Adrien Broner took a look around the boxing landscape, saw who the top dog was and tried to follow his path to legendary status. He's been trying to take Floyd Mayweather's crown for years, but he's been doing a lot more with his mouth than his mitts.
Broner was undefeated until he came across certified bad ass Marcos Maidana, but a quick look down Broner's resume shows he's another over hyped product out of the Golden Boy stable, like Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan.
The resume is often the key difference between imitators and pretenders. Though Mayweather gets a side-eye for the perception that he ducked Manny Pacquiao during his prime, Mayweather was racking up wins against HOF cats during the early part of his career. That's what earned him the right to pick and choose his opponents, a fact many overlook--including Broner.
AB, as he calls himself, thought he could take over the sport with his mouth and antics. But just because Broner has an HBO 24/7 replica, a show that largely became popular through Mayweather's branding, doesn't mean he's got the skills to back it up, nor does it mean he can take a few months off during the prime of his career to go on tour with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. That's exactly what the 24-year old boxer did this summer, obviously caught up by the hype coming out of his own mouth.
Naturally, Broner kept talking smack up until the fight, egging on the beast that lies patiently waiting within Maidana. Broner had no idea what was coming as he rapped and danced his way into the ring in his usual manner. He even got up in Maidana'a grill and started jumping around before the fight. Dude shoulda known what was about to happen when Maidana just smiled at his clownery before listening to the referee's instructions and dishing out an ass-whooping Broner will never forget.
Broner was rocked by a vicious right hand a few moments after the opening bell, then was down for the first time in his career in the second round. Maidana kept working in an entertaining fight before knocking Broner down again in the eighth round. Though Maidana can crack, he's lost power at 147 pounds and was unable to put Broner away, content to work shots to the body. He cruised to a wide decision on the scorecards, snatching Broner's belt in the process.
It's a worrying sign for Broner who's built his career on speed and power. He just might not be ready for 147 pounds (he recently shot up from 135), and he simply belly flopped into the deep end too fast. But Broner couldn't avoid big punches, hurt Maidana or change his fortunes when things were getting tough. He clearly didn't come into the ring with a backup plan, probably because arrogance blocked out any thought of a backup plan in the first place.
Broner didn't just lose, he was out of his element. Almost every boxer loses in their professional careers, and it's to be expected in a sport where one punch can change everything. But there's a big difference between losing a tough fight and getting blown away by a contender in the middle of the ranks for his division. Mike Tyson's loss to Buster Douglas comes to mind, but even Tyson can say he knocked Douglas down and that his opponent got a 13-second count to get back up.
The difference is that legends have that extra gear to do their thing even when things aren't going right. Broner never even considered that things might not go right in the first place, and the surprise of being in a tough fight was painfully obvious when Broner got up too fast after getting cracked in the first round.
It was like he was pretending it never happened as the indomitable illusion he created for himself came crashing down around him.
In a sport like boxing, that kind of mentality and swag and earn a few big fights. It can't, however, earn in a win in those fights, not by itself. Broner was just taught that lesson the hard way. But now that Broner's officially on the comeback trail, we'll find out if he was ever worth all that flash, or whether he was just another flash in the pan.