PRITTY Left Hook: Adrien Broner’s Skill Never In Question, Just His Focus

This past weekend, Errol Spence, Jr. dominated Chris Algieri in a fight that took his name from prospect to contender with a 5th round KO.

At the beginning of this month, Adrien Broner knocked out Ashley Theophane in Washington, D.C. That fight week saw Broner arrive late to a press conference with an entourage in tow that reeked of alcohol and other herbal substances, miss weight at a weigh-in and never return for a re-weigh opportunity.

Theophane, a Mayweather Promotions fighter, was also largely sidestepped in Broners media promotion. However, Broner did not miss the opportunity to verbally assault Floyd Mayweather, Jr., in various tirades where the catchphrases Hateweather Promotions and water and cornflakes were born for our enjoyment and to raise his ire.

But the biggest story that fight week was the warrant issued for Broner in his native Cincinnati for felony assault and aggravated robbery stemming from a friendly betting incident in a bowling alley.

More recently, the former four-division titleholder was taken into custody last Tuesday morning, April 12th, and began serving a 10-day jail sentence for violating terms of his probation in his hometown of Cincinnati.

The violation cited was reckless driving which went against a July 2015 sentence of six months probation in connection to a drunken driving arrest. Broner later entered a plea of no contest instead to reckless driving and was given probation.

After his fight with Theophane, Broner returned to Cincinnati and turned himself in on April 4 for the felony assault and aggravated battery charges. Per an arrangement between his attorney and Hamilton County officials, Broner was released later that day on $100,000 bond and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on April 5.

The patterns of out-of-competition antics that have swirled around the owner of About Billions Promotions have been non-stop since he has been catapulted into the limelight at break-neck speed.

His gift was recognized by boxing die-hards early, but the world took notice after his highly publicized rift over a girlfriend he apparently stole from then opponent, Paulie Malignaggi, took over the headlines for their 2013 fight. The headlines felt good to Mr. Broner on his way to split decision victory and he has striven to live in them ever since.

Interestingly, during the lead up to that fight, Broner allegedly was involved in a fight at Miamis Fountainebleu Resort, biting one of the two security guards that broke it up. Broner blamed the eventual arrest and $1,500 bond via tweet on Pauletta Malignaggi who he claimed was so scared he sent police to him.

It is safe to assume that the pop culture allure that former mentor Floyd Mayweather, Jr. created is extremely attractive to the young Broner. After solidifying his fame via the besting of Oscar De La Hoya replete with the new moniker of Money, the Mayweather train has both inspired and incensed the younger fighter.

Mayweather told me once that success is a combination of timing and inches. His infamous early morning and late night training schedules, alcohol and drug free lifestyle along with perfectly picked opponents to boost his folklore and win percentage coalesced to make the legendary career we all now know.

Although accused of engaging formerly dangerous opponents past their prime, still he, along with advisor Al Haymon and Mayweather Promotions CEO, Leonard Ellerbe, must be commended for their respective promotional prowess.

Boxings indicator of promotional excellence is the ability to warrant pay-per-view sales and its absence from a storied career signals lack of bankability.

Broner, who now helms his own promotional company, About Billions Promotions, which co-promoted the Theophane bout with Mayweather, needs to remember to not put the cart in front of the horse to secure his legacy.

He has yet to draw the fan support to justify a pay-per-view headlining and his two career losses do not help him get any closer to that goal.

Like I always tell these young fighters who tell me they want to be rich, Floyd Mayweather chased the victory not the money, Mayweather once told me.

Broner has faced two opponents in his career that were highly-touted and they breezed through him, rattling his confidence and exposing his reliance on sheer talent. Those two fighters are Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter, with the latter being a top welterweight who grew up in the Ohio boxing circuit with Broner.

Although Broner has traversed various weight classes and achieved gold throughout his career, he has lacked the focus to definitively define himself in the recent absence of his mentor.

With welterweights like Errol Spence, Jr. Keith Thurman, Kell Brook, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, the division is boxings best. However, with all the legal issues surrounding Broner and his penchant to keep bad company, will he ever achieve his true potential on the global sports stage during its prime?

On Friday, Broner will be released from the custody of the Hamilton County Sheriff after serving his 10-day sentence. When he walks out, he has to deal with the new charges stemming from the bowling alley assault and the limbo that any TV network and co-promoter would have in his immediate fighting future pending a judges eventual ruling on the case.

Hopefully, this short time away from the spotlight will provide some much needed clarity for the young athletic star. Because the more his promotional genius matches talent with upgraded technical skills, and curbs the bad lifestyle choices that make him the fodder of global tabloids, perhaps one day he might reach his potential.

PRITTY Left Hook is a column about combat sports from The Shadow League’s resident combat sports voyeur, Rhett “Pritty” Butler.

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