Two of the hottest names in the 140 lbs weight class are sharing a fight card on September 6, at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati: #1-ranked Argentine knockout artist Lucas Matthysse and #9-ranked legend-in-his-own-mind Adrien “The Problem” Broner. The card is billed as a homecoming for Broner, but also signals just how far removed he is from the spotlight he craves — he wouldn’t be splitting a bill and fighting in Cincinnati if there were bigger options out there for him.
La Maquina is taking on Roberto Ortiz in the more interesting clash of the night. I say that because Ortiz is an undefeated product of the rough-and-tumble Mexican club fight scene, and guys who can manage to hang on their “0” in that environment usually have some promise, so Ortiz is a prospect for at least fringe contender status. Matthysse is still a heavy favorite, but the Mexican ought to make the clash an entertaining one.
Adrien Broner, on the other hand, is fighting Emmanuel Taylor, who is 100% pure journeyman material. Still, he has wins over Victor Cayo and more recently, Karim Mayfield, which means he’s riding high for the moment despite the fact that the fight still appears to be a total gimme.
So why does this fight matter, given that it’s biding time for Matthysse and a tune-up for Broner? The Cincinnati fight fans get to see two marquee fighters in action, but what about the rest of us?
Because the fight card might herald a Matthysse vs. Broner bout. First, let’s realize that The Problem’s chatter about taking on Lamont Peterson is pure Bronershit. Broner and Peterson are close friends and frequently train together, and Golden Boy has flatly denied a Peterson vs. Broner fight, so that isn’t happening any time soon.
On top of sharing a bill together, being in the same weight class, and being in search of a worthy opponent, both Matthysse and Broner are Showtime guys (amply demonstrated by sharing a Showtime bill). There are no serious obstacles to making this fight happen, and even though Matthysse is our #1 ranked junior welterweight, he needs a big win as much as Broner does. Whereas Broner is coming back from his brutal loss to Marcos Maidana (another Argentine), Matthysse is coming off a clear loss to Danny Garcia.
Even keeping that in mind, I might (only might) watch Matthysse vs. Ortiz and skip Broner’s fight altogether. My real interest in that triple-header is to see how Andre Berto looks in his first comeback fight. Still, the fact that you have Matthysse and Broner on the same fight card and their current situations suggest we might be seeing the two of them square off in the next six months.