Call him AB, About Billions, The Can Man…the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather’s throne…well not anymore. Broner was heralded to accomplish great things as he had prodigious skills and punching power in his rise through the lower weight classes. He also had an “it” factor to him, he was entertaining to watch inside and outside the ring.
He adopted the “heel” persona that worked so well for Floyd Mayweather Jr. He was more than happy to stir controversy by being the bad guy. That mixed with his prodigious skills meant he was being groomed for big things and guess what…he could back it up.
Broner tore through the lower weight classes by defeating Daniel Ponce De Leon, Antonio De Marco, and Gavin Rees. Then he did something only a few fighters have attempted to do, win a belt two weight classes above his current weight class. Broner was the current Lightweight champion and he made the jump to Welterweight. This is where his career truly took off.
He challenged for Paulie Maligniaggi’s WBA World Welterweight title and the two not only made for an exciting fight in the fing but one of the most entertaining build ups boxing has seen in a while. Paulie made for a good dance partner in and out of the ring. The storyline heading into the bout was that Broner was comforting one of Maligniaggi’s ex-girlfriends which drew the ire of Maligniaggi. It was entertaining TV from the beginning to the end of the promotional tour.
The fight was close with Broner winning via split decision by a slim margin on the cards. Broner continued to dig in with some insults, by saying “I beat Paulie, I left with his belt and his girl.” From that moment on Broner gained notoriety as a brazen and unfiltered personality with star power and the skills to match.
His next challenge would truly prove if he was a flash in the pan or the real deal as he took on Marcos “El Chino” Maidana. Broner bought the same bombast to the promotional tour and ring, however “El Chino” was a ruthless opponent with a stone cold demeanor that would test him like no other.
Broner arriving to his fight against Maidana (c) Showtime 2013
Would this bout be his career defining moment or would he be exposed. He illustrated his defiance to convention by appearing to hump Maidana in the 1st round which lit a fire under “El Chino”.
Maidana would land a vicious right hand in the second round that would knock down Broner for the first time in his career. An onslaught ensued where Maidana continued an unrelenting assault. Broner should flashes of brilliance landing some counter-punches on Maidana, but in the 7th round lightning struck twice when Maidana knocked down Broner again.
Maidana ultimately won the bout as Adrien “The Problem” Broner was solved. After all the trashtalk and all the bravado Broner was defeated suffering the first loss in his career. He vowed to have a different attitude and said the loss was a good thing for his career. He bounced back with three consecutive victories over Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor, and John Molina Jr.
Broner would earn a chance at redemption against Shawn “Showtime” Porter. Throughout the fight Broner had no answer to Porter’s aggression. Porter and Maidana fought a very similar pressure style of fighting, to whit Broner struggled with all fight. He would try and hold, clinch, and resort to underhanded tactics to keep Porter off him. Most notable was Broner shoving the palm of his glove into Porter’s face.
Broner seemed to step on the gas in the 12th round and landed a flush left hook that knocked down Porter. Broner lost via unanimous decision despite his late round flurry. Similar doubts once again resurfaced about Broner’s potential to be a blue chip top fighter. It seemed like every time he needed to step up he could not rise to the occasion.
Broner would rebound by defeating Khabib Allakhverdiev, Ashley Theophane, and Adrian Granados. Broner would yet again be faced with an elite fighter in the unbeaten Mikey Garcia. Would he be able to step up his game and be brilliant when he most needed to be?
From the beginning of the bout Garcia dominated the pace with Broner saying “you can’t hit me”, the replays showed otherwise. Garcia landed solid punches to the body while pot-shotting effective shots upstairs. There were stretches throughout the middle rounds where Broner was incredibly inactive. Broner looked dumbfounded unable to adapt to the masterful Garcia.
Broner like in his fight with Porter flipped the switch in the final rounds and landed some strong punches on Garcia. The punches affected Garcia, as his nose started bleeding almost immediately.
Broner would again lose to an elite fighter as Garcia defeated him via unanimous decision. Once again Broner could not perform when the lights were at their brightest. Broner has all the talent in the world, but what he lacks is heart.
Broner is like the kid who is naturally intelligent, but fails to prepare for the big test. They may do well due to their natural intelligence, but they didn’t do as well as they could. The biggest problem is not that they didn’t do well, but they are allowed to make excuses. I’m smart, this test doesn’t define me….I am skilled and talented this fight doesn’t define me.
At this level it takes heart. There are many talented fighters out there. You can’t cram for the test. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Natural talent can only take you so far, every time Broner has faced an elite fighter he’s lost.
Broner is rumored to fight Omar Figueroa in Spring. Figueroa is another blue chip fighter who recently sent Robert Guerrero into retirement. If Broner wants to erase his past he will have to dominate Figueroa and be brilliant. Figueroa isn’t going to make it easy, and therin lies the key to redemption, can Broner dig deep and be as great as he can be under pressure. If not he may be doomed to be the fighter with all the talent in the world, but no heart to fight at his best when needed to the most…not just when it’s easy.