By Tris Dixon
WE might feast on the comeuppance Adrien Broner is dished out with each passing defeat.
The novelty was first tasted when he lost to Marcos Maidana, a victory that made the Argentine a cult hero.
We have had four such doses with subsequent defeats to Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia and now, on Saturday in Las Vegas, to Manny Pacquiao.
Broner, the potty-mouthed rebel from Cincinnati, is winless in his last three and has won three of his last seven.
Whichever way you slice it he does not belong at boxing’s top table any longer. Kick him off it for bad behaviour if you will, but also eliminate him for just not being good enough.
He will claim otherwise. He’s bound to having thought he’d decisively beaten Pacquiao when, in fact, he’d lost convincingly.
He was outboxed, outworked, outhustled and bettered across the board.
His moral victory was lasting the course with a 40-year-old veteran a decade removed from his prime.
The problem for The Problem was he was not active enough, nothing like.
That has often been a criticism and against a volume puncher it was always going to be a challenge.
But Broner won’t try to change. He won’t be busier; he won’t up his workrate.
He won’t feel the need to do anything different. Why would he?
Boxing has helped create this monster, tossing titles at him in different weight classes when he’d not paid his dues at the poundage, all the while rewarding him for being a creep and employing boorish behaviour of the highest order.
Let’s not waste words retracing ugly old footsteps here, shall we?
We know the rapsheet, boxing and non-boxing related.
So Broner allows us the opportunity to cock both barrels and let hell fire. He gives the media and his detractors the ammunition and it’s as though there is a catharsis with seeing him lose, as though he has every defeat coming to him.
In the ring Broner has only rarely delivered on his boasts. He certainly could not gain a semblance of control against Pacquiao and he could not do it in the post-fight interview when he ran headlong into the stubborn and professional Jim Gray, who was not compliant with Broner’s dictatorial terms of engagement.
“Bring your mother****** ass over here, I got a lot to say,” snarled Broner.
Shot down in flames for the second time in the night, Gray abruptly told him, “We’re going to conduct this interview professionally or we’re not going to have an interview, you make the decision.”
Broner said he beat Pacquiao. He said he outlanded him in each round. He said he won. Wrong once. Wrong twice. Wrong three times.
And as much as he was booed making his hysterical claims you have to smirk at his disillusionment. You’d be generous to give him three rounds. It was not close. And that was largely the case because the one thing he said he did, outlanded Pacquiao, is the one thing he significantly did not do.
But Broner’s pleas for justice, that the fix was in because the world wants to see Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao II (please, no!) didn’t just fall on death ears but they drew incredulous smiles, sneers and sniggers.
You can’t flush these scorecards down the toilet like you do dollar bills, Adrien. You can’t intimidate Gray or Al Bernstein into doing anything but their jobs. They don’t need your sullen charity, your help, your publicity or your pity. And when you’re gone from this business, they won’t need you, either.
No one does. Boxing certainly doesn’t. In fact, it will be a more pleasant place without you. Perhaps that’s harsh. Maybe behind closed doors you’re not the person you set out for people to believe you are. But the one we see is the one we would hide our children from watching and the character we would filter out of their social media queues.
Yet when one thinks about it deeply enough we have enabled and encouraged this behaviour. We have launched world titles at him that he didn’t deserve, given him coverage he had not earned, put him on covers of magazines he did not merit – all because of who he was and what he did. Because for a man who’s lost every big fight he has had, he’s rich, famous and a four-weight world champion. Boxing has done that. Boxing has allowed that. We’ve been telling him how good he is by giving him prominence, forcing more worthy fighters down the pecking order in favour of his bizarre and crass behaviour. Yes, we may have done it with a shake of the head and a tut but we still did it. We were complicit. We created this monster, we’ve built him up and then we’ve knocked him down. And because of the money he’s kept coming back, he’s allowed it to happen and he hasn’t changed.
It is actually a poisonous concoction but it will continue for a while yet.
How Broner feels about the Pacquiao fight may alter if he gives himself enough time to watch it back. But there’s a chance that he will be told by those around him that he was robbed, fleeced and screwed over and that story will be positively reinforced in his own mind, the same way we have done it by empowering him to become rich and famous through boxing without having to be the best in boxing.
Let’s not forget that Broner could fight his ass off but along the way things changed. Discipline, life, the real world… Everything gets in the way. But true champions stay on course. Their life is about boxing with numerous side stories. Broner’s life is numerous side stories with a bit of boxing thrown in.
He won’t be remembered for being a brilliant fighter. He won’t be remembered for not being as good as he could and should have been. But he has created such a stench over the last 10 years that he will at least be remembered. And if that was his goal then it’s mission accomplished and we have been part of The Problem.