May 24, 2018
May 24, 2018
Adrien Broner

Amanda Westcott/Showtime

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ACCORDING to Adrien Broner’s Instagram account, a beyond generous $6.75m three-fight offer from Eddie Hearn to star in his $1 billion DAZN project has been turned down.

Presuming the offer is a genuine one, the monstrosity above begs several questions.

Firstly, why turn that down? While still curiously marketable despite failing to win any defining contest he’s had in the last four years, it’s exceptionally unlikely that Broner will be offered that sum by any other promoter.

His comments about being a ‘slave’ to such a deal also highlights the shortcomings of his thinking power. To most, particularly to a boxer with such poor form, a three-fight deal would mean security. To Broner it means he’s being controlled. And for Broner to be Broner, the talented yet grossly overrated product of the social media age, he needs to be able to roam free. Yet he still seems unable to understand that such freedom to do as he pleases has always been his problem.

For Broner to still be a contender in three fights’ time, he would have to be matched very carefully indeed. Furthermore, the chances of him knuckling down to some serious training while drowning in dollar bills during those three fights is also a stretch. Of course, he wouldn’t have to do any serious training if the promise of multi-million dollar paydays were already laid out in front of him. The life of Riley, then, was his. Was.

Which brings us to the second question, why offer it him in the first place? Despite Broner’s Box Office appeal – he’s been doing solid numbers for Premier Boxing Champions – he’s hardly a world title threat anymore. He would not have been a signing to make Hearn’s promotional rivals in the US feel any concern. Manchester United unveiling Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the early days of Jose Mourinho’s tenure, it wouldn’t be.

However, Hearn’s offer is more justifiable than the refusal. It would have been a luxury signing. Someone to stick on the bench who will sell a few replica shirts and someone who could fit into several different positions on the park. Someone who could provide a lucrative and sellable showpiece for the likes of Amir Khan and Kell Brook, and any future signings weighing between 140 to 154lbs. We could have even had Broner-Ricky Burns at last.

The possibilities were, if not quite endless, plentiful enough for Hearn to feel like he was getting value-for-money. But perhaps that’s why Broner turned it down. Perhaps, showing foresight that has never before existed in his brain, Broner could see that he was going to be the foil for the more established members of Hearn’s army.

None of the above answers the third and fourth questions: Why make the refusal public and why use the middle finger emoji so liberally?

A better course of action, if you’re truly unable to recognise what a great offer it was, would have been to politely refuse and go about your business. Keep your mouth shut, be happy that someone still thinks you’re a worthwhile fighter, and go on your merry way. Or, better still, go back and say, “Hey, I like this offer, but perhaps we could increase it a bit?” Negotiate further, no? Instead, AB comes across like AB’s always come across. Spoilt, and just a little bit dim.

Hearn, undoubtedly one of the best promoters in the world, hasn’t come out of all this particularly well either. The loud declarations of having $1 billion to build an all-conquering squad may have made his negotiations with boxers harder than they needed to be.

And the obscene offer made to Broner highlighted plenty that is wrong with the world today. Hearn, however, has the intelligence to learn from any mistakes in a way that Broner never will.

The early days of his American venture will not define Hearn, nor will Broner’s daft refusal upset him. Even so, like so many who have got caught up in the madness of Adrien Broner over the years, he probably wishes he’d never bothered.