Come Saturday night, we will have the privilege, and believe me when I say that’s an understatement if you’re asking him, to see the return of highly regarded Adrien Broner. To the casual boxing fan that only watches the main event PPV fights I say to you this, if you’re wondering who everyone is saying the next superstar in boxing is, tune into HBO Saturday night and watch the show.
While his comparisons to Floyd Mayweather are plenty, this kid is everything but. His attitude is perhaps similar, but his style of fighting is way more exciting than Floyd’s. His personality, believe it or not, is way more eccentric as well. If you ask Broner who is the pound for pound best right now, he’ll answer he is. If you ask him who the best boxer of all time is, he’ll say he is going to be. If you ask him what the name of his opponent is and what he thinks of him, even the day of the fight, he’ll say he doesn’t even know his name and thinks nothing of him because Adrien Broner is fighting. Yes, this is who Adrien Broner is.
Every so often we see a fighter soar up through the ranks in a special way. Special, as in a sparked interest from the public that makes the boxing fans ponder their thoughts and say, “Hmm, this kid could be something great.” It’s not the undefeated record, because God knows we have hundreds of them, and it’s not the titles that they hold, because there are probably more titles than there are fighters these days. It is those few fights that have caught the public eye that make them wonder the question that often starts a prospect’s journey to stardom. “Is this the next Oscar De La Hoya? Is this the next Floyd Mayweather?” And when people start to ask those questions about a fighter, make no mistake about it, that fighter has a step above everyone else.
This Saturday one of these fighters will take the stage. Lightweight “superstar” prospect Adrien Broner (25-0, 21 KO’s) will defend his recently attained lightweight belt against a tough Gavin Rees (37-1, 18 KO’s). Make no mistake about it, the expectations for Broner are higher than any other upcoming boxer in the game today, mainly because of how Broner promotes himself. Adrien Broner has aided the people’s interest in him with his own special tactics outside of the ring as well as inside. He has helped the boxing world keep an eye on him with his continuous smack talk, flashy style, and arrogance that gives even the great Floyd Mayweather a run for his money. Broner has even stated that he plans on making a billion dollars in the boxing industry. It’s funny and most likely impossible. But it raises eyebrows from the public. For the Rees fight he has asked the public to decide what round they want him to knock out Rees in. Smack talk isn’t unusually in the boxing game but Broner brings it to another level. It’s the type of attitude that in this day and age makes people give you an extra look.
However, talking smack has to be backed up. Up to this point Broner has done just that. If one thinks that his arrogance is a weakness that makes him underestimate what he’s up against then that is a grave mistake. Broner can fight. He can fight, he can box, and he can excite. Speed, power, defense, and natural boxing skills are all rolled into one in this kid. And dare I say, if one can compare him to Floyd Mayweather, his style is…well yes. It’s better than Floyd’s. He’s faster than Floyd, he’s stronger than Floyd, and he is willing to battle on the inside, putting on a show for the boxing fans as he did against Antonio Demarco. Broner could have easily stayed on the outside of Demarco’s pressuring style and out boxed him. Instead, he stayed in there, banging with Demarco, punishing him at his own game. While the public often complains about Floyd’s defensive style making a lot of his fights boring to watch, Broner brings the total opposite. He bangs on the inside, throws tons of combinations, and even has a little Mayweather defense in him. His aggressive style is fan favorable, and just like Floyd, he has a personality that is easy to ‘dislike’.
To get to a stature of De La Hoya’s or Mayweather’s popularity is very hard to do. You must win fights, keep the public interested, and attain the fans not just in the boxing world, but outside of it as well. One must ‘win’ over the casual fans. The fans that only watch big fights but pay to do so. Those are the types of fans that turn a 600k PPV buy event into a 1 million and higher PPV buy event. For Broner, winning the fights won’t be the toughest part to become a superstar. The hardest part will be getting the people to love, or hate him, just as they have with Floyd Mayweather and did with Oscar De La Hoya.
It won’t be easy. What is undoubtedly true though is that he has the tools to do it. He has the boxing skills and personality to make himself a superstar. He just needs to do what he does best, win fights, and keep the public interested in every move he makes. As he moves up weight classes he finds himself in a great position to become a superstar. At 140, he will find tough fights that are bound to bring excitement as he enters a class with Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado, Danny Garcia, and Amir Khan. This stacked weight class will surely allow him to headline some HBO cards and co-main event some huge PPV bouts in which the general public will see him dancing his way to the ring with his sunglasses on and say. “Who is this kid?” Regardless of the negative or positive energy it will draw, the point is, it will draw energy. Then when he gets into the ring and shows the world how talented he is and how amazing his skills are, they will take notice. When they do, it will be up to Broner to win the fights, and keep the fans.
Don’t expect Broner to move up quickly. Mayweather was a dangerous, spectacular fighter back in 2001 in which it took five to six years later for the public to show interest. It wasn’t until 2007 when he faced Hatton and De La Hoya that Mayweather gained his superstar status despite gaining much recognition through the years. Broner has a long way to go in a journey that will put him in the face of dangerous foes that will test his ability to become great. He needs to stay focus, poised, and not allow the fame to cloud his mind. It may take a victory over someone like Mayweather or Pacquiao to push him there. He may lose a fight to someone that no one expects, ruining the entire thing. Anything can happen, but don’t be surprised if five years down the road, Adrien Broner is the new face of boxing.