Adrien Broner is set to make his return to boxing on February 20 after being out of the ring for 2 years. The four-weight world champion has not won a fight since 2017 and has notably made headlines for controversies outside the ring including a sexual assault case that was resolved as recently as November 2020.
However, he now claims that he is a changed person and fully motivated and dedicated to boxing. Adrien Broner battles Undefeated, World Ranked Jovanie Santiago in what is expected to be a ‘soft touch’ comeback fight before the former pound-for-pound top 10 steps up later in 2021. Many people are suspicious if the return is purely due to financial reasons as a result of Adrien Broner’s ‘exotic lifestyle’.
Also on the Showtime Tripleheader, Swedish Heavyweight Otto Wallin Battles Two-Time World Title Challenger Dominic Breazeale in an interesting heavyweight match-up. Additionally, Ex-IBF Lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. battles Ryan Martin at a 140-Pounds over 10 rounds. This will be Showtime’s fourth boxing card just 7 weeks into the new year and PBC’s 5th.
Adrien Broner vs Jovanie Santiago: The Last Chance?
Adrien Broner (33-4) has won world titles at 4 different weight classes and at one time was considered one of the pound-for-pound top fighters in the world, however, discipline issues and problems outside the ring have tarnished that somewhat. Broner now has a shot at redemption and will attempt to be a 5-time world champion in the next 12 months.
Many think this is just a simple cash-grab for Broner and that he is not taking boxing seriously and simply just run out of money. Despite this, Adrien Broner claims he has the hunger to become one of the best fighters in the division once again. Broner is being linked with big fights with the likes of Regis Prograis as he is still a massive draw in boxing and now headlines a good card in a comeback fight.
Broner fights Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago (14-0) who is an unknown quantity and well outside the top 15 140-pounders. Santiago is not at all known or considered highly but is ranked in the top 15 with the WBA at super-lightweight and therefore this is a smart move from Team Adrien Broner, as he could become world-ranked and in the realms of possibility to challenge for a world title after just one fight.
Otto Wallin vs Dominic Breazeale: The Battle of Heavyweights
Sweden’s Otto Wallin (21-1) was a completely unknown quantity when he was selected by #1 Heavyweight Tyson Fury to be his opponent for his Mexican Independence Day fight. He was a large outsider on the cards and expected to offer little resistance to the Gypsy King similar to 24-0 Tom Schwarz who was blasted out in two rounds just 12 weeks prior.
Wallin had a different idea and wanted to prove himself in the heavyweight division and he did just this. Wallin opened up a huge cut on Fury in the fourth round with a straight left hand and extended the Lineal Champion the 12-round distance providing Fury with a competitive, tough fight. He even hurt Fury in the final round and entertained the Mexican fans watching; providing a ‘gruesome’ and ‘bloody’ affair.
Wallin faced tough veteran Kauffman on the Benavidez-Angulo undercard on his Showtime Debut and looked very impressive dominating every second of the fight till Kauffman suffered an injury in the 5th round which forced him to retire. He now looks to step-up the opposition and moves into contention for another big opportunity in 2021 and a win over Dominic Breazeale would go a long way in doing that.
Former U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) has only ever lost to Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua in world title challenges. He is an established heavyweight with vicious knockout power stopping 90% of his wins. Breazeale has notable victories over Texan World Title Challenger Eric Molina, Amir Mansour (22-1) and Poland’s Izuagbe Ugonoh (17-0).
He has limited technical ability but possesses one thing: Knockout power. He is dangerous for every second he is in the fight and Wallin may struggle to keep him from landing for the 10-round distance. If Breazeale lands heavily he may be able to knockout Wallin with just a single right hand; Wallin will need to be very cautious about his defence especially since a southpaw is more vulnerable to the right hand which is Breazeale’s best shot.
Robert Easter Jr. vs Ryan Martin: A Stepping Stone
Robert Easter Jr. got off the canvas in round 8 to win the vacant IBF Lightweight Title via a narrow split-decision in a 50/50 contest against 24-0 Richard Commey in 2016. He made three defences off his title over the next 18 months with the most notable being 33-1 Javier Fortuna who he edged another split decision against.
In July 2018, he attempted to unify with four-weight champion and P4P Contender Mikey Garcia (38-0). Easter Jr. lost a convincing 12-round unanimous decision on that occasion and was shown he was not on the elite level. He returned in 2019 and fought Rances Barthelemy to a Split-Draw for the vacant WBA title before winning a 10-round unanimous decision against Adrian Granados (20-7) later in the year.
He now attempts to get back into title contention at a new weight: Super-Lightweight. However, with 18-months out of the ring, he will have a warm-up fight first against Ryan Martin (24-1) on the Adrien Broner undercard.
Martin, a decent amateur winning several national championships, was once a top prospect and has only lost to Josh Taylor in the paid ranks. He has previously held the WBC Continentals America and WBA Intercontinental titles and been world ranked. Martin is a decent challenge for Easter Jr. on his comeback fight.
Although this is an intriguing card, there is only really one competitive matchup on it which is Wallin and Breazeale which makes it surprising that this card was originally meant to go up against Diaz Rakhimov, Teixeira Castano and the Smith Vlasov fights. Even now, it is on the same day as an ‘almost guaranteed FOTY contender’ Berchelt Valdez, but no longer competing with Mayweather Logan Paul.
Showtime Tripleheader: February 20
Adrien Broner vs Jovanie Santiago: 10 Rounds Super Lightweight
Otto Wallin vs Dominic Breazeale: 10 Rounds Heavyweight
Robert Easter Jr vs Ryan Martin: 10 Rounds Super Lightweight