Given how far Broner has come in just a little over two short years, the sky’s the limit. He has gone from a virtual unknown in early 2010, and facing possible legal problems, to a world champion, throwing out the first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds game as honorary captain. When you combine his brash, cocky ring demeanor with his quickness, power, talent and fan-friendly fighting style, he’s a multi-million dollar payday waiting to happen.
“He has so much talent; it’s amazing,” his longtime trainer, Mike Stafford, told us on the Maxboxing East Coast Boxing Report Tuesday night. “I think he can go as far as anyone ever in boxing.” And while I didn’t take that to mean he could be greater than Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali, he undoubtedly believes his fighter has Hall of Fame talent. Stafford justifies that position by the hours of sparring and hundreds of amateur fights Broner has seen. “You guys haven’t really seen him; the only way you can see him go the rounds is when he’s in the gym sparring 15 rounds. You guys haven’t really seen Adrien Broner like I have.”
And Stafford is right; we really haven’t seen the real Broner. After somewhat struggling against Daniel Ponce de Leon in his HBO debut, “The Problem” has breezed through Jason Litzau, Vicente Martin Rodriguez and Eloy Perez in spectacular fashion. And while those are hardly opponents worthy of Hall of Fame speculation, he sure has boxing fans wanting to see more.
Though Broner’s newfound (and relative) infamy is split between fans who want to see win and those begging to see him lose, he brings a level of energy to the sport that is uncommon. And though he and many others like to make the comparison between him and Floyd Mayweather, they are ostensibly very different fighters and styles. During an Adrien Broner fight, don’t get up to get a beer; you might miss it. When Mayweather’s fighting, you have time to make a sandwich while you’re up. Broner is quickly becoming one of best punchers in the sport.
Broner maintains he’s the same guy outside of the ring as inside, “Adrien Broner on TV is the same Adrien Broner outside of the ring. Some people take it as they don’t like it; some people think I try to be someone I’m not but if you see me in Wal-Mart, I’ll be the same.” Regardless of how you feel about his antics, it gets him talked about. And unlike other sports, that directly affects a fighter’s earnings.
This writer is put off by endless sack dances and the touchdown celebrations seen in football but have no problem with the same antics by boxers. A great wide receiver in football will get the same tens of millions of dollars signing bonus without the touchdown dances. However, fighters can actually help themselves reach the financial “Holy Grail” of pay-per-view millions by being talked about and widely liked- and disliked. People wanting to see you get beat maybe sells better than people wanting to see you do well.
The future looks bright for Cincinnati’s newest sports star but it might take some time to see just how bright his star will shine. Tonight’s bout will likely do little to shed any light on the question of just how great he can be. Vicente Escobedo brings some name recognition to this fight but little else. I was ringside in November 2010 in Newark when he was dominated by Robert Guerrero in every way and looked like a fighter staring at retirement, not a title shot.
In Broner’s words, tonight will be, “Electrifying, very explosive; just don’t blink.” When asked if that meant a quick knockout, Broner added, “Anytime, it can end. I have speed and power from both hands, so just don’t blink- ever.” While Broner stops short of predicting an early knockout, I don’t. While some are saying that Escobedo is coming down in weight and could be an advantage, I cannot see shedding just four extra pounds from the Guerrero fight meaning any difference at all come fight night.
Plus, as Tony Whitby said on his “Punches ‘n’ Bunches” boxing show, Broner “fights big. He just looks bigger than other 130-pounders.” And he’s right; Broner is like the 6’9” center in basketball that plays like he’s 7’2.” We will likely learn little about Broner on tonight, except how strong a TV draw he is at this point. That said, he will inch closer to a big-money fight in which he will have to show us exactly what Mike Stafford tells us he knows.
And that’s something to look forward to.