Boxing

 
                === Broner-Rios fight would be jewel of 2013 ===
 
 By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Boxing Editor
 
 Move on, boxing fans... they have.
 
 Sometime  around midnight  ET on Saturday, the prolonged tease of a slow dance
 between  Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and anyone who'd had an interest
 in  them ever sharing a ring together ended instead with an ass-out hug and an
 exchange of fake numbers.
 
 They're not going home with us. They're not spending the night.
 
 And  there won't be an awkward walk of shame while we secretly post about them
 on Twitter.
 
 But as really into them as we all once were, don't worry.
 
 It's nothing to get too sad about.
 
 Because  not  long after they slinked  out the door concocting excuses they'll
 make for the next desperate suitor, someone a lot hotter walked in with better
 hair, tighter abs and slicker dance moves.
 
 And  within  just  a  few  cross-room  glances,  we'd  already  forgotten  ol'
 whatstheirname.
 
 In  fact, just  72 hours  later, the  new "gotta  have it"  fight for  2013 is
 obvious:
 
 Brandon Rios and Adrien Broner.
 
 For the 140-pound championship of anyone that gives a damn.
 
 OK,  I know  that Danny Garcia, Lamont  Peterson and even Zab Judah might have
 more  legitimacy when  it comes  to actually  being the  preeminent entity  at
 junior welterweight.
 
 But when it comes to a real-world litmus test -- read: who's compelling enough
 with  the  gloves off  to make you  have to  watch them with  the gloves on --
 there's no better twosome out there than "Bam Bam" and "The Problem."
 
 Rios is a loudmouth tough guy who's never run from pre-fight hyperbole.
 
 He's  usually -- outside of a clinical 12-round disaster against Richard Abril
 last  spring  at  Mandalay  Bay  --  shown up  to  deliver  the  goods  in  an
 entertaining manner come fight night.
 
 And  by  overwhelming consensus, barring  a late-stage calendar insurgent, his
 come-from-behind  mugging  of Mike  Alvarado last month  in California was the
 year's best scrap.
 
 Meanwhile,  though he's not declared an actual inclination to add five pounds,
 Broner  removed  any doubt  about his  big-stage fortitude  on Saturday when a
 systemic demolition of 135-pound claimant Antonio DeMarco jogged memories of a
 similar Boardwalk Hall massacre seven years prior.
 
 For those who've forgotten it, that one involved Mayweather and Arturo Gatti.
 
 The  only thing  separating the 2012 savagery from its 2005 prototype was that
 Floyd's  Italian punching bag -- standing a smidge more than 5-foot-7 -- was a
 smidge  less  than three inches shorter  than the Mexican-born one that Adrien
 brutalized over 23 minutes.
 
 And  as for an ability to match Rios on the chattering front, Broner more than
 made  a case  during a  brief  post-victory joust  with Mayweather's  all-time
 favorite premium cable senior citizen.
 
 "I  wanted to  make a  statement  that anyone  that fights  Adrien Broner  has
 stepped  in doo-doo that they can't get off their shoe," he said. "I bake him,
 shake him, cook him and eat him."
 
 He  wrapped the  soliloquy with a call for followers on Twitter and Instagram,
 grinding  an  obviously irritated  Larry  Merchant's  gears  in the  same  way
 Mayweather  frequently has -- though the octogenarian thankfully stopped short
 of contending what he'd have done to him had they met 50 years ago.
 
 With those intangibles alone, it's a match made in "World Championship Boxing"
 heaven.
 
 Not to mention that it's a recipe for particularly tasty combat.
 
 The  26-year-old Rios has  been an apple of Bob Arum's eye since the summer of
 2011,  when  a frenzied third-round KO  of Urbano Antillon prompted the creaky
 promoter to suggest the Californian could be a successor to his aforementioned
 Filipino crown jewel.
 
 And  Broner's been  frequently branded as a lighter-weight "Money" clone, from
 potshot  offense and shoulder-roll defense in the ring to outspoken antics and
 opposition baiting beyond it.
 
 In  terms of competition, contrast and content, it's everything the superfight
 could have been.
 
 Without the drug tests, purse splits and defamation suits.
 
 And by this time next year, I hope... the excuses.
 
 
 This week's title-fight schedule:
 
 WEDNESDAY
 Vacant     IBO     cruiserweight     title     --     Melbourne,     Australia
 Shane   Cameron  (No.   7  contender)  vs.  Danny  Green  (No.  11  contender)
 Cameron  (29-2, 22 KO): First title fight; Unbeaten in career at cruiserweight
 (3-0)
 Green  (32-5, 28  KO): Eleventh title fight  (6-4); Held WBA title at 175, IBO
 title                                  at                                  200
 Fitzbitz  says:  "If Cameron  can retain  his power  while dropping weight, it
 could  mean bad things for popular Australian who's looked his age in two most
 recent title outings." Cameron in 10
 
 IBO      super     featherweight     title     --     Melbourne,     Australia
 Will    Tomlinson   (champion)   vs.   Irving   Berry   (No.   33   contender)
 Tomlinson  (19-0-1, 12  KO): Second title defense; Twenty-first straight fight
 in                                                                   Australia
 Berry  (22-3-2, 9  KO): Second  title fight;  Lost only  career fight  outside
 Panama
 Fitzbitz  says: "Challenger  has fared  respectably  well at  130 pounds,  but
 dropped only previous fight outside home country and doesn't look particularly
 capable of reversing trend." Tomlinson by decision
 
 SATURDAY
 IBF      light      heavyweight      title     --      Caracas,      Venezuela
 Tavoris    Cloud   (champion)    vs.    Karo   Murat    (No.   2    contender)
 Cloud  (24-0,  19 KO): Fifth title  defense; First fight outside United States
 Murat  (25-1-1, 15  KO):  First  title fight;  First  fight  in South  America
 Fitzbitz  says:  "Champion was  hardly  impressive  in controversial  February
 defense,  but  has otherwise  improved since winning  belt and should maintain
 that level against competent foe." Cloud by decision
 
 Vacant       WBC       strawweight      title      --      Kunming,      China
 Javier  Martinez (No.  4 contender)  vs. Xiong  Zhao Zhong  (No. 6  contender)
 Martinez  (13-3-2,  6 KO):  First  title  fight;  First fight  outside  Mexico
 Zhong  (19-4-1,  11 KO):  Second  title  fight  (0-1); Seventh  fight  against
 plus-.500                             fighter                            (2-4)
 Fitzbitz  says: "Aside  from the ridiculousness of a title fight with two non-
 accomplished  top contenders,  there's little to distinguish one from another.
 Tie goes to the guy fighting at home." Zhong by decision
 
 Last                    week's                   picks:                    5-0
 Overall picks record: 454-149 (75.2 percent)
 
 Lyle  Fitzsimmons  is a veteran  sports columnist who's written professionally
 since  1988 and covered  boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and
 posted  online  for  clients  in  North  America  and  Europe.  Reach  him  at
 fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 11/20 16:55:54 ET

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