Adrien Broner: A case of talent unrealized

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When he demolished Antonio Demarco to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight championship in 2012, Adrien Broner seemed well on his way to being the next super-talented crossover star in boxing.

Oh, what could’ve been.

He continued to win, but Broner became more interested in pre-fight and post-fight antics than truly taking care of business between the ropes. For example, his trash talking ability was taken to an elite level in the buildup to a fight with welterweight champion Paulie Malinaggi in 2013. For as much trash as Broner talked, Malinaggi showed tremendous defensive skill and boxing ability and pushed Broner to the limit, before losing a controversial split decision.

The antics continued before and during Broner’s fight with Marcos Maidana. In what was supposed to be a statement fight for the Cincinnati native, the fight was undoubtedly the toughest of his career. Broner was dropped twice in the fight and suffered what most would consider a humbling defeat in front of a hostile San Antonio crowd.

That should’ve been a wake up call for Broner. He should’ve evaluated his flaws as a fighter, his antagonistic and in most cases distractive persona, and made changes that would’ve enabled him to remain one of the top up and coming prospects in boxing.

A little humility would’ve gone a long way. Unfortunately, that trait has never been his strong suit. Legal troubles have consistently kept him in the news leading up to his fights and his interactions with reporters and other fighters are routinely blatantly disrespectful.

Why? Where does his attitude come from? Can he not see what everyone else does? He’s had unimpressive losses to Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia — two fighters with arguably more upside and potential than Broner — so there is a need to improve. As much as he likes to think with unapologetic confidence that he is the best in boxing, he doesn’t have all the answers.

 Broner vs DeMarco highlights

Despite his shortcomings, he’s positioned himself for a showdown with the legendary Manny Pacquiao on Jan. 19. Broner ( 33-3-1 24 KO) could take advantage of Pacquiao’s advanced age and outbox him to gain the biggest victory of his career.

Expect his lack of humility to again prevent that from happening.

Perhaps Broner has stepped up his preparation for the fight, but given his inability to admit shortcomings in the past, does anyone believe that he’s addressing the problems he needs to to be competitive — and much less win — against Pacquiao? I don’t.

In an era defined by Floyd Mayweather’s ability to generate enough interest and in some cases hatred to get people to purchase his high-priced fights, deep down Broner wants to be the next version of the pound-for-great. Problem is, Broner doesn’t want to put the work in to get there.

He thinks his cocky attitude and unreformed talent are enough to garner elite status. That hasn’t worked thus far in his career and no one should expect it to against Pacquiao.

What, if anything, he’ll learn from the loss remains to be seen. It should be validation for something he should’ve learned a long time ago:

He’s not Floyd Mayweather, and not the best in boxing. Not even close.

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