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Adrien Broner vs. Jessie Vargas – Official weights

By Jim Dower: After initially coming in heavy at 144.2 pounds, former four division world champion Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) stripped down his shorts to weigh-in successfully at 144 lbs. for his catch-weight fight at 144 lbs. against former 2-division world champion Jessie Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) for their 12-round fight this Saturday night on Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The 28-year-old Vargas weighed in at 143 ¾ lbs.

Vargas has spotted the flaws in Broner’s game from his past fights, and he believes he’ll be able to capitalize on that to give him another loss on his record. Vargas isn’t saying what flaws he saw in Broner’s game, but it’s likely that he noticed that he fights overly cautious when he’s in the ring with an opponent that hits hard and is good at countering him.

Broner also struggles against pressure fighters and guys that throw a lot of shots. Broner fought in a fearful manner in his losses to Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter and Marcos Maidana. He also was outworked and out-landed in his fight against Adrian Granados last year.

”I’m here to win and I plan on doing that,” Vargas said about Saturday’s fight against the struggling 28-year-old Broner. ”I’ve seen the mistakes Broner has made in the past. I have to come out and worry about my performance though.”

Broner has a lot to lose in this fight if he gets beaten by Vargas. This may be the point of no return if Broner gets beaten by Vargas. There are some losses a fighter can come back from, but this might not be one of them for Adrien. ‘The Problem’ Broner looked listless in his decision defeats to Mikey Garcia and Shawn Porter. Broner recently said things will be different for him now that he’s switched out his trainer Michael Stafford in favor of Kevin Cunningham, but it likely won’t make a difference. In watching Broner workout, he’s the same flat-footed fighter with limited hand speed and power as he was before. Signing on Cunningham isn’t going to make Broner into a huge puncher with blazing foot and hand speed. Cunningham isn’t going to fix Broner’s reflexes to help him get out of the way of the shots that Vargas is going to be throwing at him on Saturday night when the two fighters step foot inside the ring at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, If Broner can’t handle the work rate, power and size of Vargas, he’s going to lose another fight.

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”There will only be one winner and that’ll be me,” Vargas said. ”I have an advantage being the taller and stronger fighter. I’m a full-grown welterweight. I’m ready for victory,” Vargas said.

As long as Vargas lets his hands go, he should have a very good chance of winning the fight. Broner hates fighting aggressive, high volume fighters, because he’s not able to match their work rate. He’s not that type of fighter unfortunately. When Broner was fighting at super featherweight and lightweight, he didn’t need to throw a lot of shots for him to get his wins.

Broner’s power was more hurtful in those weight classes than it’s been since he moved up to light welterweight and welterweight in 2013. Broner’s paydays have been better since he moved up in weight five years ago, but he’s not been the same fighter he was when he was fighting at 130 and 135.

If things don’t work out for Broner at 140, he can always try and drop down to 135 to try and campaigning at lightweight once again. Ideally, Broner should try moving back down to super featherweight if he can make the weight limit for the division. Broner would have a very good chance of being a major player at super featherweight if could make the weight without draining himself.

In the co-feature weights, unbeaten former IBF 154lb champion Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) weighed in at the limit at 160 lbs. for his fight against Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs). For his part, Centeno Jr. weighed in at 158 ½ lbs. Charlo and Centeno Jr. will be fighting for the vacant interim WBC middleweight title. The winner of the fight will be the mandatory for WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. That fight could happen as early as next year depending on how things go for the Kazakhstan fighter in his matches against Vanes Martirosyan on May 5 and Saul Canelo Alvarez on September 15.

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”I’m looking to make a statement on Saturday night,” Jermall Charlo said. ”Once you step in front of me, it’s a fight. I’m ready to make this fight all fireworks. Hugo thinks I’m overlooking him but that’s not happening at all. I want to take him out and make a statement that I’m ready for the big names in the division. We’re going to make it rock,” Charlo said.

Given that Centeno Jr. was already knocked out a year and a half ago by Maciej Sulecki in a 10th round TKO in June 2016, Charlo is going to have to KO him a lot earlier than that for him to make any kind of a statement. Sulecki isn’t considered a major player at middleweight, and he was able to knockout Centeno Jr. For Charlo to send a message to the big dogs at Golovkin like Gennady Golovkin, Ryota Murata, Saul Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders, he’s going to need to knockout Centeno Jr. within the first 4 rounds on Saturday.

Former IBF 130lb champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) weighed in at 129 pounds for his fight with former WBA 126lb champion Jesus Andres Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) for the Word Boxing Association Super World super featherweight title. Cuellar, 31, weighed in at 129 ¼ lbs. This is the first fight for Cuellar in a year and a half since his 12 round split decision loss to Abner Mares on December 10, 2016. Despite being out of the ring for 1 ½ years, Cuellar is rated No.1 by the WBA at super featherweight.

Davis is ranked No.3. You would think that Cuellar would have been removed from the rankings for being inactive for such a long time, but this is boxing. You see weird things all the time in the sport that make no sense at all. The WBA would have been better off ranking another contender at No.1 instead of the inactive Cuellar. It’s one thing to be inactive for nearly 2 years, but it’s worse when a fighter loses his last fight as well as Cuellar did. Being rated No.1 under those conditions is odd.

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