Adrien Broner vs Manny Pacquiao: Less is more, Dummy!!
An age old adage among the boxing community states, "to become a ring legend, you have to defeat a ring legend."
It's perceived to be every prizefighter's dream to headline a major event on the biggest platform of boxing, opposite a recognized legend and a first ballot Hall of Famer. Historically it's the most common method of creating major stars within the sport...the proverbial "passing of the torch".
According to Hall of Fame promoter and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, four division titlist and infamous boxing bad-guy, Adrien "The Problem" Broner, showed no realistic interest in participating in such an event opposite global boxing icon Manny Pacquiao later this year.
"I was dealing with Al Haymon on making that fight (Pacquiao vs. Broner at 147 pounds)," Arum told BoxingScene.com. "Al tried but Broner was asking for crazy money that nobody can afford, so he is out and Manny is looking for another opponent."
Two surprising but fairly common scenarios more than likely played out behind closed doors:
1) Adrien Broner didn't fully recognize or understand his realistic market value, or 2) "The Problem" genuinely wasn't interested in facing the Pacman.
Neither scenario is a positive for any fighter's career, nor is it good for the overall health of the sport.
Unfortunately, this plot is playing out all too frequently in today's version of the boxing business. It's become known as the "Too Smart" phenomenon within the fight community.
Three decade fight trainer and respected boxing manager James Gogue expounds on this very frequent occurrence.
"The reason why we refer to guys like Adrien Broner as 'Too Smart', is because they ultimately think they're more knowledgeable of the business than they actually are," states the expert trainer and manager."
"What ends up happening is they ultimately ruin a potentially lucrative and progressive deal for their respective careers by making unrealistic demands. It almost always stunts their growth as an attraction in the long run."
Throughout boxing's rich history, many fighters have taken short money, in what was perceived to be "investment" bouts, to potentially achieve more mainstream recognition and exposure, while receiving long term dividends.
Adrien has often stated through the media that he aspires to be like his "Big Bro", Floyd Mayweather Jr., in terms of accomplishments and business within the sport of boxing. While many fighters share "The Problem's" sentiment, most of them forget that "Money May" was "Pretty Boy Floyd' before striking it rich on the biggest stages of boxing.
The artist formerly known as "PBF" took his lumps in lackluster PPV events with the late Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, and Carlos Baldomir before making a career high guaranteed payday of $10 million dollars as long reigning cash-cow, Oscar De La Hoya's B-side opponent.
Although boxing's "Golden Boy" ended up with the massive lion's share when all was said and done, pocketing a cool $52 million for twelve rounds of work, the most lucrative event in boxing history, circa May of 2007, boosted Floyd Mayweather's market value through the roof, and subsequently created the next big star of the sport.
Floyd had the vision as well as the humility to listen to the very wise people around him.
Unfortunately for the four division trinket holder, he foolishly doesn't.
According to Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, the abrasive 26 year old prizefighter wanted more money than his iconic, Filipino counterpart.
"Broner wants more money than Pacquiao," Arum stated to The Guardian. "Obviously he doesn't want the fight, or he doesn't understand the economics of this business."
"I worked very, very hard with Al Haymon to make the Pacquiao/Broner fight. But Al was never able to bring Broner around to a realistic number. He wanted what we haven't paid anyone in a long time. Just a crazy number. In effect, he wanted parity with Manny, and Al agreed he couldn't do anything with him. The kid is crazy."
Delusional is the more appropriate description.
Hall of Fame matchmaker and promoter Don "War a Week" Chargin provided additional insight into Adrien's decision to price himself out of a fight with boxing's only eight division world champion.
"Going in, he should have known that he's the B-side of this match-up," the sixty-five year boxing legend stated to "War a Week Radio" on Tuesday evening. "And he would have probably made a career high payday. He should have also known that if he wanted to make just as much as Manny Pacquiao, the fight wasn't going to happen."
According to "The Don" of boxing, Adrien doesn't realize what his realistic value truly is under the current climate of the American boxing market.
"For a while, it seemed as though Broner was well on his way to becoming a major drawing card in the sport," Chargin stated on War a Week Radio. "But after losing a few big fights and leaving fans wanting a little more in his most recent outings, he has to realize that he doesn't create the greatest demand among paying customers at this time."
"This would have been a heck of an opportunity to really bolster his market value if he scored a big hit with the Pacquiao fight. In my opinion, Broner is going to look back at this decision with great regret."
The six decade promoter/matchmaker believes Broner, as well as many current wannabe superstars in this era of boxing, doesn't understand that opportunities like this don't happen very often.
"If a fighter is lucky, he may receive one or two opportunities of this nature throughout his entire career. When opportunities like this fight are offered, you have to take advantage of them...even if it means taking short money."
"I don't know what Arum offered Broner, but you can bet it was fair if Haymon was willing to try and sell it to his fighter. If it weren't in the right ballpark, Haymon would have negotiated a much more reasonable price before reporting back to his client."
Broner's response to Bob Arum's offer was truly comical.
"F*** Bob Arum," Adrien Broner wrote on his "Instagram" account. "Pay me what I deserve, B***H!! You been trying to sign me ANYWAY LAME."
What number exactly does "The Problem" deserve in this current market of the fringe American pastime?
For his most recent two efforts, the four division titlist made a seemingly inflated $1 million guarantee for taking on Khabib Allakhverdiev and Ashley Theophane respectively. Perhaps there lies the problem...no pun intended.
From a ratings perspective, Broner/Allakhverdiev averaged only 506K viewers according to Neilson Media Research. Although his showing against Theophane on Spike TV was much more favorable, an average of 1.141 million viewers, do those numbers justify making equal money with a proven draw like Manny Pacquiao?
Has Adrien ever shown that he can draw on the PPV medium? Is a match-up opposite Manny Pacquiao in demand during this post-May/Pac era?
And let's look at Broner's future in the 147 pound weight division, since the "Can-Man" has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of making the Welterweight restriction of 140 pounds any longer.
Who's he going to fight that will 1) garner the same kind of payday and mainstream recognition on the biggest possible platform of boxing, and 2) give him the best possible chance to be victorious?
While Manny Pacquiao is indeed a legend who has proven himself worthy of first ballot Hall of Fame consideration, he's a small 147 pound fighter who began his professional career competing in the 105 pound weight class. Does Adrien genuinely believe he can find greater success against the other perceived elite level talent currently competing in boxing's deepest division? While earning a similar payday to a fight with Pacquiao?
Perhaps Broner isn't merely obtuse to the realities of boxing economics, but truly believes he doesn't match up well against the Pacman.
Or maybe "AB" really stands for "Absent Brain", because the decision to take advantage of this golden opportunity is seemingly a "no brainer".
The world may never know.