How Adrien Broner Can Live Up To The Hype
There’s a question that’s been making the rounds of fight fans for quite some time now. It’s a legitimate question, too, one which hangs over today’s boxing world like a dark, uncertain cloud.
Is Adrien Broner really all that great?
The answer is no. At least not yet. Some may hope Broner’s upcoming bout against Marcos Maidana will put to rest all doubts, but even an impressive victory won’t do enough to assure the public that Broner is as good as he says he is.
Make no mistake about it, Broner’s 27-0 record is quite impressive. So are the man’s 22 knockouts. Yet there’s something about Broner that seems, well…lacking. Take his last bout against Paulie Malignaggi. It was a hard-earned, grueling victory against a tough, seasoned, and determined opponent. Still, the match was uncomfortably close. Would any of the current greats Broner sees as his peers have had such a tough time of it?
I know, I know, it’s easy to hate on Broner. In fact, it’s hard to think of another legitimate up-and-comer whose been on the receiving end of as much cynicism over the years. Sportscasters from HBO to ESPN to SKY SPORTS have all openly spoken of the young man from Cincinnati with skepticism. That’s understandable, but it’s also kind of a shame.
The truth is, Broner is worthy of real respect. He’s good. Very good. He just needs to show a bit more fire before he’s rightfully placed anywhere near the top of boxing’s pound for pound heap. Look at Floyd Mayweather. The man can be accused of cherry picking his opponents, but he goes right through those opponents.
Broner, on the other hand, isn’t guaranteed to dominate in his bouts. Truth be told, I myself felt he lost his battle with Daniel Ponce de Leon. What’s more, I also felt Fernando Quintero, who fought on just four days notice, probably battled Broner to a draw. I saw William Kickett have his moments against Broner, too.
For a boxer to be truly great, there has to be real consistency, and at the moment Broner just isn’t all that consistent. He won some rounds against Ponce de Leon, and then he lost some. Same goes for his bout against Malignaggi. Ho-hum. Greatness doesn’t lie in doing just enough all the time. It lies in domination. While Broner doesn’t need an endless string of knockouts, he does need a good string of terrific performances against solid competition if people are to embrace him as an elite.
Unfortunately, Maidana may not present Broner with the kind of challenge he could use at this point in his career. The Argentinian knockout artist hits like a sledgehammer, but he doesn’t move forward in a fast and furious fashion the way Ponce De Leon and Malignaggi did. Still, if Maidana somehow pierces Broner’s noted defense when they meet in two weeks, the man who calls himself “The Problem” may end up having big problems of his own.
And that might not be such a bad thing. The frustrating thing about Broner is that his talent is bright enough to be made of neon. Yet he rarely employs it with the laser-like focus needed to achieve greatness. Perhaps if he were put into a position where showmanship and confidence couldn’t carry the day, Broner might actually start living up to his enormous potential. And then the rest of us could agree with him the next time he spoke of his own excellence.
As it stands, though, we’re all just going to have to wait and see if Broner eventually lives up to all the hype.