Few fighters have come along and demanded the kind of presumptive hype, attention, and fame that Adrien Broner has in such a short stint of a career for the most part still in it's infancy. Broner, nicknamed "Tha Problem" has been a problem for his opponents, a large contingent of boxing fans who see him as more of a virus than a problem, and if he continues to display the kind of glaringly obvious talent he's shown in the ring, it won't be long until he'll steps into that void ultimately vacated by the original "Problem" Floyd Mayweather.
Yeah I know the Floyd carbon copy swagger jack thing really bugs a lot of boxing fans and I notice the style bite myself; but I don't really mind as much as a lot of fans apparently do. Look, we're in an age where originality has gone the way of dinosaurs, the Dodo bird, and the Messenger Pigeon: It doesn't exist anymore. So of course Broner, as do many young fighters and many young artists, celebs, basketball players, football players, what have you, tries to emulate and yes bite the style of their elder statesmen idols.
I actually think his shoulder roll defense is more so a product of how he learned to fight rather than it being mostly about copying Floyd Mayweather. You know I don't think Broner said to himself "Floyd fights like this so I'm going to fight like that too". I just think he uses that style because he learned to fight that way. A lot of black fighters use the shoulder roll and Philly Shell defense, some use it as the foundation of their style, others use it as a part of a broader defensive scheme. Personally I think James Toney had the best shoulder roll in boxing next to of course Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott whom Toney credits for his style. James was famous for his rolling away from punches and countering with straight or overhand rights. Floyd Mayweather was a lot more defensive than James Toney, who focused more on being offensive and throwing more punches than Floyd. When you look at Floyd he doesn't really throw an abundant amount of punches even though he can put effective combinations together.
So when people accuse Broner of being a fake wannabe Mayweather because he uses the Philly Shell and the shoulder roll I mean he's not the only black fighter out there who uses those defensive techniques. The personality is Floyd, the arrogance, the constant use of the phrase "I make this easy work" yeah that's ripped straight from the book of Floyd but really most casual fans point to the fighting style because they only know that Floyd uses that style when in reality James Toney not only mastered the shoulder roll but he was using it way before Floyd Mayweather came along. So I'm more inclined to give Broner a pass in that regard.
My take is that Adrien Broner was too good for Jason Litzau, too good for Eloy Perez, too good for Vincente Escabedo, and yes he beat Daniel Ponce De Leon. I watched that fight over again a few months ago and I thought Broner did enough to win. He didn't dominate Ponce De Leon by any means but I think he did enough to pull the split victory. That's the fight detractors use to make an argument against him. They use his fight with Ponce De Leon to justify their reasoning as to why Broner "sucks". Go to Youtube and the line is "Well Broner sucks in real life, he's not as good as people think he is". Well no that doesn't make any sense because it's not like he's some Manchurian fighter or a robot replacement for the real Adrien Broner who isn't as good as his robotic replica. It could just be the case where a 22 year old fighter is special, has special legitimate skill, but is still growing both inside and outside the ring because he's only 22 years old.
There shouldn't be this blind hatred for him where the obvious is ignored for the sake of personal hatred, nor should their be this rush to build, and then jump on his bandwagon because the kid has some maturing to do. I like him, I don't think there's one serious challenge out there between the 130 and 135 pound division. I think he beats Yuriorkis Gamboa, it wouldn't be a dominant outing but at the same time because Broner is so patient and loyal to his defensive style, I don't think Gamboa would spark him within four rounds like most suggest. That's the fight that should have been made a few months back, not Gamboa v Rios.
Lastly you know, and in no way am I trying to come off rehearsed or anything like that, and I'm not in anyway trying to endorse that horrendously corny song by Roy Jones Jr., but and you know he brought this up in the interview with RJJ, I mean I really believe that Broner makes, people say well he hasn't fought any top fighters or anyone of note. Well and I could be alone on this but I think we're seeing a case where Adrien Broner is so much more talented than his opponent that even though in their own right they're good, he makes them look pedestrian because he's so much better by so many levels.
You seen it with Andre Ward who made far better opposition, former champions and top contenders in a much stronger weight class look like journeymen "try hards". There are fighters out there who are cut from a different cloth, plain and simple. It's not a wide pool of fighters because I believe there are fewer legit "special" fighters in boxing than there are really good, good, and pretty good fighters. Some of the guys on the P4P lists really aren't as special as one would think. I can only maybe count four or five truly special fighters who will be very difficult to beat going forward.
So that's my take on Adrien Broner, I think he's a special talent but I don't want to call him the next Floyd Mayweather or even top ten P4P until he beats a top flight fighter or lifts a title from a legit champion. I hear he'll become the automatic WBO mandatory at 135 when he moves up. I'm guessing if Ricky Burns retains his title in a good 50/50 match up with Kevin Mitchell the odds of him coming to Cincinnati are slim as are the odds of Broner going to Scotland. So we might have situation where Burns is stripped or Broner looks for other opportunities. Richard Abril and Gavin Rees are fighting for the vacant WBA title once held by Brandon Rios. Broner would have no problem with either Rees or Abril; although if Rees beats Abril I doubt Eddie Hearn would throw him to a wolf like Broner; especially in America. You also have DeMarco and Vasquez who hold the WBC and IBF titles at 135. I personally would love to see a fight between Broner and Antonio DeMarco because I think DeMarco is criminally underrated and would force Broner to grow up quick.
I just don't see a lot of plausible options anywhere under 140. I think Adrien will run into the same issues he did at 130. He won't have opponents willing to take him on within the division, most of the champions will avoid him, and he'll became complacent with 135 and would probably fail to make weight as he did over the weekend. You know 140 is where he should be at this point. The division is long on names, legit contenders, and challenges. You have Mike Alvarado, Juan Manuel Marquez, Zab judah (that fight would be great from a rhetorical point of view) Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Maidana, Ashley Theophane, Brandon Rios, Lucas Matthysee, and Humberto Soto.
Sadly we'll never get to see the following:
Broner v Gamboa
Broner v Garcia (Mikey)
Broner v Russell Jr.
Broner v Donaire
Broner v Salido