Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados battled in a close, back-and-forth main event Saturday night at Xavier University, with the four-division world champion Broner getting a controversial split decision victory in his hometown of Cincinnati.
“Adrian Granados is a world-class fighter, a lot of guys duck him, but I wanted to fight him because that's what I'm about," said Broner. "Inside this ring it's business. Granados is a great friend of mine. It's nothing personal."
The fight, which was scored 97-93 Broner, 97-93 Granados, and 96-94 Broner, was a tale of Broner's accuracy and counterpunching versus Granados' activity and constant pressure.
Granados (18-5-2, 11 KOs), a native of Chicago, was the busier fighter, throwing 683 total punches compared to 403 for Broner (33-2, 24 KOs). But Broner connected at a 41 percent rate, compared to just 21 percent for his opponent.
“I understand, I don't have a perfect record, but I can beat any of these guys," said Granados, who disputed the decision. "You have seen the scorecards. Split decision. Come on. Give me another one. Let's do it again. I can’t wait to watch this fight, because I know I won."
The exciting fight was fought largely on the inside, which Broner said was because he hurt his left hand in the first round and couldn’t work off his jab. As such, the determined Granados was able to make the fight into a rough affair due to his relentless pressure and energy.
Granados perhaps drew extra motivation from some of the pre-fight events involving the Broner camp.
“I knew it wasn’t a pretty fight but I'm thankful to my team,” Granados said. “You already know, there were all types of games that they played with me. We had to change the weights. We had to change the scale. They are just playing all kind of games. I just want to be treated fairly."
Despite his hand injury, the ever-confident Broner had no doubts about who deserved the decision.
“I knew that Adrian Granados was going to come tough,” Broner said. “At the end of the day, I was beating him up. This was an easy one for me. I feel good."
The ten-round bout was exciting enough to warrant a rematch, a notion Granados repeatedly suggested after the fight.
“Come to my house," said Granados. "He fought smart and did his thing. If he thinks he did it this time, let's do it again. Let’s do it in my house. Come to Chicago."
Broner made no promises of a rematch, but did take time to address his recent legal troubles outside the ring.
“I'm taking my career more seriously and being more positive," said Broner. "I want to apologize to everyone who looks up to me and has seen the foolish things I've done. I'm ready to be a better role model, a better father figure, and a better star for everyone.”
On the undercard, Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs) narrowly edged WBA Welterweight World David Avanesyan (22-2-1, 11 KOs) via unanimous decision (115-113, 116-112 twice) to become a two-division champion.
“I was expecting to pick up where I left off,” Peterson said of his 16-month layoff. “That may seem like a long time, but if you’re in the gym it’s not a long time. I took some steps forward tonight. We’re looking to get back in camp and keep moving."
The competitive fight was fought at close quarters from the outset. Avanesyan and Peterson traded body punches and uppercuts, but it was Peterson who was more fluid and effective in the second half of the fight. Peterson committed to the body in the later rounds, connecting on 98 shots to the body over 12 rounds.
Both fighters connected on 40 percent of their total punches, but the real difference was that Peterson connected on 39 percent of his power shots compared to 29 percent for Avanesyan.
“I expected to put pressure on him the way I did," said Peterson. "I didn’t think he would fight back as hard as he did. He showed he’s a champion and shows he’s at this level. I want to fight anyone in the welterweight division now.”
Avanesyan admitted it was a close fight, but thought he did enough to get the decision.
“I thought that I was landing my punches more cleanly, while his punches were being blocked,” Avanesyan said. “Lamont is very good, but I thought the judges were impressed with his movement, but I had the power.”
In the opening bout of the evening, Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs) knocked down Thomas Williams Jr. (20-3, 14 KOs) three times on his way to a sixth-round KO (:42).
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services