Adrien Broner followed up his loss to Manny Pacquiao with an old-looking victory over Jovanie Santiago after two years out of boxing.
Firstly, the former four-division world champion returned with a unanimous decision victory against Santiago in the main event of Saturday night’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast.
Broner’s win was beamed live on SHOWTIME from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
It must be said that Broner didn’t give a virtuoso performance. He looked considerably older than his 31 years.
The popular, must-see attraction Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs), who last fought against the legend Manny Pacquiao in January 2019, started slowly but used the second half of the fight to surge ahead judges’ scorecards.
The fight was scored 116-111, 117-110, and 115-112, and all three judges had Broner winning rounds seven through ten.
“That was cool,” said Broner, who had his hand raised for the first time in four years. “I want to go home and really look at my fight.
“I haven’t fought in two years. But I felt good. I felt like I won the fight. I felt like I beat him with the jab, honestly. But it felt good to get my hand raised, though.”
The Cincinnati ‘Problem’ landed just 35 of 138 punches in the opening six rounds of the fight, while the previously undefeated Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs) landed 93 of 305 during the same stretch.
At the end of the fourth round, Santiago had a point deducted for a punch that landed after the bell.
Over the final six frames, Broner landed 63 of 300 punches while Santiago landed 114 of 392. Broner was most active in the ninth round when he connected on 14 of 38 punches.
Though outworked over the fight’s entirety, Broner landed quality punches over the second half of the bout, which earned him the victory.
“I knew he was going to be tough because he’s 14-0,” added Broner. “And anybody with that ‘0’ wants to keep that ‘0’ so they’re going to fight like a bum fighting for a sandwich.
“I came in, and I got the job done. There is a lot of work out there at 140. Right now, we’re going to the drawing board with Al Haymon to see what’s best for me.
“But I’m definitely going back to the gym and I’m looking forward to getting one of those titles this year at 140.”
SHOWTIME’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood scored the fight 114-113 in favor of the Puerto Rican Santiago, much to the chagrin of Broner.
Santiago, on the other hand, was not surprised by the judges’ scorecards.
“No, the decision doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “Broner did a nice job in there. The decision could have gone both ways. He fought a great fight.
“We were in it to win this fight, and he got the decision. I think boxing fans know who I am now. But in this fight, I should have applied more pressure, and the fight would have gone my way.”