by Jesse Ian Lardies
Comparisons between Adrian Broner and a young Floyd Mayweather abound. Just to be totally clear about this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with modeling your fighting style after a ring legend (and yes, when Floyd Mayweather officially retires he will be regarded as a true legend in the sport) and many boxers have done it before. Julio Cesar Chavez no doubt inspired legions of Mexican fighters with his toughness, huevos and warrior mentality. Mike Tyson would endlessly watch old reel to reels with his trainer, Cus D’Amato in hopes that he would one day be able to emulate boxing heros such as Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey. Rocky Graziano was the source of inspiration that Sylvester Stallone drew from for all of the Rocky™ movies. I know, Rocky™ wasn’t real…He is however, in the boxing hall of fame and I can’t think of a single boxing fan who can hear Eye of the Tiger without getting goose bumps; so take that as you will.
As they say, imitation is one of the more sincere forms of flattery. When you have a young fighter with an abundance of natural talent, you presumably have a clean slate in which to build technique and develop a proper skill-set. It wouldn’t be far fetched to assume that 22-year-old, Adrian “The Problem” Broner (24-0, 20 KOs) could have just as easily been a spitting image of the once supremely talented Roy Jones Jr.. In fact, many members of the media and fans alike might be more inclined to empathize with the plight of the recent former champion if he indeed showed more obvious flaws.
In his day, Roy Jones was a monster for anyone to go up against, a living manifestation of boxing acumen. His confidence was off the charts, his reflexes and speed were astronomical in scope. In a game where poise and the mental aspect are so paramount, having that level of self belief can propel one far beyond the normal human range.
It’s worthy to note that Jones’ time at the pinnacle of the sport was fleeting (albeit dominant and amazing to behold). One of the obvious faults his admirers were always fully aware of was that he had (has) an outrageously irresponsible defense. Jones was able to make himself nearly invincible through his reflexes. Astute fans always knew that one day his incredible gifts would erode and his lack of solid fundamentals would eventually be his downfall.
That happened (see: 2004-2012).
And who knows, if Adrian Broner had forged his technique in the Roy Jones Jr. school of reflexology then perhaps some people would see flaws that could potentially be exposed through time and competent competition.
The fact that Broner has very successfully studied the Philly shell style of defense and matched it with his outstanding athletic qualities, mental acuity and grounded it all in solid fundamentals points to his seriousness in the sport.
However, the fact that Adrian Broner is quite young, looks like an absolute beast in the ring, has few perceivable weaknesses and suffers from gross entitlement issues lends credence to the adage that youth is wasted on the young. It also explains why some fans are so diametrically opposed to one another when discussing the future and potential of the young undefeated star-to-be.
The problem with “The Problem” lies beyond his flippant and blasé attitude. Failure to make weight is one thing; Broner’s team reportedly requested the fight be at a higher weight and being that boxing is a business, it becomes a forgivable sin that he failed to weigh in at the junior featherweight limit last weekend (a sin in which he paid a hefty chunk of change to repent).
Enter Floyd Mayweather (43-0).
At 22 years of age, Floyd Mayweather was defending his WBC super featherweight crown for the fifth time. Never missing weight (until a fight much later in life with ring tactician, Juan Manuel Marquez; Mayweather also paid a ridiculous sum of money to push through with the fight, some $600,000 along with a sincere apology to the HBO viewing audience one week later), never being anything less than an absolute professional and being generally respectful towards the sport which gave him so many opportunities, Floyd really was a model prospect.
Blinding speed, deceptive strength, humble roots and a genius boxing I.Q. A sure fire recipe for success.
Mayweather’s disposition, oddly enough, is more understandable considering that he spent his entire youth sequestered in boxing gyms. Naturally, it would seem, when he became older and (much) richer, his brash attitude and spoiled demeanor would manifest itself. Floyd had no problems with entitlement when he was in his youth, he was poor and from a boxing family. He knew how to do one thing very well and eventually, through tireless hard work and dedication to his craft, he came knocking on all the champions doors. That isn’t to say that Floyd’s outbursts and asinine rants are excusable, just comprehensible to some degree.
This comparison isn’t designed to fluff the proverbial dick of Mr. Mayweather, nor is it here to diminish Adrian Broner by any means. Broner’s defense, offense and overall skill-set are unquestionable. No doubt he has the frame to rise in weight, the brain to adapt to many difficult in-ring situations and the world-class physicality to compete with almost anyone. Rather, this illustration will hopefully highlight a serious need for The Problem to really knuckle down and take his burgeoning journey through the ranks with more humility.
Let’s keep this in prospective. Broner, with all his gifts is still relatively green. Last year he struggled mightily with game veteran, Daniel Ponce De Leon, in a winning yet thoroughly unconvincing squeaker.
“Do you wish to rise?” An old proverb begins “Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”