Adrien Broner has no one to blame but himself
When the final bell rang, Adrien Broner walked back to his corner, his body language deflated and his ego crushed. After all of his exhibitions of unmatchable confidence, Broner was naked to the world. His face could no longer conceal the shortcomings of his boxing game.
Broner must’ve known the scorecards he would hear in a matter of minutes would have Shawn Porter the victor and there was nothing more he could do to change that.
Before the tallies were announced, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who had been installed as Broner’s promoter by their shared adviser, Al Haymon, in an attempt to strengthen comparisons between the two, walked out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Porter, downgrading Broner’s record to 30-2 (22 knockouts).
Porter’s punches weren’t the last blows he’d feel that night. Kenny Porter, the father/trainer of Shawn Porter, shoved Broner and ordered him back to his corner, claiming afterward that Broner had challenged him to a fight in the ring.
Saturday’s defeat, unlike his first to Marcos Maidana in 2013, was not the kind of physical thrashing that would take years off of his career. And in some ways, that makes it worse. Broner was listless, throwing an average of 26 punches per round, according to CompuBox.
To put that in context, Manny Pacquiao is being targeted for class action lawsuits for his underwhelming performance against Mayweather after throwing an average of 35 punches per round in a 12-round points loss.
Broner seemed blissfully unaware of the urgency of the situation until a left hook produced a knockdown in round 12, which further underlined just how much he had been underachieving all night long.
Porter, who, himself was bouncing back from his lone career loss to Kell Brook last year, fought like a man desperate to continue fighting at the sport’s highest level. All Broner could do to slow down his activity was clinch repeatedly, which earned Broner a point deduction in round 11.
In the post-fight interview, Broner seemed indifferent to the loss and its implications on his career. “At the end of the day, everyone here will take my autograph and my picture,” he said in the ring.
What he seems unable to comprehend is that there are no silver medals in boxing and each loss will severely impact his future earning power, devaluing a fighter that boxing fans could love to hate for years to come.
He then skipped the press conference to party in Las Vegas instead, unwilling to confront reporters’ questions.
Broner has long marketed himself as a Mayweather clone, a cocky heel who could infuriate fans all the way to the box office. Now his futility has made him look more like a post-1990 Hector Camacho Sr., skirts and all.
The community of professional boxers, which is usually quick to defend a fellow fighter against criticism from non-fighters, took their own shots on social media. Among them was former WBC light heavyweight titleholder Montell Griffin, who posted the status “Absolute Bulls**t” to his Facebook timeline, a clear dig at Broner’s “About Billions” tagline.
Mayweather’s own father, Floyd Sr. told BoxingScene.com that Broner “looked like a bum,” adding “with all that stuff he doesÔÇªthe womenÔÇªthe drinkingÔÇªall that stuff. He’s not going to do nothing.”
At 25, it’s early to write Broner off just yet but history shows that fighters who don’t learn their lessons the first time around rarely learn them at all.
He has a solid resume behind him that includes title belts in three divisions. He’ll be a “name” for as long as he wants to fight but when you’re no longer diversifying your skills, the opposition finds it easier and easier to catch up.
What makes Broner’s downward spiral even sadder is the great potential this young man possesses. Fast hands, impressive power at the lower weights and expert punch placement. For a time, it appeared that Broner was succeeding in spite of himself. Now it appears to all be catching up to him.
This has manifested itself outside the ring as well, with arrests for driving under the influence in January (during which he claimed to have made $100 million in his career, despite never having headlined a pay-per-view), lewd videos of himself simulating sex acts in strip clubs, racially insensitive remarks during post-fight press conferences that even drew sanctions from the World Boxing Council, among the most egregious enablers in the sport.
After the Maidana loss, Broner said, “Maidana didn’t beat me, I beat myself.” Unfortunately for him, Broner continues to be his own toughest opponent and one he may never overcome.
So now Broner can go head out and party all night. He can spend his time touring with rappers and drink all the liquor he wants.
If suffering another loss doesn’t bother him, then it’s already over.
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.