A “Problem” like Adrien Broner – A Career Retrospective Thus Far

When Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) burst onto the scene, many crowned him the heir to Floyd Mayweather’s crown. The first time I witnessed him fight against Gavin Rees (38-4-1, 19 KOs) he was already a two-weight world champion and he looked set for stardom. His performance exuberated showmanship, speed and strength. Broner was strong and fast at Super-Featherweight and Lightweight. He had the same shoulder-roll defence of Floyd Mayweather, was naturally the bigger man and he was brash but he could back it up. It was unquestionable that he had the ‘IT’ factor. This article divulges on his fall from grace and how his last fight against Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) shaped his future.

After his fight with Rees, many things happened which altered my opinion of Broner. Significantly, in his next fight, the man nicknamed “The Problem” ironically and unquestionably had a problem. In jumping up two weight divisions, Broner fought and defeated Paulie Malignaggi (36-8, 7 KOs) by split decision in a personal grudge match. Additionally, in the process he claimed the WBA welterweight title but something just didn’t seem right. In this performance, Broner was meant to wipe out Malignaggi but it was competitive. Maybe the jump in weight, underestimating Malignaggi and the stronger spotlight hampered his performance. On paper, a fighter jumping up two weight divisions normally deserves credit, but here, it appeared Broner had the physique of a natural welterweight. Ultimately, Broner had been distracted and in the process of his steep rise, he had lost some desire and perhaps subsequently his will to cut weight. This was particularly evident in the build up to the fight, where Broner was caught bragging about how much money he had and was seen flushing it down the toilet. His over the top entrance, complete with rapper and showcasing his gold grill, emphasised his desire to put on a show. But, those things don’t win fights and it could be argued that the opinion of being the heir apparent had already got to his head. This has continued but is simply seen now as a product of his boxing identity.

Adrien Broner vs. Antonio DeMarco

Adrien Broner vs. Antonio DeMarco, Atlantic City, New Jersey on November 2012 by Bryan Horowitz

The next few fights for Broner showed flashes of brilliance in his precision and punching power but also obvious flaws that seemed correctable. Ultimately these flaws show he was being outworked, had a low output of punches and was starting slow in the majority of these fights. In his fight with Marcos Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) he was simply outworked and appeared shocked by Maidana’s pressure tactics in losing a points decision. Perhaps Maidana was the better fighter but many expected more from Broner considering the huge hype he had generated. It was also unexpected at this time of his fame that he would try his hand at rapping. Clearly he was still distracted and his private life was taking its toll on his focus. Significantly even against a less skilled fighter in Emmanuel Taylor (20-5, 14 KOs), he also started very slow but was able to rally later on, knocking Taylor down in the final round.

It would be stated that Broner’s biggest fight of his career and perhaps his first chance at redemption was against Shawn Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs). However, yet again he was outworked and defeated. Moreover, he was found guilty of clinching excessively to the point, he was deducted a point in the 11th round. Whether or not, these slow starts and lack of punch output are due to poor conditioning, his counter-punching style or lack of desire is unknown. But for this writer, it is just so frustrating considering the immense talent that Broner has. It may seem like I am being unfair on him but I just find it so disappointing when naturally talented athletes lose their way. Additionally, much like Mike Tyson, its looking like Broner’s private life is overshadowing his focus and training.

Broner was then matched up favourably against Khabib Allahkverdiev (19-2, 9 KOs) and as expected, stopped the Russian fighter to claim his fourth world title. This followed a victory against another lesser opponent in Ashley Theophane (40-7-1, 11 KOs) who he stopped. But it should be noted this ill discipline was on show again at not being able to make weight and he was stripped of his title before even entering the ring.

Despite these improvements and victories, it was disappointing to see how he had not matured as a person, where in October 2016, he was charged with a misdemeanor battery for allegedly choking a waitress.

His fight against Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs) many considered controversial, with the argument being made he again appeared to be outworked. Although citing being sick during training, it could be argued due to his track record, his ill-discipline had got the best out of him again, as the fight was moved up from being a catch weight at 142lbs to 147lbs.

Subsequently, his private life overshadowed his boxing career, where in April 2017 he was arrested for driving an SUV, which had bullet holes, claiming he had been shot at.

Adrien Broner November 17, 2012 by Bryan Horowitz

At this point of his career, despite the controversies and his recent below-par performances, Broner is still a big name fighter who is judged at not being able to win the big fights in his later career. This was particularly true against Mikey Garcia in a career defining match up. Garcia was in many ways Broner’s last chance at redemption and perhaps a final chance to prove he is the heir to Mayweather. Broner was the betting underdog and many critics/boxers already wrote him off which had to be a combination of Garcia being a supreme talent but also due to Broner’s recent performances. Prior to the fight, on paper, Broner was a four-weight world champion and the younger man at 27 who arguably fought the tougher competition. However, it was Mikey Garcia the undefeated three-weight world champion who dominated Broner by a points decision. Adrien looked a shadow of himself and had a noticeably low output in the fight, being constantly backed up on the ropes and caught on the back-foot. Ultimately, Garcia was Broner’s answer for this fight. Now, he has to seriously focus and decide on where he sits as a contender.

The latest in a long line of misdemeanours, was on the 10th of September 2017, where he was found shoving a female companion before knocking out a man in the street. It is to be guessed that he will likely be charged for this and may be put out indefinitely.

I hope that Broner can come back but realistically with his performance in his most recent defeat combined with this assault, I think this should be it for a once promising career. However, boxing is unpredictable and still at a young age, there is time for a comeback. It just seems like Broner can’t seem to defeat the ultimate “problem” which sadly is himself.