The meteoric rise of Adrien Broner (27-0, 22KO’s) continues at an unprecedented rate of knots as he continues to confound his critics by winning a 3rd World Title, in a third different weight class, at the tender age of 23.
The Cincinnati native added the WBA welterweight strap to his impressive and growing haul of titles, which also boast the WBO super featherweight and WBC lightweight championships. For his latest title, he jumped up two divisions to challenge for Paulie Malignaggi’s title in the New Yorkers backyard, the Barclays Center, Brooklyn. His audacity was awarded with a split decision victory.
On the face of it, such a bold move should surely shut up his critic’s, right? Well not exactly, as his dubious decision win over the 32 year old Malignaggi actually raises more questions than answers about Broner and, in a perverse sense, gives the ‘haters’ more ammunition with which to try and shoot him down.
Because the ‘Problems’ intrepid decision to take on a world champion-who campaigns two divisions north of his natural weight class- in his home town, was in stark contrast to his insipid performance on fight night.
It beggars belief that Broner was able to emerge with his hands held aloft in victory last Saturday night, when he large parts of the fight as if he was engaged in a peaceful protest as opposed to contesting a prize fight, whilst Malignaggi, the Champion, was full of industry and activity, if not punching power, for the full 12 rounds. The sub plot to this hugely frustrating narrative was that Broner could have definitely knocked out Malignaggi if he had applied any sort of the sustained pressure, as every shot he landed was discernible from the way Malignaggi’s head rocked back violently.
But instead of using his single power shots as the catalyst for an offensive onslaught, which would have overwhelmed Malignaggi, he let him off the hook, on several occasions, by failing to follow up with any more applied and persistent punishment. And although the rare glimpses of activity from Broner demonstrated the huge disparity in the power, speed and accuracy of his punches in comparison to Malignaggi’s pitter-patter shots, such manifestations of his superiority were far too sporadic for it to warrant him snatching Malignaggi’s title.
Incidentally, Broner’s idol, Floyd Mayweather Jr, was at ringside for the bout, and expressed his disappointment with his supposed heir apparents uninspiring performance to esnewsporting, stating “There’s a lot of things he [Broner] still needs to learn. I thought he should have got the knockout. He was flat-footed. With my career, they try to compare the two, and I love the kid, but you got to look at my career. I had already fought a guy that was crafty at 21 in Genaro Hernandez.”
Adrien Broner’s arrogance and outspoken views means he divides opinion in a similar fashion to his idol, but he cannot fight like him. Not yet anyway. Yet, he seems seduced by the notion of trying to mimic the great Mayweather Jnr’s inimitable style as opposed to perfecting his own.
But he obviously fails to realise that Mayweather is only able to maintain his unbeaten streak with such an economical punch output because he is such an accurate combination puncher, and is one of the greatest ever defensive fighters to grace the game. Whereas Broner, despite possessing many world class attributes, has a far more porous defence, barely ever throws more than one shot at a time, and is a much more stationary target than the elusive Money Mayweather.
Now let’s face it, despite his enduring genius, many of Floyd Mayweather’s fights have often being terse, cagey and downright boring affairs due to his skill level far exceeding that of all his opponents. And apart from the boxing purists, who watch him to marvel at his mastery, the rest of the fight fans continue to watch his fights on P-P-V solely because they want to see him lose.
Desire to see Broner grimace at the taste of his first bitter pill of defeat, I suspect, is also one of the major motives behind the boxing public’s decision to tune into Broner’s fights in such large numbers, and make him the most watched fighter on the Showtime in 2013 thus far.
And if the rumours that Lucas Mattyhsse is being lined up as his next opponent are realised then those desires may soon be satisfied.
Because, the ‘Problem’ would be badly punished if he allowed the likes of Matthysse- a thunderous puncher- to capitalise on the same sort of opportunities he presented to the crafty and classy, but feather fisted and powerless, Paulie Malignaggi.
And, without the protection of that undefeated record, the ‘Problem’ will be up to his eyes in his own troubles as he will not be such a P-P-V hero if he loses that zero, especially if he turns in the sort of vapid performance he did last Saturday against Paulie Malignaggi in future prize fights.