Adrien Broner may stir up more raw emotion across the boxing landscape than any other active fighter. When he isn't tweeting about his sexual prowess, he's filming videos of himself pretending to poop money in a Popeye's bathroom. Despite pulling some of the most impressive TV ratings in the sport, his attitude has led to media and fans to call for networks to get out of the Broner business -- Kevin Iole put him #1 on his list of fighters who "don't deserve your money" -- and even had one media member call the feds and report Broner for destruction of currency for the Popeye's "incident."
Broner is very good though. And, as previously mentioned, he brings eyeballs to fights. And that's ultimately the big thing in a business that needs every viewer it can get.
He's also coming off the toughest challenge of his career in a split decision win over Paulie Malignaggi. That was a fight that saw a build-up that only added to Broner's negative reputation as the two argued over a "sidepiece."
Boxing Scene caught up with Broner and asked if he wanted anything to do with a rematch with Paulie and what was next:
"Negative. I rather see him fight another guy and I’ll support Paulie because at the end of the day Paulie is a friend of mine. But this is a business so when he fights me, it’s f**k Paulie. But now that our business is over, I would like to see Paulie finish his career or stay a commentator because he can talk his ass off" Broner would tell BoxingScene.
"[Paulie], he’s a hell of a fighter. Slick fighter. I did what I had to do to get the victory. And now I’m a three time world champion in three different weight classes. I did that at 23 and now I’m [almost] 24 [and] I will be a four time world champion in four weight classes. But Maidana is first on the list so we’re going to worry about Maidana" said Broner.
Personally, I like Broner. But I like him for really weird reasons.
I appreciate the way he freaks everyone out and it's always fun to see the often times far too serious and uptight boxing media spin in circles with frustration. Or try to somehow come up with reasons that he lost the Malignaggi fight (he didn't, he clearly won). I honestly wonder if Broner managed to beat Maidana and Matthysse, if people would diminish those accomplishments by demanding he face someone with more "craft" and less of a "face-first brawler." Probably, but then again revisionism like that is a thriving business in the fight game.
And I also think that somewhere around 75-80% of the Broner Show is exactly that...a show. He clearly knows when he's pushing buttons and it's working for him in terms of building his profile.
There are absolutely times where he goes too far, and I can fully understand that you can legitimately dislike him -- I'm of the philosophy that sports in general thrive on rational and irrational rooting interests, both for and against. Also, make no mistake, I'm not saying he's a sweetheart by any means.
But he represents this sort of fighter for the Share-Too-Much Social Media Generation and it has allowed everything involving him to turn into this sort of absurdist metapromotion. I mean, go ahead and try to tell me that the Broner vs. Malignaggi promotion wasn't a product of the reality TV boom.
It's the first time we've gotten to use this modern technology (Broner was in his teens when Myspace, Facebook and Twitter came on the scene) to see a fighter of this generation and this talent deal with this always-on social interaction method. It's often ugly, often a cry for attention and far too often taken to a point of oversharing. He's a fighting representation of the Social Media Generation.
Personally, I find it damn fascinating.