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Porter, Broner stage Battle for Ohio

Shawn Porter lands a punch on Devon Alexander during their IBF welterweight title fight on December 7, 2013. Porter is in action against Adrien Broner this weekend.  AFP
Shawn Porter lands a punch on Devon Alexander during their IBF welterweight title fight on December 7, 2013. Porter is in action against Adrien Broner this weekend. AFP

Porter, Broner stage Battle for Ohio

Former welterweight champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter will be aiming to undo some of his hometown Cleveland’s disappointment in the NBA Finals this weekend when he takes on former three-weight world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner on Al Haymon’s PBC broadcast at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night (9am Sunday morning Cambodian time).

This is set to be an intriguing matchup of two young fighters whose paths seemed set for superstardom but have recently suffered convincing losses, losing their world titles in the process.

Broner (30-1, 22 KOs) was manhandled by Marcos Maidana in 2013, losing the WBA welterweight title. Porter (25-1, 16 KOs) was outclassed by Britain’s Kell “The Special One” Brook last year and lost his IBF welterweight title by majority decision.

Brook constantly caught him coming in, and clinched and smothered most of his usually explosive offence. Since then he has worked on those areas of his game.

At the PBC press conference on June 10th in Los Angeles he said: “I’ve learned a lot about how not to be held and how to get guys off you, that’s part of the process and it will be important in this fight.”

Broner remains one of the most marketable and recognisable names in the sport, despite being widely disliked for antics that have been viewed as disrespectful to his opponents.

At the same press conference he said: “I’m going to be the most powerful fighter on June 20 and definitely the prettiest fighter on June 20. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”

He is looking to prove he has learned from his defeat and that he can handle an aggressive fighter. He got comprehensively beaten by Marcos “El Chino” Maidana (35-5, 31 KO) and lost his WBA welterweight title, being floored twice in the process. Maidana simply roughed him up on the inside and landed looping shots almost at will.

So it makes for a classic fight where both have suffered defeats against each other’s styles. Broner is from Cincinnati and Porter from Cleveland, two towns with a long and bitter sporting rivalry, and this weekend it will be no different, but this time in the boxing ring, as the bragging rights for the state of Ohio are up for grabs.

But in reality there is much more at stake for both men, with the winner being able to eye future bouts with names like Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman on the path to becoming the sports next big pay-per-view attraction.

Ward returns
This weekend also sees the return to the ring, after 19 months, of supermiddleweight king Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KOs). He will be fighting Britain’s Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KO). Ward was considered among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world before his injury but Smith believes he can take advantage of Ward’s layoff and dethrone him.

He told the Daily Mail this week: “Andre is a top pound-for-pound fighter and someone I respect a lot, but he has only boxed once in almost three years and I will give it everything I have got.”

Martinez retires
Argentina’s Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez announced his retirement from boxing at last weekend’s Annual Boxing Hall of Fame’s Banquet of Champions dinner. The event itself was a fitting place to end a wonderful career that saw him rule the middleweight division from 2010 to 2013.

“I am grateful to boxing for giving me the life I have now, and to the wonderful family of the sport of boxing. But very specially, I thank my fans around the world. It is time to take a step aside. Thank you, and to the victory, always!” Martinez said.

He cited his well-known knee problem as the reason for his retirement. This was clearly visible in the defeat to Miguel Cotto in what proved to be his last fight.

During his 50-month reign he held the Lineal, WBC and Ring magazine titles having also held the WBO belt, meaning almost complete control of the division during that time. Martinez now turns his attention to his charity work, which includes helping bullied children, for which he has received awards, and a violence against women activist.

He truly was a credit to the sport both inside and outside the ring. Jason Jones

Both fights can be seen at Paddy Rice, # 213 Sisowath Quay, from 7:30am.

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