Could it be Broner for Manny?

Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - WBA superlightweight champion Adrien Broner is nicknamed “The Problem” for a reason. He’s a poor excuse for a sick joke and an anomaly as a fighter. Broner calls himself the next Floyd Mayweather Jr., shows no respect for opponents and couldn’t care less about the integrity of the sport. His only concern is himself and that’s why fans don’t mind paying good money to watch him lose in the ring.

Broner, 23, has called out Manny Pacquiao for over three years. And there’s a possibility he’ll finally get his wish next year. Broner is in contention to be Pacquiao’s next opponent on April 9. There are other names in the list like Timothy Bradley and Terence Crawford. But fans who’re clamoring for a sequel to Pacquiao-Mayweather may just settle for “Money’s” clone.

Broner has won four of his last five fights and boasts of having captured world titles in four different divisions. He was the WBO superfeatherweight, WBA/WBC lightweight and WBA welterweight champion before claiming the WBA 140-pound title on a 12th round stoppage of Russia’s Khabib Allakhverdiev in Cincinnati last October. Allakhverdiev joined a platoon of southpaws whom Broner has beaten. His left-handed victims include former world champions Daniel Ponce de Leon and Antonio DeMarco and Guillermo Sanchez.

“I don’t lose to southpaws,” said Broner in mocking Pacquiao. Broner is a fighter whom fans love to hate because he’s brash, arrogant and dishonorable. He’s a boxing character out of the World Wrestling Entertainment mold.

But Broner, whose manager Al Haymon also takes care of Mayweather’s business, is no slouch. He’s defense-minded like Mayweather, using the shoulder-roll to make it difficult for opponents to connect, and he’s an off-rhythm puncher, meaning his hits don’t come from conventional angles. In a career that started in 2008, Broner has lost only twice, both on points, to Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter. He was floored twice by Maidana but finished the fight on his feet in San Antonio two years ago.

Broner’s problem is a lack of focus because he seems more concerned about propping up his image on social media than training for a fight. Twice, he was forced to relinquish titles for failing to make weight. In 2010, he was eight pounds over the limit in giving up the WBC Youth Intercontinental superfeatherweight crown. Two years later, Broner surrendered the WBO superfeatherweight title on the scales for weighing in 3 1/2 pounds over the cap.

A Broner victim whom Filipino fans recognize is Ponce de Leon who beat Gerry Peñalosa on points and knocked out Rey (Boom Boom) Bautista in one round. Broner wiped out Ponce de Leon on scores of 96-94 twice and 99-91 in Anaheim in 2011.

Danny Flexen of Boxing News described Broner as “a sharp hitter with excellent upper-body movement and flair to burn…(he) can presumably still improve if his arrogance can be tempered by a willingness to learn…his footwork can be too ponderous, his head movement is often neglected and Broner likes to fight at his own pace.” Another Boxing News writer Paul Wheeler said Broner has “a highly impressive pedigree” and is “a fast, flashy counter-puncher who utilizes slick shoulder rolls to slip shots…his jab is effective and he displayed commendable toughness and courage in the face of Maidana’s roughhouse approach.”

On a self-promoted video, Broner has flushed $20 bills down a toilet in a gimmick that is so like Mayweather, given a homeless man $1,000, mauled strippers on stage and even released a sex tape. Writer Elliott Worsell said Broner has also made videos of himself thrusting his groin against the backside of an opponent and faking a marriage proposal to an unsuspecting girlfriend. Broner has been called “a precocious boxing braggart.”

Worsell said Broner’s world “consists of hashtags, shout outs, lewd comments and peculiar actions.” Broner once proclaimed that he’s destined to become the first prizefighter to make a billion dollars. He’s been so crass and disrespectful that even Mayweather has been quoted as chastising him.

Ron Borges of The Ring Magazine said Broner “loves the sound of his own drum only slightly less than the crowd roaring his name.” “Broner’s flashy fighting style coupled with a willingness to say anything and fight anyone is a formula that worked well for Mayweather who seems to be Broner’s fistic role model and whose career is handled by the same manager Haymon,” said Borges.

Broner was only six when he said boxing would be his way to fame and fortune. “Long as I can remember I always wanted to box,” he said. “We would box in the yard. Since I was small, I knew I was good. I know I have the talent. I’m not going to let it go to waste.” His long-time trainer Mike Stafford said, “(Adrien) has grown up, he’s been beaten up by the media and beaten up by the fans so it’s not a big thing with him…he believes in his coach and his team and his management, he really relates to us and everything else is a plus…he’s a very knowledgeable kid that wants to be successful in life, in boxing and to be a good father.”

If Broner is picked to face Pacquiao, he’ll surely make the pre-fight hype interesting and entertaining. But when it comes to fighting in the ring, that’s another story. Broner fights like Mayweather so he isn’t expected to engage. Pacquiao’s motivation is if and when he beats Broner, it might bring Mayweather out of retirement for a rematch.

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