Boxing is a fickle game and as quickly as it can rise a pugilist up it can also bring them down. This unwanted award if for the boxers who wish 2013 had never happened. They started the year well respected in their field and ended it broken and lost.
Adrien Broner wasn’t used to this.
He was The Problem. He was About Billions. He was the “Can Man” (because *gesticulating to imaginary opponents* he can get it and he can get it… apparently). He was first Mr HBO and then Mr Showtime. He was the next big thing, the new star to carry boxing forward, the apple of Golden Boy’s eye. He was the heir to Mayweather, the next love-to-hate superstar for whom the only thing that matched his arrogance and conceit was his talent and skill.
Adrien Broner has long been used to being the headline… but that was him making them, not him being made into one.
But what Adrien Broner isn’t used to is losing.
Before his bout with Marcos Maidana, Broner was jokingly asking whether Maidana really want to box him or if instead Maidana had simply wanted to meet him in person. After the bout Broner was fleeing the ring as soon as the decision was announced, being pelted with rubbish by the fans in attendance to a chorus of boos.
Early in the bout with Marcos Maidana, Broner had slipped behind Maidana and mockingly humped him. Late in the bout a dejected Broner could do nothing as Maidana slipped around him and did the same thing to howls of approval from the crowd.
And in between Broner had been dropped twice, hurt repeatedly, forced into amateur dramatics in a desperate attempt to get a DQ win, beaten up, broken down and pretty much outclassed.
How did it come to this?
It was a beating.
Marcos Rene Maidana, the hard punching Argentinian, outworked, bullied and most shockingly at times outclassed the incredibly highly regarded Adrien Broner to win a one-sided decision having dropped Broner twice and had a point deducted himself.
The simple way to look at the bout was that Maidana outworked Broner, in some rounds throwing going on ten times the punches that the WBA champion threw in return. But that misses the fact that Maidana wasn’t just throwing, he was also landing. Broner’s defence has always been more porous then one would expect considering his reputation but here it was wide open at times. Throughout the bout Broner couldn’t read Maidana’s jab, being speared by it multiple times and, more worryingly, unable to tell when it would turn from a jab to a hook to either the head or body and even when Maidana reverted to type and threw wild, looping shoots Broner still found himself caught. To be fair many of the punches were blocked, deflected or ridden but a significant number landed and the roar from the crowd whenever one did made clear who the partisan fans favoured… especially when Broner tumbled to the floor twice.
Marcos Maidana has been here before.
In June 2009, Golden Boy were throwing their full promotional weight behind a young fighter. Victor Ortiz was 24-1-1 with the loss being a slightly controversial DQ and the draw being a technical decision with less than a round boxed. He had fast, heavy hands having stopped 19 of his opponents and he’d picked up some notable wins… blasting out former world champion Carlos Maussa in a round and the then still fairly well regarded Mike Arnaoutis. More then that he was handsome and personable with more than a hint of Oscar De La Hoya himself about him. Golden Boy expected big things from the young man as he prepared to box for his first world title against a little known Argentinian who had lost his last bout.
Adrien Broner is not in exactly the same position Victor Ortiz was. While Ortiz was a contender with the hope of going further, Broner is already a three weight world champion with notable wins over Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jason Litzau, Vicente Escobedo, Antonio DeMarco and Paulie Malignaggi. But Broner is a young man who Golden Boy promotions (and in extension, Showtime) have put a lot of effort into hyping and are looking to as someone who can carry the company forward in years to come. And now, much like Ortiz, Broner finds himself standing opposite an menacing Argentinian power puncher who wants to make a mockery of such ambitions.
Can he do it?
