The Case Against Adrien Broner

The Case Against Adrien Broner

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Published: August 07, 2017


Adrien Broner lost a wide unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia when they met at 140-pounds on July 29th.  Photo: Stephanie Trapp/ @trappfotos

Adrien Broner lost a wide unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia when they met at 140-pounds on July 29th.  Photo: Stephanie Trapp/ @trappfotos

In the immediate aftermath of his loss to Mikey Garcia, Adrien Broner was quick to point out that he “is still a 4 division champion.”  Some boxing pundits have even gone so far as to say that because Broner is only 1 of 16 fighters to have ever achieved such an elite status, he is a worthy candidate for the Hall of Fame once he retires.  While Broner may have the hardware to stake his claim to greatness, in this modern era of four major sanctioning bodies and all of their super champions, and world champions, and diamond jubilee gold platinum double champions, there are a lot of opportunities to hold a belt.  Thus, much like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds who have asterisks after their names in the record books because they achieved their infamy on questionable grounds, Broner too should have an asterisk after his name.  

Broner beat the unheralded Vicente Martin Rodriguez for the vacant WBO World super featherweight title to win his first championship. By all appearance, the title was a gift from the WBO to Broner.  At the time, Rodriguez had compiled a 35-2-1 record against opposition with the less than stellar combined record of 355-283-57.  37 of Rodriguez’s 38 fights were in his native Argentina, and 1 in Australia, showing the level of competition he was used to facing.  After Broner easily won the belt by a 3rd round KO, he fought two more times at 130 pounds against less than formable opponents, failing to make weight in the second fight, causing him to move up in weight.  

His first foray into the lightweight division was to take on then WBC World lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco.  To give Broner credit where credit is due, he dominated DeMarco, on the way to earning an 8th round TKO against the man many considered the best lightweight at the time.  Unfortunately, one fight does not make a fighter.  Broner defended the lightweight belt only once, facing Gavin Rees, then ranked 6th in the world, and earned a 5th round TKO. 

Instead of cleaning out the lightweight division and cementing his reputation as a hard-hitter, if not his legacy, Broner again jumped up in weight, this time to face the soft hitting WBA World welterweight titlist, Paulie Malignaggi.  Despite being the WBA champion, Malignaggi was only ranked as the 6th best welterweight by Ring Magazine, opposed to Broner’s #5 pound for pound fighter status.  Still, Broner could not put Malignaggi away.  The fight went the distance and Broner won a somewhat controversial split decision due to 1 lopsided scorecard.  In Broner’s first welterweight title defense, he faced the hard hitting Marcos Maidana who out worked him, knocked him down twice, embarrassed him by simulating a sex act in the ring, and gave Broner his first defeat while taking away the WBA belt.

Broner rebounded from the Maidana loss by taking on quality opponents in Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor, and John Molina, Jr., winning and defending another vacant “junior varsity” belt along the way.  Thus, Broner can lay claim to a respectable resume.  He was thoroughly outclassed, however, win his next fight when he faced Shawn Porter, losing a wide unanimous decision.  The loss caused many people to begin questioning Broner as a pound for pound star.  

Despite the loss, Broner was gifted the opportunity to win yet another vacant title by facing Khabib Allakhverdiev for the WBA Super Lightweight belt.  Allakhverdiev was himself coming off a loss to Jessie Vargas for the very same title a year and a half earlier.  (Vargas had vacated and moved up in weight.)  The mysteries of matchmaking being what they are, two fighters coming off losses were now vying for a major world title.  No one expected the inactive and overmatched Allakhverdiev to give Broner a problem, and he did not as Broner earned his 4th major title by a 12th round TKO.  Broner celebrated his victory by promptly calling out Ashley Theophane, an unranked 35-year-old in a symbolic gesture of the type of champion he should be remembered as.

There is a saying in boxing: to become a champion you must beat a champion.  To be blunt, Adrien Broner simply did not beat four champions to become a 4-division champion.  On paper, yes, Broner is a 4-division champion.   However, two of his four major belts were vacant at the time his arm was raised in victory.  Kudos to Broner, however, for manipulating the system so he could earn at least $1M per fight in his last eight outings, earning him more money in 5 years then most earn in a lifetime.   He successfully maximized his earnings in prize fighting.  For that alone, he should be commended.  But if Broner wants us to remember him as a 4-division champion, then we must remember that those championships are not worth the paper on which they were handed to him.  And there will forever be an asterisk next to Adrien Broner’s name in the record books.   
 


(Feature Photo: Stephanie Trapp/ @trappfotos)

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