Boxing’s 2013 campaign comes to an end on Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas, as Showtime presents a televised quadruple header. Adrien “The Problem” Broner (27-0 22 KO’s) battles Marcos “El Chino” Maidana (34-3 31 KO’s) in the 12-round main event for the WBA Welterweight Title.
The co-main event features two welterweight brawlers in Keith Thurman (21-0 19 KO’s) and Jesus Soto Karass (28-8-3 (18 KO’s) who will meet in the squared circle in a battle for the interim welterweight title. Rising junior featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1 15 KO’s) battles Puerto Rican Cezar Seda (25-1 17 KO’s), and the opening bout on Showtime features a light heavyweight title fight between Beibut Shumenov (13-1 8 KO’s) and Tamas Kovacs (23-0 14 KO’s).
This card was originally planned to be a pay-per-view event, but Golden Boy Promotions scrapped the idea and decided to air it on Showtime instead. This is one of the biggest cards in the history of Showtime and it is a fitting way for the network to close out one of the best boxing years in network history.
Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana
This clash against Maidana figures to be the toughest test of the brash-talking Broner’s young career. Even though Broner is just 24, he has captured titles in three weight divisions. In June, Broner jumped two weight classes and beat Paulie Malignaggi by split decision to win the WBA Welterweight Title.
But despite his success, Broner has not faced a opponent with punching ability of Maidana, who will enter the ring with 31 knockouts in 37 career fights under his belt. The Argentinean brawler has KO’d his last three opponents and his last loss was a controversial decision to Devon Alexander back in February of 2012. But even though Maidana has faced the likes of Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz, Josesito Lopez and Devon Alexander, he has not faced the combination of speed, intelligence and power that “The Problem” brings.
In his last outing against Malignaggi, Broner landed 47-percent of his total punches, including 51-percent of his power shots. His opponent, landed just 25-percent of his total punches. In his previous fight against Gavin Rees, Broner landed 48-percent of his power shots compared to 34-percent for his opponent.
Broner should have his chin tested for the first time in his career but Maidana simply does not have the technical skill to have his hand raised at the end. He will get some shots in but look for Broner to wear down his opponent on his way to a late stoppage or decision victory.
Prediction: Broner TKO 10
Keith Thurman vs. Jesus Soto Karass
This fight has the makings to be the most action-packed fight on the entire card. Thurman is a rising welterweight prospect who won the WBA Interim Welterweight Title in July over a previously unbeaten Diego Gabriel Chaves. But he has been brought along rather slowly as he’s faced mostly faded veterans of the sport like Jan Javeck, Carlos Quintana and Orlando Lora. But in Sota Karass, he will get the toughest test of his career against another tough veteran.
Soto Karass is one of the most exciting fighters to watch in all of boxing. He has won two fights in a row, including a 12th round TKO victory over Andre Berto in his last fight. Soto Karass’ last loss came at the hands of Maidana, who is set to appear in this cards main event. In his last fight against Berto, Soto Karass more than doubled his opponent’s punch rate with 1,324 total punches including 515 jabs. While he does not land all that much (29-percent against Berto) he does throw combinations in volumes and rarely steps backwards.
This fight has all the makings of an all-out brawl. Soto Karass is rarely in a boring fight and Thurman has 19 KO’s in 21 fights. Soto Karass is going to go right after Thurman and it should make for some fireworks. While Soto Karass is the veteran, he is not as polished as Thurman so look for this fight to go the distance as neither man is known to quit so easily.
Prediction: Thurman close unanimous decision
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Cezar Seda
Santa Cruz is one of the rising prospects in boxing today. At 25, Santa Cruz has already captured a title at bantamweight in June of 2012 and defended it three times in six months before moving up to junior featherweight in 2013. This culminated with a third round TKO victory over Victor Terrazas to capture the WBC Junior Featherweight Title
A volume puncher, Santa Cruaz averages 97.4 punches per round according to Compubox. But what is more impressive is that he averages 62 power punches a round and connects on 47.4-percent of them. Santa Cruz has KO’d his last two opponents and has 15 wins by knockout in 26 fights.
Seda, currently riding a five-fight winning streak with two of those victories coming by knockout, is ranked number five by the WBC, but remains unranked by the WBA and the WBO. Even though he has an impressive record (25-1), he should not pose much of a threat to Santa Cruz. Look for the title holder to hurt the challenger early and stop him in the middle rounds.
Prediction: Santa Cruz TKO 5
Beibut Shumenov vs. Tamas Kovacs
In the deep, talent rich pool of light heavyweights, Beibut Shumenov often gets forgotten. Shumenov represented Kazakhstan in the 2004 Summer Olympics and won his world title in his tenth professional fight. However, he has not faced a top-ten light heavyweight and has not fought in 18 months.
Kovacs has a nice record (23-0) but has not faced anybody of note. This is his first fight in the United States and his first scheduled 12-round fight since 2011. Kovacs has only been 12 rounds one time in his career and look for him to fade as the fight gets to the championship rounds.
Prediction: Shumenov unanimous decision
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