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Commentary: Adrien Broner’s last stand

Photo by Stephanie Trapp / SHOWTIME
15
Feb

This is it.

This is Adrien Broner’s last stand.

As much as we’d like to push the narrative that losses in boxing shouldn’t carry so much weight, for fighters like Broner, they do. And if Broner is unable to impress against Adrian Granados this Saturday in front of his hometown fans in Cincinnati, this will be the end of the road for “The Problem” as a viable entity in the world of boxing.

You can’t live on potential forever and if Broner were to lose or have a dull outing, we can no longer wait for him to breakthrough. Instead, he will have hit the wall like so many other fighters who entered the sport with expectations that were probably too big for his broad shoulders to carry.

Photo / Naoki Fukuda

When Broner made his professional debut in 2008, his abrasive personality, skill and ability immediately thrust him into the upper echelons of young prospects with enormous potential. Some suggested he was like Floyd Mayweather Jr. with power. Obviously, the comparison was drenched in hyperbolic waters but it was evident that Broner was supposed to be boxing’s next big thing.

But then Marcos Maidana happened. And that was okay because Broner fought valiantly despite being in over his head with the Argentinean power puncher. His immaturity still shined through in the way he handled his loss. But we forgave Broner. His antics continued but his potential was something that we clung to in hopes that he would eventually get it together. Despite being a four-weight world titleholder, he had yet to really plant his flag among the greats thanks to a mixed bag of performances.

A second opportunity came against former welterweight beltholder Shawn Porter but, once again, Broner was unable to excel under the spotlight as Porter dominated much of the fight. It was yet another example of The Problem’s problematic career. In his third attempt at jumpstarting his career, Broner scored a pair of knockout victories against overmatched opposition. Meanwhile, his antics hadn’t yet let up and were inexcusable given his age. What Mayweather was able to get away with, Broner could not because he simply wasn’t impressing fight fans anymore.

Now he faces Granados in what should be a showcase fight for Broner and a third life in his relatively young career. His mixture of spotty performances and indigestible temperament have turned him from must-see television to maybe-we’ll-watch TV.

Photo / Tom Barnes-SHOWTIME

Granados isn’t really Broner’s opponent on Saturday night as much as Adrien Broner is facing himself in the squared circle. His weight issues have come full circle and he has no choice but to bump up to the 147-pound after this fight. And welterweight is where all of the sharks are circling to devour their prey. It’s sink or swim and there aren’t any more extra lives left in Broner’s career. Should he dispatch of Granados in spectacular fashion, he’ll extend his shelf life. A loss obliterates his future and a middling decision victory does almost the same amount of damage because Broner won’t be viewed as a potential threat or, much less, fun to watch.

Unfortunately, Broner did this to himself as his antics took precedent over his ability. And if his skills aren’t making us forget every crude video and run-in with the law, then what’s left? Honestly, there isn’t much outside of that. When he’s winning, flushing money down the toilet is almost forgivable because you figure he’ll make more than enough to replace it. But when he isn’t winning, you start to wonder when he’ll need that money. It goes from extraordinarily promising to potentially tragic in very little time.

Broner is still only 27 and should be entering his prime years as a boxer where the potential and ability finally converge. If that were to happen, everything prior to this could be forgiven. But a subpar performance will allow his biggest detractors to have a field day with his career. As for his fans, they’ll struggle with the idea that their hero wasn’t as good as advertised.

No, it doesn’t look like a crossroads fight on paper, but it is. He’s had two opportunities to lick his wounds, learn from his mistakes and come back stronger than before. He has it in him. But will he be able to focus on getting the job done inside of the ring and leave the nonsense to the rest of the world? It’s possible but only Adrien Broner knows if Adrien Broner will ever live up to the expectations placed on him so many years ago. Maybe he already has it figured out and he’ll blow us away with his performance. Otherwise, we’ll just have to file Broner in the “never-lived-up-to-his-potential” category with an extensive list of fighters who are nothing more than a trivia question on a random board game.

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  • Ten Count Toronto

    In enumerating Broner’s mistakes, Mr. Hale forgot to mention Broner pricing himself out of the Pacquaio fight. That was an outrageous act of delusional entitlement to pass up such an opportunity gifted to him despite the fact his last 5 bouts were total duds.

