By Chris Robinson
Having all but announced himself as boxing’s torchbearer once Floyd Mayweather decides to make his exit from the sport, Adrien Broner is constantly going to be scrutinized for his actions inside of a prize ring.
So it’s not surprising that Broner is catching a little flack from his last performance this Saturday night, where he won a split-decision victory over a very determined Paulie Malignaggi inside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Despite Broner claiming a world title in a 3rd division at the age of 23 by securing the WBA welterweight strap, the fact that he wasn’t able to steamroll through Malignaggi is something that has caused his most ardent critics to speak out.
Giving his opinion of the fight, former world champion Brandon Rios, a man who has traded several verbal barbs with Broner in recent times, actually seemed indifferent.
“It was a good fight,” Rios said on Sunday evening. “I don’t know. I would have gave it a draw. It wasn’t all that great. It was a really tough fight to score.”
Broner was a huge betting favorite heading into the match yet Malignaggi appeared to throw him off of his game with a dogged attack that saw him unleash a wave of punches round after round. Broner did pick things up in the second half of the fight, where he landed some telling, crisp shots, yet Rios wasn’t overly-impressed.
“I feel, to be a champ, you’ve got to really take the belt from the champ,” said Rios. “If you’re going to beat him, you’ve got to really beat him. And Broner didn’t do that much to really take the belt away from Paulie Malignaggi. I don’t know if he has power or not, because he was hitting Paulie with some really great shots and Paulie stood up to those shots.”
As for the comparisons Broner seems to get with Mayweather, a man he looks to as his “big brother”, Rios seems shocked to even hear such talk.
“There’s no comparing him and Mayweather,” Rios stated. “Mayweather is one of a kind. This guy can act like he’s the next Mayweather, but he’ll never be the next Mayweather. Wait til’ he faces a guy that can give a punch and take a punch and we’ll see what happens.”
Such a fighter appears to be waiting in the wings for Broner, as Argentina’s Marcos Maidana, fresh off of a thrilling win over Josesito Lopez in a bruising battle earlier this month, has expressed interest in such a scenario.
Rios knows Maidana very well, with both men training under former world titlist Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif., and even sparred some grueling rounds with him ahead of the Lopez duel.
Given their camaraderie, it’s not surprising to hear Rios back Maidana if he were to ever face Broner.
“He’ll knock him out,” Rios said without hesitation. “I think Maidana knocks him out. I think Broner is easy to hit and Maidana can crack. I think nobody has tested Broner’s chin and we’re going to see how he feels. Everybody feels that Ponce De Leon beat him, and Maidana’s much bigger than this guy.”
There once was a time where Rios seemed to long for a chance to face Broner, yet he now has bigger fish of his own to fry. On November 23 he will find himself as a heavy underdog when he meets up with eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China, and he reveals that he’s been in the gym staying sharp until the real preparation begins.
“I’ve been in the gym already,” Rios noted. “Monday was my first day in the gym. I’m getting my rhythm back, that’s it. But, with three months out, we’re going to fully go at it.”