I’ll go right ahead and say it, Adrien Broner will beat Ashley Theophane. However, I haven’t decided if I should care, what that really means, or if it matters. And if and when Broner beats him, he still has a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover. So for me, the verdict is still to be determined on who Adrien Broner is as a boxer and as a man.
Adrien Broner has been prone to a lot of public buffoonery, but I initially gave him a pass due to youthful stupidity, poor handlers and bad judgment. I quietly chose to believe that he was “performing” mainly to be memorable, but that he’d eventually grow out of his antics. I felt that right in front of him were guys he looked up to that are far past his level and his net worth, but guys that don’t truly respect him or care about him, so consequently whatever he does is shrugged off and maybe even laughed at. And I feel right behind are the hordes of opportunistic “yes men” that don’t ever check him when he needs it. As a young promising guy who came from nothing, I understood Broner’s predicament, so I left him alone. He also has been sounding like he’s matured a bit. However, even though to me he is showing signs of growth and maturity, there are still plenty of signs of corny shenanigans and stupidity. Let’s take a look back.
He had already done a lot at this point already, but I was extremely turned off by Broner back when he made all that commotion with Paulie Malignaggi’s ex-girl. He even brought her to a press conference. They are both professional fighters and he gave Malignaggi’s side piece a platform to be relevant and air out his dirty laundry regarding their relationship, or whatever it was. I get the fight promotion antics, but that was a flagrant foul in my book. That broke all kinds of codes and to me that just was not masculine at all. It was a terrible spectacle, but people let that go. Besides which, he won the fight.
What comes up goes down. Broner began to lose, have publicly aired problems with his mentor Floyd Mayweather, and have problems with the law. In addition, despite taking many “L’s” the antics continued.
Then there was the emotional ranting about resorting to a life of crime and taking pictures and videos with guns. I thought truly now, he’s jumped off the deep end. This was ridiculousness. I mean, how unbelievably unintelligent and corny is a criminal making videos telling everyone he is going to go out and be a criminal. The gun-toting rants really should have ended him for the level of ignorance that was spewed with ease. Surprisingly and eventually, people moved past it. I was still affected by the spectacle, but public discourse clowned him momentarily, but then the people moved on.
Then there was the change-throwing bit in Walmart. He arrogantly decreed that these people must not know who he was (they didn’t), and then yells, “I don’t need no change, bruh!” before throwing change and singles up and all over the floor. I knew what he was capable of, but I still face-palmed. He did several other extremely corny and ignorant stunts like letting money blow out of his car window as he drove by. It was all pathetic, new money childishness, desperate for attention. I wanted to root for him, and there was no hate. However, HE was the one making it extremely difficult.
Now let’s talk boxing. Before, during and between all of this, he lost 2 important fights losing his ‘0’. He lost to Maidana, because he just lost. It happens. Maidana is an extremely awkward fighter and he’d be very tough for lots of guys. Styles make fights, and the relentless Maidana can confound and frustrate lots of more conventional fighters. Maidana even gave lots of problems to Floyd Mayweather before he was able to decode him and edge him out. So we can forgive that loss. But then came another loss to Shawn Porter, a fight that he really should have won. He didn’t lose that fight because he couldn’t win, he lost that fight because he seemed like his mind wasn’t right, his focus was off, he wasn’t hungry and basically he was outworked all fight long. He showed up in the last few rounds, and he even knocked Porter down, but at that point he was trying to make up for lost time a little too late. Unless he was going to knock him out, and even as the bigger, stronger, faster, better man, it was still too late to earn the win in the eyes of the judges or the fans.
So here we are with another fight he really should win in Ashley Theophane. If he loses, well, he would need either to decide on another career venture or come up with a 3-5 year plan for time off and rebuilding. If he wins however, he will have made a huge U-turn in the right direction and on the right track. However—even if he does he still is not out of the woods, still has more to do, and still not quite there yet. We’ll see.