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“No Problem” for Adrien Broner

 

March 7, 2015, Queens, NY  It was “no problem” for Adrien “The Problem” Broner (30-1 1 ND, 22 KOs) as he easily decisioned  John Molina (27-6 22 KOs) in a 12-round, non-title bout held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada. The fight was the co-feature shown on NBC’s Premier Championship Boxing.  Two of the judges scored the fight 120-108, and the other judge had it 118-110.  PureSportsNY scored the bout 118-110.

Broner’s normal ring entrance was buttoned up by NBC who may want to rethink their protocol.  (See subsequent article in the Sports Business Section.)  The fighters walked to the ring with no handlers, hangers-on, security, rappers, and gaudy entourage.  The subdued ring entrance seemed to carry over into the fight as both fighters fought somewhat tentatively through the first few rounds.  Molina landed a hard shot in the third  that won him the round on my scorecard, but Broner came back to win the fourth by sticking and moving.  The fifth round saw Molina continuing to press the action and flurry somewhat successfully which won him the round.  Broner regained control in rounds six and seven.  Broner displayed some of his brashness in round eight and continued to potshot Molina with jabs in the ninth.  Molina landed a strong right two minutes into the tenth round, but it wasn’t enough for him to win the round, as the two fighters flurried wildly during the last ten seconds.  Rounds eleven and twelve brought more of the same action with Broner winning them handily.

Sugar Ray Leonard echoed the sentiments of the crowd when he said, “He (Broner) just didn’t close the show.”  The fight, at times, had more talking then punching.  When Broner was asked in the post-fight interview about the constant banter between Molina and he, Broner exclaimed that when he made Molina miss, he would tell him, “Oh really, try that again.”  Referee Robert Byrd had to admonish the fighters, especially Molina, because there were an assortment of illegal blows, holding and head-butting.  Broner came to his own defense regarding his less-than-spectacular showing.  “The last time I fought for the crowd, I took my first loss,” said Broner.  He added, “My defense was on point, like a thorn.”  But, in true Broner-esque fashion, the fighter proclaimed, “Anybody can get it. Afri-cans, Mexi-cans,” to which the interviewer cut the interview short.

Broner had to curtail his antics because he was fighting on broadcast television rather than premium cable which creates a problem for “The Problem” (his nickname).  As a fighter, he isn’t spectacular enough to garner huge interest in fights based on his style and performance.  Broner’s appeal, like his mentor Floyd “Money” Mayweather, is predicated on his pre- and post-fight antics.  People want to see Broner walk to the ring, dancing and rapping.  People want to see his father brush his hair after the fight.  People want to see Broner throw in an “F” bomb during the post-fight interview.  People want to see Broner “actin’ up.”

If you put a fight on prime time on a Saturday night, you’re catering to a younger audience.  Message to the suits at NBC: People born post-1980 don’t subscribe to your entertainment sensibilities.  They like entrances, bling, braggadocio, loud music, and smack talk.  If you’re worried about advertising dollars, solicit advertisers who are going after the 18-35 year old segment.  That’s who is watching, or at least whom you are targeting.  This is not about the baby-boomer.

Broner aspires to make a billion from boxing (think about his nickname, “A.B.” About Billions).  Losses won’t do it for him.  But he is relatively short for his eventual weightclasses (welterweight, junior welterweight, and possibly middleweight).  Fighting taller, heavier fighters who hit harder than he does means that fighting cautiously, not recklessly, is the way to go.  However, this probably won’t endear him to fight fans.  And, if he is not endearing to fight fans, he won’t be endearing to broadcasters or advertisers.  If he is disallowed from engaging in his over-the-top antics, that make him must-see t.v., then what’s left for him?

Now, he can always go back to Showtime or HBO, and if he wants to make the huge purses, it will only come from the pay-per-view business model.  However, his best option might be to fight at a lower weight where he has a punching power and size advantage so that he can win spectacularly.  Broner is scheduled to fight in his hometown, Cincinnati, in June.  Let’s see if he conforms to the wishes of NBC and the wishes of his trainers.  What will be “The Answer” for Adrien “The Problem” Broner?

Professor Clifford Benton can be reached at cliffb@puresportsny.com

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