Is Adrien Broner This Generation’s Hector Camacho?


By Sean Crose

So Adrien Broner is back this Saturday night on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard. He’s battling Carlos Molina, no slouch to be sure, but still someone most believe Broner will easily handle. What will happen, though, if Broner defeats Molina, as he is expected to? Will he then battle Danny Garcia? Lamont Peterson, perhaps? Will he try going back up to welterweight again? It’s hard to tell, really.

Broner and Molina
Photo: SHOWTIME/Esther Lin

The thing with Broner is that he thinks he’s a superstar – but he’s not. Sure, he’s popular and talented, but he’s not a superstar. To be a superstar you have to be the best. Think Mayweather. Think Pacquiao.
Think Klitschko (hey, the guy’s huge over in Europe). Unfortunately, Broner simply hasn’t achieved the level of professional excellence those men have.

And it’s debatable if he ever will.

Think about it. Broner had a hard time beating both Daniel Ponce De Leon and Paulie Malignaggi. Both were top notch fighters, true, but neither could ever be considered great. What’s more, Broner lost his last fight to Marcos Maidana. Despite what you may have been hearing lately, Maidana is not a great fighter, either.

So, what’s the boxing world left with as far as Broner is concerned? The answer is a showy, obnoxious, extremely talented B-plus fighter. In other words – Hector Camacho. With all due respect to the memory of the too-soon-departed Camacho, it was the combination of attitude, showmanship and above average skill which made him famous. Simply put, the man wasn’t one of the all time elite.

Not that he needed to be. When you think about it, Macho Camacho did quite well for himself throughout the course of his career. He gathered four title belts and beat other very good and very popular fighters like Rafael Ramon, Greg Haugen and Freddie Roach. He also polished off downslide versions of Ray Mancini and Ray Leonard.

Yet when it came to Julio Caesar Chavez, the man simply didn’t have it. Nor was his earlier victory over the rugged Edwin Rosario particularly convincing or impressive. Later fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad also proved futile. In short, the man never had a dominant victory over a major opponent.

Just like Broner hasn’t.

Yet we have to keep in mind that Broner is still young, meaning his complete story has yet to be told. Unless he makes serious stylistic improvements, however, unless he hits more and does a better job keeping from getting hit, Broner will never reach the level of performance he needs to in order to be truly great. And the fact that Broner apparently feels he’s already reached that level of excellence doesn’t bode well for the future.

Still, the man might be able to stay in demand as boxing’s clown prince if he takes a cue from the career of Camacho. Yet that would mean Broner would have to tone down the rhetoric a bit. Camacho could be a jerk, true, but, unlike Broner, he presented himself with a wink and smile (at least some of the time). In short, the guy was fun to watch.

Will Broner ever be fun to watch? He may have to be…if he wants to achieve Camacho levels of long term success. Things are brutal out there right now in Broner’s general weight range. And that presents The Problem with a problem. The competition is simply too good at the moment. Unless he ups his game exponentially, Broner will suffer the misfortune of being an B-plus fighter in an A-plus era.

All he’ll have to sell then is his personality. And even Camacho knew you had to be appealing, especially when you were being completely obnoxious.

Leave a Comment

More Columns