WHERE does Adrien Broner go from here? Does he have a legacy to fall back on? He is a four-weight ‘world’ champion but he has not beaten significant opposition, losing to Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter and now Mikey Garcia.
Garcia is a talented fighter no doubt and most expected him to win. But Broner needed a victory or even a moral victory, an exciting finish perhaps like he delivered against Porter. But now he has been exposed by a smaller man. This latest defeat raises the question of whether Broner was ever as gifted as he appeared to be. He did look devastating earlier on in his career, at lighter weights himself. But Garcia served notice that Broner may be good but he is not good enough.
But that doesn’t mean Broner will fade away. He can be obnoxious but Broner’s outspoken nature generates attention. He hasn’t been ‘walking the walk’ in recent bouts but ‘talking the talk’ is part the modern boxing business. And Adrien Broner shows no sign of being chastened.
After the fight, to the ringing boos of the arena, Broner declared, “If I fight tomorrow everybody is still going to come see me. I’m still AB, I’m still about business… And if he wants a rematch in California, we can do it.
“At the end of the day I’m still a four-time world champion in four weight classes and when I’m done with the sport I’m going to be in the history books.”
That is optimistic. World titles aren’t what they used to be. Fighters need great fights and great wins to go down in history. But the fact that Broner makes these comments that so rile up boxing fans, his limited self-awareness, his willingness to irritate, annoy and outrage makes him hard to forget. He can play the villain. And in boxing, you suspect, there is always work for a villain.
Where exactly he will continue to ply his trade and against whom, it’s hard to see. Lingering at welterweight was put down to indiscipline in diet and training camp. But actually making super-lightweight did not unlock a new vein of form for him (though it did spare him a hefty financial penalty).
Once again he has to rebuild, it’ll be for him to decide whether that’s at super-lightweight or welterweight. After this he’d be the right opponent now for another name looking to make a comeback. Amir Khan for instance will return to the sport soon. Manny Pacquiao even might want an attention grabbing showdown before he winds up his career. Broner could be both notorious and unthreatening enough.
Whatever happens Broner will be back. In modern boxing a tune-up fight or two is all it takes.