Granados can pull off upset
Our tipster Simon Crawford believes an upset is on the cards when underdog Adrian Granados takes on Adrien Broner this weekend.
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2016 is certainly a year Adrien Broner will want to forget in a hurry.
He only fought once, stopping Londoner Ashley Theophane in the ninth round which should have earned him the vacant WBA world super-lightweight title.
But the 27-year-old failed to make the required 140lbs weight limit and although the fight went ahead in Washington DC, Broner lost his chance to take the belt.
Nicknamed 'The Problem', Broner has had more than his fair share and it was matters outside the ring that, unfortunately for him, attracted the biggest headlines.
After being charged with assault over a January 2016 incident outside a bowling alley, he turned up three hours late for the subsequent court hearing in July and served a 30-day jail sentence for contempt.
Then last October there were worrying posts on social media which appeared to suggest Broner was going to harm himself.
Thankfully he didn't and 2017 is seen as a new beginning for the four-weight world champion, someone who just a few years ago was being hailed as the next 'big thing'.
There was talk of him fighting Scottish world champion Ricky Burns at the back end of last year but that never materialised and now it is Adrian Granados who Broner must overcome on Saturday night as he bids to get himself back into world-title contention.
Interestingly, the two have been sparring partners in the past so my initial reaction was that this was very much a hand-picked opponent.
However, I believe there are some worrying signs for Broner (32-2, 24KOs), who will have a partisan home crowd behind him at the Cintas Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Both fighters have been quite coy about how those past sparring sessions went and, to be fair, that is usually the case in boxing; what happens in the gym stays in the gym.
But I can't help but think that had Broner dominated them he would have been quick to tell us. But he hasn't and indeed he has been very - and unusually - respectful of Granados (18-4-2, 12KOs) so I just get the feeling that the gulf is not as big as the pre-fight odds would have us believe.
"I know he's [Granados] a tough competitor, a world-class fighter and that's why I picked him so he can bring the best out of Adrien Broner," he said.
"We've done numerous rounds and I know he's tough as nails and he's got to bring it when he comes to fight me so I know this has a chance to be a fight-of-the-year type of fight, but we'll see once the bell rings.
"What happens in the gym I try to keep it in the gym, but I can say that every time that we sparred, he earned it, every time, and like I always said, he's a hell of a fighter."
Broner has so far fallen short of the hype that has surrounded him, although much of it has been provided by himself.
Arguably his career-best win came against Antonio DeMarco, who he stopped in the eighth to land the WBC world lightweight title back in November 2012.
But when he has really needed to step up the plate he has fallen short.
Marcos Rene Maidana floored him twice on the way to an emphatic points win for the WBA world welterweight title in December 2013, while Shawn Porter also beat him on points in June 2015 despite being dropped in the last.
Granados looks to have a modest record at first glance, but his losses against Frankie Gomez, Felix Diaz and Brad Solomon were questionable against top-quality operators.
He also drew with the well-respected Kermit Cintron and in November 2015 took away the unbeaten record of the highly-touted Amir Imam courtesy of an eighth-round stoppage.
Granados is three inches taller and will have five inches of advantage in reach, plus he knows all too well that victory over Broner will earn him world-title opportunities.
"It would be a huge victory for me," he said. "I definitely believe it could change my life and the life of my family.
"I plan on coming out with that victory - but I understand the odds and the way that they're stacking it up.
"I could easily be undefeated. I've always been the B-side and always had the odds stacked up against me so I've just got to thrive in the underdog position, which I plan to.
"This is definitely the biggest fight of my career and I plan on taking full advantage of it.
"I just believe I'm a better fighter. He's a tremendous fighter, a tremendous talent - I just believe that people underestimate my talent and they only see me as a one-sided fighter."
However, the biggest factor that leads me to believe an upset could be about to happen is that Broner is having difficulty making weight once more.
The fight was already supposed to have been at a catchweight of 142lbs, two pounds over the super-lightweight limit where both have been campaigning recently.
But Granados revealed in a press conference last week that Broner has requested that it takes place at 147lbs due to him having an illness during camp.
For me, this is going to have a huge outcome on the result.
Having weight issues like this tells me that Broner's camp is not going well and Granados could be his worst nightmare as he is a pressure fighter who pours forward and throws a high volume of punches.
Broner will need to be in tip-top shape to match this and then get off his own counters. He needs to control the fight with his jab and use his clever movement to slip Granados as he comes in and then throw his own hooks and straight right hands.
But if his conditioning is not as it should be then Broner is simply not going to be able to do this for 12 rounds and he could quickly find himself outworked and down on the cards, despite his home advantage.
His loss to Porter was a prime example where he did not get going until the latter part of the fight and although he put his opponent down in the last, it was too late.
I expect Granados to come flying out of the blocks, looking to back Broner up as much as possible and although his defence is open at times, if the favourite's stamina deserts him then he could be facing another setback.
Granados is a general 10/3 to win this fight and with so many question marks hanging over an odds-on Broner, then I think this is a gamble well worth taking.
Posted at 1200 GMT on 15/02/17.