Adrien Broner is back.
Saturday night at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, Adrien “The Problem” Broner (31-2, 23 KOs), the Pride of Cincinnati, TKO’d former champion Khabib “The Hawk” Allakhverdiev (19-2, 9 KOs), from Derbent, Russia, at 2:23 of the final round to win the vacant WBA World super lightweight title.
The scores at the time of the stoppage were 110-99, 109-100, and 107-102.
Fighting out of the blue corner in black and orange trunks, 26-year-old Broner established his superiority at the opening bell. Supremely talented, his speed and athleticism made his opponent look like he hadn’t fought in 18 months.
Allakhverdiev, 32, fighting out of the red corner in white trunks, was no match for the new champion. He is tough, but toughness isn’t enough. Boxing is a skill sport, not a strength sport, and Broner, when focused, is as skilled as them come.
The Cincinnati Kid redeemed himself Saturday night. He avoided the ropes for the most part. (His cornerman told him at the end of round two, “Stay off the damn ropes!”) He didn’t get in a firefight. He used his jab, lead right, and uppercut to rearrange Allakhverdiev’s features.
The few times the Russian made a move to gain the upper hand, his lack of power proved a detriment. Broner shook off his punches the way a dog shakes off fleas and kept the action in the middle of the ring where Khabib hadn’t a prayer of competing.
The fight was one-sided, which is more a testament to Broner than a knock on Allakhverdiev. He wasn’t bad, per se. He is after all a former champion. It was that Broner was superb and fought like a man who wanted nothing more than to win.
By the time the championship rounds rolled around it was obvious that Broner was cruising to an easy decision. But Khabib was taking an awful whooping. Stopping it made more sense than letting it continue.
Between rounds 11 and 12 the referee, Harvey Dock Jr., told his corner, “Last round. If he gets in trouble again like that, I’m going to have to pull the plug.”
Allakhverdiev did get in trouble again in the final round. It had been target practice for awhile. The ref pulled the plug, to save Khabib from himself, to save Khabib from a resurgent Adrien Broner.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.