Ricky Burns may have had the style to beat him
IS Adrien Broner going to be boxing's next big superstar or is he just a copy cat of Floyd Mayweather Jnr? Broner is boastful and makes some stupid decisions but there is one thing he does have and that's talent. He really can fight.
Broner made his pro debut on May 31 2008 in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio and has gone 26-0 with 22 ko's since, winning two world titles in two weight divisions. He began to stand out and get noticed in the boxing world when he defeated current WBC featherweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon in March 2011. It was a big step up for the young Broner but he passed the test. It was a very close fight which could have been declared a draw but I think Broner just edged it.
The first belt Broner won was the WBO super-featherweight title when he beat Vincente Martin Rodriguez of Argentina for the vacant belt in November 2011. Prior to his second defence against Vincente Escobedo, Broner unprofessionaly weighed in 3.5 lbs over the 130lbs weight limit and lost his belt on the scales. The fight hung in the balance and Broner was fined a lot of money. The fight eventually went ahead as planned and Broner won by TKO in the 5th round.
He stepped up in weight for his next fight on November 12 and got a crack at WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco winning by stoppage in the 8th. This fight, in my opinion, showed that Broner can be a big star.
There was talk of him and Ricky Burns of Scotland getting into the ring but that didn't happen. Burns held the WBO super-featherweight belt but moved up in weight and won the WBO lightweight strap so that could have been a possible unification bout.
But Broner is now jumping up two divisions to welterweight to face WBA champion Paulie Malignaggi in June. That fight was easy to make as both fighters are signed to Golden Boy Promotions. It's stuff like this that boxing doesn't need. Promoters keeping belts in their stable, win, lose or draw. Other contenders for Malignaggi were put on hold so that the Broner fight could take place.
Again the blame for Broner moving up in weight was the fact that he said he couldn't secure a fight with Burns. I think Burns may have the style to beat Broner but that fight is gone.
With all his success and his rise to the forefront of the boxing world, Broner is still in the shadows of Mayweather Jnr. Floyd just signed a deal with Showtime that will keep him around for a while yet.
I think the difference between Broner and Floyd is that Broner comes looking for a knockout in all his fights. He is defensively good but is more willing than Floyd to take a shot, or lose a round or two, to get to his opponents. Just like Broner's first defense of his lightweight title against Welshman Gavin Rees in February, on my card he lost the first two rounds, then forced Rees into a stoppage in round 5.
Broner is exciting and can punch - as 22 of his 26 opponents found out. All this was done in the ring but outside the ring Broner may be his own worst enemy. According to Cincinnati court records from about 2007-2008 he has been in trouble for carrying a concealed weapon, aggravated assault, robbery and felonious assault. He was acquitted of all charges.
Then in March he was arrested for battery in Miami for allegedly biting a security guard outside a club. He was released on bond. Right now he doesn't need to be locked up as he may not get the same isolated protection Floyd got. He may be out in the open jail and that wouldn't be a good thing.
All of his antics outside the ring have to stop before something major happens. He can be a big star but he should want to be a role model, not a thug. He should want the fans to come see him win fights, not want to come see him get beat like most people do with Floyd.
Broner can go all the way to pound-for-pound best and I think if a fight with Floyd could happen he may just have what it takes to take Floyd's zero off his record. I think a lot of what he does on TV is for show but outside it's not and anything can happen there. Fists don't do the talking in the real world. A gun can take care of those.
Boxing needs a next big star, a role model, a good guy, someone for kids to look up to. Broner can be that person but only if he takes a look at his past mistakes and turns it all around in the future. Let's hope that happens.
Belfast's Wayne McCullough is a former WBC bantamweight champion, currently based in Las Vegas.
Broner can be the pound-for-pound best