Adrien Broner returned to action for the first time since a January 2019 loss to Manny Pacquiao, but his bid to get back into world title contention was a flat one, as he took a dull, unanimous points won over unheralded Puerto Rican, Jovanie Santiago, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut on Saturday night.
Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) has won world titles in four weight classes, but was without a win since February 2017, and Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs) hadn’t fought outside of Puerto Rico and Panama, but was unbeaten in 15 outings, with the fight moved from 140lbs to 147lbs.
Broner showed little intent in the early stages of the contest, preferring to posture and try to set traps instead.
Santiago repeatedly targeted the body of his more decorated opponent, but was docked a point in the fourth for hitting after the bell.
That was as good as the first half of the fight got, but ’The Problem’ did show a lot more variety and urgency in the later stages, and a powerful left hook seemed to hurt Santiago in the eighth.
With the fight competitively contested, Broner took the handbrake off in order to bank rounds, and showcased decent combination work in the final couple of sessions, as the bout went to the scorecards.
Santiago didn’t disgrace himself, but just came up short, and will regret not putting more pressure on the 31-year-old.
Scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 confirmed the win for the Cincinnati man, who will likely not have drummed up much interest for a match with any of the current world champions after such a laboured performance.
“I want to go home and look at the fight, after two years out I need to assess my performance. I felt like I beat him with my jab” said Broner post-fight.
“Later on in the fight, I picked things up and got warmed up. I came in and I got the job done. What I’ll say to Al Haymon and (Stephen) Espinoza is keep me in the ring.
“Maybe I’ll stay out of trouble that way.”
Wallin defeats Breazeale on points
The intriguing Heavyweight clash on the card was won by Otto Wallin, who comfortably outpointed former two-time world title challenger, Dominic Breazeale over twelve pedestrian rounds.
Breazeale hadn’t been in action since a one round defeat to Deontay Wilder for the WBC title in May 2019, while Wallin won his last fight against Travis Kauffman after losing a lineal title challenge to Tyson Fury in a spirited effort in the September 2019.
The Swede’s speed was proving effective early on, and he was beating the slower Breazeale to the punch.
’Trouble’ was loading up on his shots and telegraphing them, allowing Wallin to move in and out of range.
Breazeale, 35, was plodding far too much, unable to gain any momentum, and his corner, including new trainer Abel Sanchez, implored their man to make the contest a fight at the end of the fifth, although his eye was swollen from a ramrod Wallin jab in the round.
The pattern of the fight pretty much continued until its conclusion, and the Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs), 30, was always one step ahead of the play, and when the fight went to the scorecards, the victor looked in little doubt.
Scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112 reflected Wallin’s dominance, while Breazeale (20-3, 18 KOs) will regret not pulling the trigger more, as he was pushed further back in the Heavyweight chasing pack.
Easter Jr victorious against Martin
The Showtime pay-per-view portion of the card began with an intriguing crossroads fight at Super Lightweight, where former Lightweight world champion, Robert Easter Jr breathed new life into his career with a largely uneventful points win over Ryan Martin (24-2, 14 KOs), whose only loss prior to this one was to Josh Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series in 2019.
Two scores of 118-110 and a third at 117-111 confirmed a comfortable victory for Easter Jr (23-1-1, 14 KOs), who boxed well and dominated the contest.
Rau’shee Warren (18-3, 4 KOs) returned to the ring after a near year break, and the former WBA and IBO Bantamweight champion eased past Sharone Carter (12-4, 3 KOs) in a wide points win. Two scores of 98-92 and a third at 97-93 confirmed the win for the Ohioan.
At Super Lightweight, Juan Jose Velasco edged a split decision win in his ten rounder with Zachary Ochoa. One judge had Ochoa (21-2, 7 KOs) a 96-94 winner, but scores of 96-94 and 97-93 in favour of Velasco (23-2, 14 KOs) meant he took the victory.