- Last Updated: 4:25 AM, July 21, 2012
- Posted: 1:15 AM, July 21, 2012
With Floyd Mayweather locked up and Manny Pacquiao looking to be closing in on his final days as a boxer, the sport is looking for its next group of superstars to emerge. You can count Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia among the list of candidates after his sensational fourth-round stoppage of Amir Khan for the junior welterweight title last weekend. Timothy Bradley, Andre Ward, Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are also on the cusp of greatness.
Tonight we’ll find out if Adrien Broner deserves a spot on the list. The native of Cincinnati defends his WBO super featherweight title against battled-tested Vincente Escobedo as part of an HBO After Dark doubleheader. Keith Thurman (17-0, 16 KOs) of Clearwater, Fla., and Orlando Lora (29-2-2, 19 KOs) of Mexico will meet a 10-round welterweight match-up.
Broner (23-0, 19 KOs) is showing all the signs of being an exceptional talent. Just 22 years old, he is being compared to a young Mayweather Jr. He has speed, power and plenty of flash that attracts fans who either want him to win or get beat.
None of his antics are new. He brushes his hair after fights the way Muhammad Ali did, and uses the shoulder-roll defense like Mayweather. He also clowns in the ring the way Roy Jones once did. Wrapped up in one package, Broner makes for must-see TV.
“I’m going to come in laughing and dancing,” Broner said. “But when the bell rings, it’s on.”
Ten of his wins have come on first-round knockouts, but Escobedo should prove a tougher challenge. Escobedo (26-3, 15 KOs) of Woodland, Calif., is on a four-fight win streak after dropping down from 135 to 130 pounds. At age 30, this is his second attempt to win a world title after losing a shot at the WBO lightweight crown on a split decision to Michael Katsidis in 2009.
“This is a huge opportunity,” said Escobedo, who’ll be fighting in Broner’s hometown. “I’m going to take full advantage. I’ve fought with some of the best and trained with the best. We know Adrien is fast and he has power and he’s talented. But I’m talented too and I’m fast and I’ve got power, too. We’re going to be ready. I’m going to shock the world guaranteed.”
Broner plans to move up to lightweight after this fight.
“I’m going to leave my mark at 130,” he said. I’m going to put on a great show.”
* Oscar de la Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions announced $100,000 will go to the fighter that produces the best knockout on a Sept. 15 card set for the MGM Grand. WBC super welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez will headline against Josesito Lopez. In other bouts, WBC featherweight champ Jhonny Gonzalez defends against former champ Daniel Ponce De Leon and former champ Marcos Maidana faces perennial contender Jesus Soto Karass. Fans watching the fights on Showtime will be asked to vote for the best knockout. Alvarez will be a heavy favorite for the bout, which will be opposite a pay-per-view card also in Las Vegas featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez fighting for the undisputed middleweight championship.
* Locally, undefeated junior welterweight Chris Algieri (14-0, 7 KOs) of Huntington, N.Y., will face Raul Tovar (10-5-1, 4 KOs) in the main event of a July 28 boxing card at the Paramount in Huntington. Popular welterweight Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin headlines the undercard against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Garcia (3-2-1, 1 KOs) in a scheduled six-round bout. Advance tickets are priced at $50 and $100 and available through Ticketmaster or through The Paramount Box Office, (631) 673-7300.Follow @NYPostsports