By Sean Crose
If the author F. Scott Fitzgerald was correct when he asserted that “action is character,” then it’s pretty clear that Adrien Broner may be of low character indeed. Whether he’s humping an opponent, choking someone at a weigh-in or just behaving in an insulting manner, Broner makes it clear that he’s not much interested in being a nice guy.
The question in fan’s minds, however, is whether or not the fighter who calls himself The Problem is much interested in improving as a boxer. Daniel Ponce De Leon proved the man was fallible long ago. Then Paulie Malignaggi proved the man wasn’t dominant. Then Marcos Maidana beat the man up and put a loss on the record.
Broner has had one fight since that defeat, against the game but outclassed Carlos Molina, but he didn’t look all that hot in his “comeback.” And now Broner is going to fight the talented, if less than energetic, Emmanuel Taylor in front of a home crowd in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday.
Most think it will be easy work for Broner. That may prove to be the case – but will it be impressive work? That’s the question people need to be asking. For The Problem has a long way to go to rebuild his reputation as a top pound for pound fighter. If, of course, he’s really interested in having any reputation besides that of a lout.
During Friday’s weigh in at Cincinnati’s Presidential Ballroom, Broner bounced up and down on the stage while announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced Taylor onto the scale (138.5 pounds). Broner himself certainly looked in top physical when he stepped up to get weighed (140 pounds even) moments later.
Fortunately, Broner behaved himself during the staredown. Words were said, of course – but words often are said when two energized, determined foes face off. “I was just letting him know,” Broner said afterward, “I’ll be ready.”
Showtime commentator Brian Custer brought up the fact that Broner claimed he wants to fight Lucas Matthysse after the Taylor fight is over. “I want to fight Lucas Matthysse anytime,” Broner asserted. “I’ll fight Lucas Matthysse on Sunday, because I ain’t getting touched by this guy (Taylor).”
Those were tough, confident words, the kind of words you expect to hear from a fighter who feels at top form. The problem with The Problem, however, is that he has a tendency to talk better than he fights. There’s also the little matter of Taylor on Saturday night.
It’s worth noting, after all, that Emmanuel Taylor is a fairly skilled fighter. His only discernible weakness is that he’s not active enough while he’s in the midst of combat. Sure, he lost to Chris Algieri this past year, but that was largely because Algieri outworked him. One might well wonder how the fight would have turned out had Taylor thrown his crisp jab out a lot more often.
One might also wonder if a surprisingly good matchup with Broner is possible on Saturday. If Taylor fights the fight he should have fought against Algieri, after all, things may turn interesting. The bout may not necessarily result in an upset, but it may end up proving to be a high quality affair. That, however, is something Broner doesn’t need right now.
What the man does need, in fact, is a powerhouse, dominant performance. Anything less will serve as a disappointment. And the last thing Broner should want is another disappointment. What Taylor needs, of course, is to surprise the world. It’s something the Maryland native feels he’s prepared to do.
“He (Broner) better be ready,” the underdog stated after the weigh in, “because I’m coming for him.”