    Broner is lucky to still have any drawing power, and it’s more than fair that a lackluster performance on Saturday should strip that away. A loss or stinker of win does not have to be the end for him, but it should be the end of his status as any kind of “chooser” in this business, and instead relegate him to being just another guy who needs to string together impressive wins and EARN big fights & purses.

    • Chris Stans

      I’m pretty sure broner actually has a fair sized fan base

      • KillaBlu

        He’s fairly popular here in Cincinnati but he hasn’t really been impressive in his last few fight and was sent to jail a few times this past year so he is loosing a lot of fans fast, he REALLY needs to look good this Saturday.

      • Ten Count Toronto

        Sad but probably true…

    • ceylon mooney

      think henpriced himself
      out of pacquiao to duck. that was gonna be an ass beating.

      • D. Gambino

        But Broner would’ve had a huge pay day for his ass whooping. I feel that was a big mistake on his part as he could’ve capitalized on that loss.

        • ceylon mooney

          man he does stupid stuff.

  • Droeks Malan

    He needs to make 140, he doesn’t belong at welterweight, barely got past Paulie Malignaggi, last time he looked great was at lightweight against Gavin Rees.

    • Stephen M

      I have the feeling that all of these guys would be better if they fought more often.

  • Josh Boss

    Broner will beat Granados but I disagree with the idea that all Broners problems come from his attitude and dedication, and it’s Broner thats holding Broner back from being great. I just don’t think he’s good enough, plain and simple. His footwork has never improved and his punch output is poor. Now he has to fight at 147 his power is not as effective. He’s a sitting target who will just get out hustled again. A come forward fighter that fights at a tempo, like Spence would destroy Broner.

    • D. Gambino

      I disagree Josh. The problem with Broner is his mentality and dedication. He should be a 140 guy but he can’t stay disciplined enough to keep his weight under control. Broner has the athletic boxing skills to be a very good fighter BUT he lacks the ring intelligence and “adaptability” to be a great fighter.

      I have no doubt that ALL of the top fighters at 147 beat him.

      • Josh Boss

        My thoughts are that nobody questions a guys dedication when they are winning, but as soon as they lose, especially a big mouth like Broner, then it’s a ‘dedication issue’. I find it hard to believe that Broner didn’t put in the hours for the biggest fight of his career against Maidana. He will have. He was just not good enough to beat Maidana. He has big flaws in his game. Technical flaws. That’s how I see it anyway.

        • D. Gambino

          Most of the media was on his hype train when he was winning. I was one of the few questioning the dedication of Broner when he was winning. Broner seemed to be going through the motions. He was getting decisions against guys he should have stopped.

          I felt one of the best fights Broner had was his loss against Maidana. Broner could’ve packed it in when Maidana put him down but he didn’t – he kept coming. He showed signs of a good fighter in that fight (minus the “humping”). Broner did stun Maidana several times late in their fight but couldn’t capitalize on it due to his bad defense (definite technical flaw).

          All of this leads me to believe dedication and a “desire to be great” are Broner’s faults. For me, he’s a gatekeeper now. He would have to beat a top-5 fighter for me to even consider him “title fight worthy” at this point and that will not happen at 147.

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  • ceylon mooney

    put the malignaggi fight on that list too.

    he chokes/underperforms in a competitive matchup

    • D. Gambino

      Malignaggi’s problem is that he has no power. If Malignaggi had power – he would’ve had a much better career. The guy is a good boxer but without power he losses when he wins and wins when he losses. If that makes sense?

      • ceylon mooney

        yea that makes sense

  • himmler adams

    lowly scum Broner is just a poorly raised street thug from the gutter of cincinnati.

    • Jay

      In the make america great again era, people don’t even hide their racism. You were even brave enough to say these nice things in a comment section.

  • DRE

    Anyone else getting tired of “The Problem” already?

  • jebib

    Is Granados on a par with Porter and Maidana that this should be such a watershed event for Broner?

  • Floridastorm

    Geez. Writing the guy off who only has 2 losses in 35 fights. A 4 division world champion. Took Porter to the wire and knocked him down in round 12. Got up from two knock downs to give Maidana all he could handle in the later rounds. By the way, just defeated Granados who looked like an amateur at times against Broner. For Christ sake he’s only 27 years old. He will be a champion once again.

    Please give the guy a break. He has turned his life around and is nothing like the old vulgar Broner. I have seen him in interviews where he is very articulate. Obviously not your typical ghetto thug in any way.

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