Boxing’s Problem with “The Problem” Adrien Broner
By James Harrison
Adrien “The Problem” Broner’s entertaining style and recent K.O. victories have put him at the top of boxing’s radar. He is quickly being compared to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., given some glaring similarities, but do his accomplishments merit these comparisons?
Broner recently captured the WBC lightweight title by “moving up” to a different division, but according to boxrec.com he’d already won against guys at the 140 lb. mark in 2009. He even weighed in at 140 during this time.
As he sought notoriety in his 2010 campaign, he tapered down to be eligible to snatch up a few more titles. From 2010 to late 2011, Broner managed to capture two super featherweight titles (WBC and WBO), the WBO featherweight title, and the WBC United States lightweight title. But what does that mean?
It’s fair to say that given his speed, power, and confidence from winning against 140 lb. opposition, he’d be in a great position to dominate guys further inside the cusp of the weight limit.
Shortly after gaining more attention, it became evident that he was a shark in the baby pool. He failed to make weight as he easily knocked out Vincente Escebedo in July.
Broner then punished Antonio DeMarco winning the WBC lightweight title this November. His 8th round K.O. should’ve embarrassed DeMarco and camp for not having a plan A, much less a plan B. How is it possible that the taller, longer, fighter is not reverting to work behind a jab once he realizes he’s getting beaten by the quicker, heavier (Broner weighed 140 unofficially on fight night), fighter on the inside? It was a win filled with action against an opponent who showed no strategy.
Besides the fact that Broner was unfazed by DeMarco’s shots when delivering his own, I didn’t find out anything more than I would have watching him hit a heavy-bag because of DeMarco’s lack of movement.
I take nothing away from Broner’s (25-0) record, but I’m not surprised when the guy that has the edge in hand-speed, defense, smarts, and size wins.
To put what he’s done in perspective let’s compare what he’s done to what our contemporary greats had accomplished by their 25th fight. Floyd Mayweather Jr. had punished the hard-hitting, and undefeated at the time (33-0) Diego Corrales. Roy Jones Jr. had beaten future Hall-of-Famer, Bernard Hopkins. And Oscar De La Hoya had wins over “Sweet Pea” Pernell Whitaker, and the great Julio Caesar Chavez. Adrien Broner has not defeated opponents of this caliber.
You wouldn’t know that from the way that Broner talks. In a recent interview with Ring Magazine, Broner shared with the world his willingness to square off with Manny Pacquiao. While I’m not eager to see the 23 year-old take on such a monumental challenge that could be dangerous for his young career; I would like to see him against tougher opposition. I would even settle for an opponent like Timothy Bradley.
Bradley proved he was strong enough to take 12 rounds of Pacquiao’s punishment. Broner/ Bradley are both comfortable fighting around 140 lbs. and Bradley poses little knockout danger given his 12 K.O.’s in 30 fights.
I asked ESPN boxing analyst Michael Woods via twitter who he favored and he firmly stated “Broner.” The statement solidifies that the task of fighting Bradley is more than reasonable for Broner.
The timing is also perfect since the other names around 140 lbs. (Zab Judah, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, and Juan Manuel Marquez) have fights coming up. Timothy Bradley wanted to fight this December which shows he’s healed from the foot injuries. And Broner and Bradley have enough notoriety for a decent main event.
Broner needs to make a little more progress before fighting Pacquiao. His trash-talk makes me feel he’s obligated for a bigger challenge. If he can K.O. Bradley (whom Pacquiao couldn’t) in the way he’s beaten his latest opposition I’ll be more convinced. Perhaps if we tweet #BronervsBradley enough Broner will suggest it. Because what is for sure is that engaging and entertaining the fans is not the problem for Adrien Broner.
Follow the author on twitter at @Rob_Van_Ham