On a separate forum a discussion once arose about who was the “manliest man in boxing”. You can guess the names that were involved… the hard hitting, chain smoking, beer drinking, wildly (but incredibly non-politically correct) entertaining Ricardo Mayorga. The hard hitting brawler Marcos Maidana. The tough, uncompromising former marine Ken Norton. The wonderfully moustached original heavyweight champion John L Sullivan. I even put forward my own suggestion, one of my favourite boxers of all time, Daniil Peretyatko (and after seeing this photo of sheer unbridled masculinity at it rawest I don’t see how many can disagree). And then someone joking put forward Paulie Malignaggi as a suggestion and got a couple of laughs.
I sat there and I thought about it. And then I thought about it some more.
And now I think Paulie Malignaggi may be the manliest man in boxing…
You know, sometimes I hate seeing that Thomas Hauser has published another article.
That’s not because I don’t enjoy them. It’s not because they’re poorly researched. It’s not because they’re badly written. None of the above apply; Hauser is a fantastic writer.
It’s because Thomas Hauser asks the questions that need to be asked which lead to the answers that we don’t necessarily want to hear.
One of his main… I guess investigations is the correct term to use… over recent years has been the use of performance enhancing drugs in boxing and he has written confidently, authoritatively and intelligently on the subject. His latest excellent article can be found here (credit thesweetscience.com), with an extract below. It’s a brilliant but somewhat unsettling read but it is something every boxing fan should read and take notice of.
Thus, it’s worth focusing on Edwin Rodriguez and the laudable commitment to 24-7-365 VADA testing that he recently made.
In August of this year, Rodriguez signed with manager Al Haymon. At least three of Haymon’s fghters (Andre Berto, Antonio Tarver, and J’Leon Love) have tested positive for PEDs in the past.
Another Haymon fighter (Peter Quillin) was enrolled in a USADA testing program prior to his June 2, 2012, fight against Winky Wright. Then, after blood and urine samples were taken from both fighters, Wright was told that the testing had been abandoned and the samples were destroyed.
Haymon also represents Adrien Broner.
Broner, Antonio DeMarco, Golden Boy (Broner’s promoter), and the United States Anti-Doping Agency signed a contract for USADA testing prior to the November 17, 2012, Broner-DeMarco fight. But according to DeMarco, he wasn’t tested by USADA for that bout, nor was Broner.
Then, on June 22, 2013, Broner fought Paulie Malignaggi.
“I wanted VADA testing,” Malignaggi recalls. “And I was told, ‘No, we won’t do VADA. If you insist on VADA, there won’t be a fight.’ Finally, I said, ‘F— it. I’m getting seven figures. I’ll go ahead and fight.’ Would I have been more confident that Broner was clean if there had been VADA testing? Absolutely.”
Yahoo’s Kevin Iole broke the news
HBO, the highest-rated boxing network, made the extraordinary decision Monday not to buy fights from Golden Boy Promotions, one of the sport’s two biggest promoters, for the foreseeable future.
HBO Sports president Ken Hershman, who formerly ran the boxing program at rival Showtime, made the decision to part ways with Golden Boy after running into issues with company executives. Showtime hired Stephen Espinoza, the former Golden Boy legal counsel, to run its boxing program after Hershman left for HBO.
Since Espinoza joined Showtime, the vast majority of its televised boxing offerings have come from Golden Boy.
“In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters in the most compelling match-ups, we’ve decided to focus our efforts and resources on those strategic relationships where we better share common goals and business philosophies,” Hershman said in a statement.
It’s not a bout that too many would have predicted happening. It’s not one that people were calling for or one that seemed natural to make. But I have to say I quite like the sound of the proposed bout between Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner. To quote from a BadLeftHook article on the subject:
Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer announced tonight at the Hopkins-Cloud post-fight press conference that a fight between WBA welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and current WBC lightweight titlist Adrien Broner is done for June 22. The fight will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, most likely airing on HBO.
Broner (26-0, 22 KO) is coming off of a pair of thrashings at 135 pounds against Antonio DeMarco and Gavin Rees, while Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KO) hasn’t fought since October, when he won a disputed decision against Pablo Cesar Cano on the first Barclays boxing card.
You can also see Paulie’s thoughts on the bout here: