Adrien Broner Must One-Up Burns-Vazquez Lightweight Unification to Remain No. 1

Justin Tate@justindavidtateCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2013

Adrien Broner
Adrien BronerEthan Miller/Getty Images

Adrien Broner's coup d'etat of the lightweight division last year was astounding, as he pounded division No. 1 Antonio DeMarco toward a stoppage finish in Round 8. Now that achievement is set to be blown out of the water.

WBO lightweight champ Ricky Burns and IBF lightweight champ Miguel Vazquez will unify titles on March, according to a report from Sky Sports.

Broner has tried to get Burns in the ring for a Feb. 16 clash, but Burns' team and Broner's couldn't reach an agreement. One would suspect Burns to be ducking, but this fight shows that is not the case.

On the undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez IV, Vazquez took previously undefeated hard-hitting Filipino fighter Mercito Gesta to school, out-boxing the kid for a dominant decision victory.

Facing an evasive fighter like Vazquez is no walk in the park and proves Burns definitely wasn't ducking Broner. In fact, a move like this raises Burns' value should he win and come back to the negotiation table.

Broner will need to up the ante and secure a big fight for his expected May 4 appearance on the televised undercard of Mayweather-Guerrero. His Feb. 16 opponent, Gavin Rees, is clearly just a stay-busy fight.

The overmatched Rees will bring the fight but not the momentum necessary to overshadow Burns. In steps the winner of the March 2 WBA title clash between Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere.

Bogere is a fast, flashy prospect ready to rise to contender status. Abril is an underrated fighter who has a claim as being the man who was robbed by the scorecards last year against Brandon Rios.

Though it'll only leave Broner's opponent two months to prepare for the May 4 clash, it's on a Floyd Mayweather undercard. That's an opportunity a lot of fighters want.

With a little money thrown their way, the winner of Abril-Bogere could certainly be on the opposite side of the ring from Broner come fight night.

If all goes well, Broner and the winner of Burns-Vazquez will have two championships a piece and can renegotiate what would surely be one of the biggest clashes of the year.

It's good to see fighters trying to one-up each other. Competition makes fighters rise to their optimum levels, and I have a feeling that this series of title unifications could bring out the best in all involved.