Al Haymon Uses HBO to Showcase Adrien Broner in Unfair Contest

By Ivan G. Goldman

Adrien Broner left a slippery, double-dealing trail in his bout against Vicente Escobedo in Cincinnati Saturday night. It strayed into territory that was downright creepy during his post-fight clowning, leaving some of us to wonder whether he knows the difference between right and wrong.

Broner, 22, who stopped Escobedo in the fifth round of a lopsided contest, didn’t seem to understand that a man should do what he says he will do. He signed to defend his super featherweight WBO crown against Olympian Escobedo, guaranteeing to come in at 130 pounds or less. But he clearly had no intention of doing so. Worse, he failed to notify anyone of his plans, so he made his opponent, a lightweight, weaken himself, starving himself down to the weight while trying to prepare himself. Broner had no such problems.

“I grew out of the weight class,” he blithely explained. Yes, but if that was the case, a man of integrity would have revealed the problem long before the day of the weigh-in. By waiting, he chose to wring even more unfair advantage out of the situation. “’I came in on weight like a professional. And he didn’t,” said Escobedo, 26-4 (15), overcome by emotion afterward.

By buying himself out of trouble with an unspecified amount of cash paid to his opponent, Broner acted like a spoiled rich kid, the boxing game’s version of a sleazy banker who faces no real consequences for his swindles and can’t seem to understand why that offends anyone. Fortunately for Escobedo, who was in serious trouble at the end, his trainer Joel Diaz stepped up on the apron with a towel, forcing referee Gary Rosato to stop the massacre.

Had Escobedo won, he’d have gained the title. Broner lost it on the scale.

After beating down his valiant opponent, the smiling Broner mocked his girlfriend by going down on his knees to her in the ring in what looked like the start of a proposal. The punchline was his request for her to comb his hair. Cute.

During the contest, Broner again proved himself a formidable opponent, super-quick, powerful, and unpredictable, one of the best counterpunchers in the game today, improving his record to 24-0 (20). The hapless Escobedo had to content himself with a better payday than he expected as he took his beating from a bigger, stronger opponent who showed all the class of a playground bully.

You don’t need any secret formula to teach a gifted hotshot like Broner how to best harness his skills. Teaching him character will be a much tougher task.

In the other bout carried by HBO’s Boxing After Dark, Clearwater, Florida’s Keith Thurman proved himself a welterweight to watch when he stopped tough Orlando Lora in the sixth round, improving to 18-0 (17). Lora, 29-3 (19) was a last-minute replacement hauled up from Culiacan, Mexico.

HBO once again was used by Harvard MBA Al Haymon, boxing’s own Machiavelli, to showcase two of his fighters against two opponents who had about as much chance as two sparrows in a tornado.

Ivan G. Goldman’s latest novel Isaac: A Modern Fable came out in April 2012 from Permanent Press. Information HERE

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