Few boxers have been in the news recently as much as Adrien Broner. Whether it was his close decision win over Paulie Malignaggi, a video of him flushing cash down a toilet, a video of him going down on a stripper, or just any one of his many YouTube posts, the talented lightweight/junior welterweight/welterweight (?) has become perhaps the most polarizing figure in all of boxing by keeping himself in the news and doing things that people either really hate or really get a big kick out of.
If there is an individual who would appear to be on the opposite end of the spectrum, it's the legendary Bernard Hopkins. One can only imagine what was going through the mind of Hopkins, a reformed convict who came up through the boxing ranks the old-fashioned way (too damn good to ignore regardless of connections), when he watched Adrien Broner flushing money down a toilet. Hopkins has a hard-earned reputation for being frugal, and his reputation at the negotiating table is one of a man who won't back down for anything. Money is one thing this man seems to cherish. There may not be a more disciplined individual in all of sports than Hopkins, a miracle man who is still competing at a high level at the age of 48. Despite standing at 6'1'', he reigned as middleweight champion for nearly ten years as he never allowed his body to get away from perfect fighting shape.
So it comes as no surprise that "The Executioner" is not fond of Broner's actions. Bill Emes of Boxing Scene writes that Hopkins stated the young star needs to mature if he is going to succeed in the sport, as well as be a good example for his children. Here is what Hopkins had to say, via Boxing Scene:
"(Mayweather don't throw money around) no more, because he's grown up. It wasn't just the 90=days in jail, he got older overnight. He got kids. When he retires, he don't want them doing that with his hard-earned money. And then he checks them and they say 'but daddy you were doing that'. That's why when they talk about Broner flushing money down the toilet, you can't tell a man what to do with his money but when you got kids and you give them money and they squander it - and you check them - they said 'daddy I saw you do it'. The seed is only going to follow what the tree does.
"Golden Boy is not fathers, parents, and not even their entourage or the people who are with them (who are) closer. I know it's not a good look. I don't even know if the money was real, but let's assume it is. I think it's something where you look back, and he will look back on it. We all did something that was dumb and stupid coming up. Some things are so embarrassing that people will never admit to it. I never did anything with money because I had a different way of thinking. With time comes wisdom for most. If you're in this game long enough, you will grow up by force."
Despite having turned 24 in late July, Broner reportedly has five children already. It may be time indeed to start saving for their futures already. And I tend to agree with Hopkins' closing statement of growing up by force in boxing. Broner is rapidly becoming a major star which will only increase the amount of cameras and microphones around him.
It's obvious that Broner needs to mature in order to get the most out of his abilities and prepare for the future. But does he have the capacity to mature or, perhaps, is this simply who he is? Maybe this is just Broner's personality and it's not going to change regardless of circumstance.
Can he change? Or do you disagree and think that maybe he doesn't need to? He is who he is, maybe?