THIS Saturday at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Adrien Broner will headline the show against Mikey Garcia. The matchup is outstanding, but unfortunately no more than a distraction from the ballyhoo surrounding the Floyd Mayweather–Conor McGregor fiasco. Perhaps that is fitting because Broner’s career has been one big distraction, promising so much yet delivering precious little. Please don’t dispute this by calling him a four-time world champion. Those titles were all manufactured against largely modest opposition. If anyone needs evidence of how diluted world titles have become they need look no further than Broner.
Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter are the best two fighters that Broner has fought. Both beat him decisively. Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton, and Porter ran Paulie Malignaggi out of the ring, but Broner could only salvage a split decision against him. Speaking of split decisions that was the best Broner could do in his last fight versus Adrian Granados. Broner later claimed that his performance could be attributed to a broken hand he suffered early in the fight. Fighters always get injured early in a match or so they say. It is a convenient excuse for us to give them a pass on a bad outing. When you set the bar as high as the Showtime network has done for Broner and he to us, you are expected to deliver. Broner has repeatedly told us that he would take over the sport after Mayweather retired, but is not even within sniffing distance of the pound for pound lists.
Broner boasts that he will be in the best shape of his life against Garcia, as if he did not train as hard as he should have before. “It’s time to take boxing more seriously,” he says. And perhaps it is time for us to take him even less so, because quite frankly our level of fascination with Broner is something that I could never quite understand.
Inside of the ring Broner has character as evidenced in both his losses. He never quit and came on very strongly at the end. Outside of the ring he is as boorish as they come. You can start by calling him crude, unpolished, and highly immature. On Friday he will turn 28, but has not yet grown up. If there are redeeming qualities to Broner, he forces us to search for them.
Broner has had skirmishes with the law but does not give off the impression of being a thug. His issues could be attributed more to making poor choices than anything mean spirited on his part. But it is his crass behavior that turns people off, the type you would get from an 11- year-old kid, not a grownup. Which might explain Broner best. He is a kid in a man’s body.
The suicide scare that Broner posted on social media last year was alarming. Thankfully he is in a better place now.
Broner will enter the ring against the soft-spoken Garcia as the villain. However, he could not care less. For whatever reason, Broner has the public wrapped around his finger. Broner is one of the most polarizing figures in boxing. We are addicted to him and he knows it.