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Written by Ian Wallwork

What do boxers owe their paying fans? The reason I ask is that there is a growing anger at pay per view matches, with fans feeling short-changed after shelling out fifteen pounds to see fights end before they've sat down. Examples? I'm talking about Mayweather-Ortiz, and Hopkins-Dawson. You could also argue there have been some awful performances that didn't justify the fee - take a look at Zab Judah's weak submission to Amir Khan. He didn't even make it a fight.

You do get the undercard, and this can prove a treat. The Mayweather-Ortiz event was packed full of fights, with Saul Alvarez, Erik Morales and Jessie Vargas on show, all of whose bouts over-shadowed the main event (for boxing, not controversy). But, dare I say it, many fans don't purchase a fight for the undercard. They are waiting for the main event. In the UK it is especially bad; we poor Brits have to fight off sleep until 4/5 AM, sometimes to find that the main event lasts three minutes.

This brings me to tonight's fight, Adrien Broner vs Vicente Martin Rodriguez. The two meet up in Briner's hometown of Cincinnati, where Broner has promised to make quick work of it:
"I’m not gonna play with this guy. I want to be world champion.”
Broner, 22, is turning heads after winning twenty-one fights in a row as a super featherweight. He is hot stuff, drawing comparisons (admittedly by his promoter, Richard Schafaer) to Floyd Mayweather. As a youngster he had over 300 amateur fights, turning pro in May 2008. He hadn't fought anyone of note until March this year when he met Daniel Ponce de Leon, and followed that with a first round knockout over Jason Litzau.

Adrien Broner wants to beat Rodriguez fast then move on.

What Do Boxers Owe Their Fans?
It is Broner's rapid-fire knockout over worthy contender Litzau that makes me wonder what boxers owe their fans. There are two questions here:

  • Do the fighters owe the fans a show?
  • Should a fighter take whatever winning opportunity that presents itself?
There are some that still believe in the value of money. The more you pay for something, the better the product should be. Is this always true? No. Take a look at Apple. Their products are great, but they cost £200 more than the nearest alternative, which are not that far off in terms of quality. Getting what you pay for does not exist. You pay £10 to see a movie, you're gambling on it being any good (a gamble I lost when I paid to see Transformers 3). It is the same with computer games; you can pay £40 for a game only for it to be a turkey.

Some say Transformers 3 is all special effects and bad dialogue. They're right.
Boxing is the same - you pay your money, you take the gamble. If only there were some sort of metric where the level of enjoyment you experienced would be translated into prices. I would have paid £5 for the Hopkins-Dawson fight and £40 for Sergio Martinez vs Darren Barker.

Their October bout offered genuine value for money. Martinez had been the favourite but Barker surprised him with the performance of his career, leaving the ending in doubt until the penultimate round, where Martinez got a knockout win. Both fighters gave everything they had, and as a fan I was glad I had spent the money to watch it.

Compare this with the recent Mayweather-Ortiz debacle. You may have heard of it - Ortiz headbutted Floyd, left his gloves up for an eternity while he apologised, and got a match-ending sucker punch from Money. That night, Mayweather took his chance and got the win. He tuned out the sponsors, the cameras and the fans and took the killer opportunity while it was there.

I was angry. I had been waiting for the fight for a long time, and to see it ended in such a pathetic way made me want to get in the ring with Mayweather myself (luckily for me, Larry Merchant decided to take the job on). I stewed about this for a while, but then I thought "has Floyd actually done anything wrong?"

It is him who has to take the risks in the ring, fighting in the knowledge that too many blows could damage his brain either there-and-then or when he's retired. When a fist slips past his guard and lands on his cheek, we, the fans, don't feel the impact. Naturally any fighter will want to minimise the amount of punches he takes. Which brings me, via a lengthy detour, to Adrien Broner, and whether he is right to say he will end his fight with Rodriguez quickly.

Blink and You'll Miss It
Broner has warned us to "have our snacks ready", because he is ending tonights fight as soon as he can. After giving it some thought, I agree with this mentality; if Broner can get an early knockout, he should take it, fans be damned. Will he get one though?

He has a 71% knockout ratio, but so far he has fought journeymen. As his fights get tougher so will the knockouts, and Broner seems confused as to what his style is. Against Ponce de Leon he was a mish-mash of technique and this raises questions about tonight.

Vicente Martin Rodriguez has lost two fights in his career and neither of them were by knockout. He has not lost a bout for three years now, when he gave a unanimous decision away to William Kickett, and has gradually upped his level of opposition. Although Broner is the favourite, and I do think he will win tonight, Rodriguez is not there as a punchbag. He will take this fight to the late rounds.

This main event title bout is showing on HBO’s Boxing After Dark, with coverage beginning at 10:30pm ET/PT.