Is Escobedo “The Problem” Solver?
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (July 17, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Vicente Escobedo
There are two ways to look at the career of Vicente Escobedo. The “cup is half-empty” perspective says that every time he has stepped up against the likes of the relatively elite Robert Guerrero and Michael Katsidis, he came up short. But the half-filled viewpoint is that those blemishes on his record came at 135 pounds. Those were losses in which Escobedo performed respectably and he’s come out of those experiences a seasoned and hardened fighter. Not surprisingly, Escobedo, who faces WBO junior lightweight titlist Adrien Broner this Saturday night on HBO, takes the latter viewpoint.
“Yes, absolutely, you learn more and no one likes to taste defeat but you experience and you learn off it,” he told Maxboxing late last week. “You learn off it and it becomes an experience. You manage to work with it, move on and work hard. Work harder and make sure you don’t taste defeat again. No one likes losing- I don’t- I want to be a winner and that’s how I want to go out there and go get that belt.”
After representing the United States in the 2004 Olympics, Escobedo turned pro in 2005. It’s 2012 now and back then, you just knew he would win a world title or three. He had a strong punch and had a telegenic style. He was also very promotable. However, it’s been a career that been a bit unfulfilled. He’s had a decent run but at age 30, it’s now or never. Escobedo, who’s already fought twice in 2012, feels like he’s in the best place spiritually and physically in his career. “Absolutely,” stated Escobedo, who’s had to overcome hand issues in 2011, “I’ve tasted it all. From being on the canvas, knocked down, from losing to injuries, you name it- I’ve been through it all. And I’ve overcome that so I feel at this point, I’m at the best state of mind, best physical shape and everything. I’m at my best; I think.”

Now, he’ll have to be to solve “The Problem,” the talented and flamboyant performer from Cincinnati, Ohio. Escobedo is a well-traveled veteran and he had no problems in facing Broner in his backyard at the U.S. Bank Arena.
“Fighters fight, no matter what. It doesn’t change anything, the venue. If we were to fight in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, it doesn’t change anything. Fights are fights; they happen and I’m a fighter. It doesn’t matter,” said Escobedo, who has a record of 26-3 with 15 stoppages. “[Broner] wants to fight in his hometown; that’s fine. I think more of the pressure is on him. Me, I have everything to gain and go over there and there’s just one thing on my mind- I want that title. I want that title; he wants to look good in front of his people. He’s flashy and that’s fine; I have nothing against that. But I’m going for one thing and that’s to take the title.”
As you talk to Escobedo, you hear a certain determination in his voice, like a fighter who simply won’t let the moment get to him. Simply, he’s been through too much. Broner might beat him- he is the betting favorite- but you get the sense he won’t be overwhelmed by the moment and Broner’s antics the way Eloy Perez was.
“I think [Perez] let Broner get to him; he let his emotions and everything, the talk, the hype. I think Eloy should’ve just let him say what he says and just ignore him,” says Escobedo who, by nature, is very soft-spoken. “I feel he fell into that little trap of Adrien Broner and whatever he says to me- trust me- he’s not going to take me off my game plan and I’m going in there for one thing and that’s to win and that’s the only thing on my mind. Adrien can say all he wants and he’s going to say all he wants in front of his people and that’s fine but I’m going to do my demonstration in the ring.”
Broner is a polarizing fighter; you either love or hate him. He always seems to be “on,” whether it’s in the ring or outside of it. Recently, he was the focus of HBO’s “2 Days” which followed him in the lead-up to his early knockout of Perez. When asked his thoughts on what he saw, Escobedo answered, “Not much; you got to know a little bit about Adrien. At first, to be honest with you, I thought it was all about show; it’s all about putting on an act but you come to realize that he is the way he is. He’s a guy with character; he said it, whether you like him or not, that’s his personality. And that’s fine; he’s a really loud guy. I have no problem with that; that’s him and I’m just more of a mellow guy. That’s what makes people different with personalities and that’s him.
“I think that’s fine; I have nothing bad to say about Adrien. I don’t hate the guy. I just want what he’s got; that’s the title.”
This is easier said than done. For all his antics, Broner is an impressive blend of speed, quickness and power. So how do you solve him?
“You gotta have timing, power and patience and those fundamentals,” said Escobedo. “And be well prepared and don’t give him openings and be smart; be smart in there. He’s fast but I’m fast too and timing can take that away and once you go in there with no respect and start hitting to the body and start telling him, ‘Hey, I’m here; I’m right here and I’m taking your punches and I’m giving these punches back to you,’ and [when] he’s realizing I’m doing some damage and you’re not scared of him, things will change. So I’ve seen his videos and there are moments where he’s changed in his style. When he has his confidence up, that’s when he’s on his A-game. But you take his confidence and things change.”
Regardless, Escobedo has a healthy respect for the guy he’s facing this weekend. He admits, Broner just might be the most talented guy he’s ever faced. “Yeah, I think so,” he admitted. “I definitely think so. He’s very skillful. He’s fast; he’s got a lot of skills. I definitely admit that and I think he is by far the best that I’ve faced. Maybe not the strongest but he’s definitely the best that I’ve faced. But on the flip side, Escobedo also firmly believes he’s the stiffest test Broner has ever had. “Oh, yeah, definitely. The only other guy he’s really faced is [Daniel] Ponce de Leon and to be honest with you, Ponce did a great, great job against him but he didn’t have the speed and the boxing ability the way I do. So it’s definitely going to be the best fighter he’s ever faced in his career. So we’ll find out July 21st.”
Escobedo has to be bold. He’s not only facing a talented young fighter groomed for stardom; he’s also doing it in his city. In boxing, the meek do not inherit anything. Glory goes to those who are bold and audacious. He has to be both on Saturday night. 
So how does he see this fight playing out?
“It’s hard to say; anything can happen. It’s just going to be one of those fights where it’s going to be a scrap. You go in there and you’re going in there and you’re going to see different adjustments, whether it’s fighting, boxing, adjustments. It’s hard to say. I think it’s really going to be an exciting fight; it’s going to be an action-packed fight,” promises Escobedo. “Everyone needs to tune in because it’s really going to be a tough, tough fight on both of us.

“So I’m just ready to get in the ring with Adrien Broner and face the best.”

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