By: Sergio L. Martinez
Adrien “The Problem” Broner is a difficult guy to root for if you’re not a younger generation fan; older boxing fans tend to appreciate substance over style and dignity over flash. This is not to say that Broner doesn’t possess dignity and/or substance, but his behavior can be downright annoying and really does piss some people off. The youth refer to these fans as “haters,” but “old-school” is more appropriate.
The thing is, Broner is the quintessential, modern-day, ugly American youth: brash, cocky, self-absorbed but incredibly talented. He possesses a huge entourage, including his father, who seems to have no problem with his son’s behavior and actually indulges the young Broner’s antics by being the official hair comber. Looking like a lackey at Adrien’s disposal, the man does it with a smile and pride, although it looks as ridiculous as it sounds. The hope is that this is truly just an act to get his son noticed and to continue up the financial mountain.
Broner is a true talent that has come into his own recently and is as exciting as any boxer in recent memory. His hand speed, power, athleticism, boxing ability and a controlled aggression style make him a must-see with a ton of potential to become a real crossover star. Golden Boy Promotions and Home Box Office have embraced the young dynamo, putting a lot of dollars behind him which have led to an exponential growth in popularity. This is part of the problem, as having “The Problem” possibly become the face of boxing isn’t necessarily a good thing, considering his recent remarks, tweets and overall unprofessional behavior.
The guy actually tweeted a picture of himself taking a dump and eating Twinkies: he then failed to make weight for his fight against Vicente Escobedo. He further outdid himself by embarrassing a young lady on the air when he appeared to be on the verge of proposing to her only to make a joke of the young woman by asking her to comb his hair. The girlfriend stood there with an embarrassed smile as she was laughed at by Broner’s entourage (including ironically, Papa Broner). Broner made her a fool in the presence of thousands while millions watched on television, which is not the type of behavior one likes to see from the possible future ambassador of the sweet science. There are enough problems landing major sponsorship dollars outside of the regulars, so adding the “The Problem” to the mix does not appear to be a solution.
Despite his behavior, Broner will continue to rise and his fan base will continue to grow. He will probably look spectacular in his next fight and will continue his post-fight shenanigans. HBO and Golden Boy will continue working the marketing machine to ensure that Broner lives up to his profit potential and succeed Floyd “Money” Mayweather as the biggest draw in boxing. He is young enough and talented enough to accomplish this and remain at the top for many years.
Love him or hate him, Adrien “The Problem” Broner is going to be boxing’s problem for the foreseeable future. The hope is that as he ages, he matures and humbles, because he truly does possess the kind of talent and fighting style that could benefit boxing.