Adrien Broner is officially set to face England's Gary Sykes in another mollycoddling mismatch for the heavily-hyped Cincinnati prospect, RingTV.com reports. The fight will take place on the Peterson vs Khan II undercard, and will be televised by HBO on May 19. Broner's WBO super featherweight title will be on the line.
If you want to know more about Sykes, consult our discussion of this potential matchup from yesterday. Without getting long-winded, the fight isn't any better than Broner's matchups with Jason Litzau, Vicente Martin Rodriguez, or Eloy Perez, though the latter has been defended by some, but we went into that yesterday, too, so let's not repeat it. No point.
Sykes (20-2, 5 KO) can't punch and has lost two of his last six fights, both to Gary Buckland. None of the negative things to say about this fight are directed at Sykes, who absolutely should jump at the opportunity to fight for a world title. Why wouldn't he? It's not like these shots are going to come to him otherwise. He's not a world-level fighter. He's a decent, competent, domestic-level fighter in the UK, and nothing more.
“I’ve been told if I beat him, I will automatically become a superstar. I have also been criticised by some for taking this fight. People have said I’m going to get slaughtered but I’m realising the dream of every young boxer by fighting in Vegas against the best in the world and not many can say they have done that.”
Rather, everything bad to say about this fight should be directed at the Broner camp, his handler Al Haymon, Golden Boy, and HBO for approving the fight. Broner (23-0, 19 KO) is a very talented fighter, but the way they're protecting him is becoming truly blatant and transparent, and all it's doing is keeping the fire burning for the doubters who believe that this is a kid everyone wants to be a star more than a kid that everyone's sure actually has the goods to be a star. His struggles with Daniel Ponce De Leon aren't going to be forgotten if they keep matching him with soft touches, and HBO's investment in Broner is becoming very Greenburgian.
So that you understand it's not just me dumping on this fight, since I've openly had a lot of questions about Broner and would probably be labeled a "hater" by those who think that's a useful way to look at something, here's what some of our readers said in the comments yesterday:
Sweet science: "If Gary Buckland can stop Sykes and beat him over 12, Broner will wipe the floor with him. Awful, awful fight for someone who I believe has all the skills to be a star."
Duan: "In honesty, I have no idea why they wouldn’t offer the fight to Buckland if they’re going to give it to Sykes. There’s probably not a huge amount between them on paper, but Buckland has had a good run of form and he’s strong and durable."
Verklemptomaniac: "I normally don’t take an issue with a stay-busy fight, but this would be silly. Broner didn’t fight that long ago, and he’s not coming off an injury. If he wants to fight a no-hoper, fine, but HBO shouldn’t be wasting its money on the fight."
Eoin_not_ian: "Terrible fight if it is Sykes. I like Sykes but he really should be looking at getting some confidence back at the domestic level. Being served up as sacrificial lamb doesn’t do him, or Broner, or boxing fans, any favours."
This is just not a good fight, and I personally have trouble buying into the "stay-busy fight" idea when the reality is that Broner is going to fight three, maybe four times this year, and he's now 0-for-2 in scheduling a legitimate fight. Fighting Litzau after struggling with Ponce De Leon did make sense. Litzau, for all his limitations, was coming off a good win. But the last two and now this one have been junk.
This isn't a stay-busy fight, it's just the fight he's taking. Stay-busy fights don't even really exist anymore, in my estimation. Guys are either fighting or not fighting, and this is what we're being given for Broner.
Hopefully he calms down the canned lines that get no reaction and serve only to make writers stop caring about what he "has to say." I asked in February, after Broner's rehearsed lines appeared to be a plea to be quoted, whether or not he was interested in answering questions with real responses, in or out of the ring. With Sykes on the docket, I don't think we're any closer to getting a positive answer to that.