broner is also brilliant at controlling his opponent using his non punching hand as heís punching. Combination punching is considered one of the best forms of offense and is taught in every boxing gym around the world. While Broner is a very good rhythmic combination puncher, I believe heís an even better puncher when heís using broken rhythm. Watch Broner throw his punches. Youíll see him punch, hold, maneuver, and then punch again. Combination punching patterns can be taught and memorized. On the other hand, Bronerís intermitting punching style seems like it would be very difficult for an opponent to forecast and defend against.
Notice here how Broner uses his left glove to push into DeMarcoís face before landing a right uppercut to the body. Broner then holds on to the back of DeMarcoís neck before landing a short left hook just as heís releasing DeMarco. Grappling and holding is a big part of Bronerís infighting style.
Hereís another example of Broner controlling his opponent on the inside using his grappling ability and non-punching hand. Notice how Broner holds on to DeMarcoís head before landing a right uppercut, followed by a left cross. After landing the cross, Broner holds and fires another right uppercut before grabbing hold of DeMarcoís head again.
Another one of Bronerís inside tricks is to launch a surprise attack immediately after pushing off.
As Broner pushes DeMarco away, he lands a left uppercut followed by a straight right hand. Broner is excellent at attacking an opponent when they least expect it. DeMarco canít block Bronerís attack just as heís being pushed back.
All in all, Tony DeMarco was systematically taken apart by one of the most cerebral practitioners in the game. Bronerís level of craft, and in particular, his level of defense, is clearly world-class. But what I find fascinating is how Broner uses his evasive technique as a way of inflicting violence instead of using it to avoid it. There has been many a defensive technician ĖWillie Pep, Nicolino Locche, Pernell Whitaker- whoíve used their defensive craft to avoid a fight. Broner is the polar opposite, using his defensive ingenuity to get himself inside and take his opponents out. Thereís a mean streak in Broner that is usually missing in other defensive minded fighters.
The closing moments of the fight illustrated this vividly.
Notice how Broner lands a left hook to the body, then slips a left cross. Because Broner hasnít used his legs to avoid the attack, heís in a position to counter. Broner then lands a right uppercut followed by a short left hook. As DeMarco is hurt, Broner brings his attack down stairs, throwing a straight right and a right uppercut to the body. Broner punctuates the fight ending combination with a left uppercut to the head of DeMarcoís. Bronerís precision during this sequence was chilling. It wasnít so much about the speed and power of each punch as it was delivered, in as much as it was about the placement. Broner sees everything. Thereís never any wildness in any of his attacks as heís very relaxed and very methodical. Not to go overboard here, but Bronerís punch placement kind of reminds me of Archie Mooreís, another fighter who used his defensive wisdom to help secure knockout victories.
Boxing seems easy to Adrien Broner. At this moment in time, I think itís safe to assume that itís going to take someone a bit special Ėand someone probably weighing more than 135 pounds- to defeat Adrien Broner. Even at this early stage in his career, Adrien Broner appears to be the finished article.
I canít see anyone at 135, or possibly even at 140 solving the problem just yet. Can you?