Adrien Broner looked real good at times on Saturday, especially late, when he showed A grade hand speed and timing in delivering a hookercut which dropped Emmanuel Taylor. But he also had periods when he coasted, when his knowledge that his talent would carry him to a win, even if he took the foot of the gas pedal, and did some coasting.
I can be a tough critic on a guy like Broner, who can tantalize you with glimpses of a skill set. Knowing that, I put the question to his trainer Ohio Mike Stafford: what grade did you give AB for his showing on Saturday night, at home, on Showtime?
“I give him a B plus, A minus,” said Stafford, the chill and amiable tutor to the whacky and charismatic and sometimes profane and oft detested lightning rod. “We knew Taylor was tough. He came out like a (bat out of hell). Adrien made the adjustments.”
Why not a straight A? “There was some getting caught on the ropes. The ring was small, we should've got a bigger ring. And Adrien did get caught with a couple rights, we told him that was gonna happen. But if we had more time, we probably would have knocked him out.”
Right. I agree. And why then, do you think, we didn't see some of the later fire earlier, why wasn't that destructive hookercut employed in say round eight?
Stafford indicated he gets it, and he works to get into the kid's head, help him see that earlier is better. About Billions can be a bit laid back, can rely overly on talent, instead of pairing that with an angry hunger. We could surmise that maybe memories have something to do with that. That first loss can stick with you. No, Taylor is no Maidana (though Broner is the sort of talented and trash-talking type who motivates his foes to be at their all-time best) but that doesn't mean the effects of the Maidana loss aren't popping into AB's head now and again.
My take: I think Stafford is doing the right thing not tossing AB back in with the sharks with the sharpest teeth, if that's what see next. We'd all adore a Broner vs. Lucas Matthysse fight. But do I think we see it next? Nah. Another foe, maybe a half step up from Taylor could be what's best for AB long term. Not best for me and you the fan, who are real curious to see AB back in that deep water, see if he's improved his survive and thrive skills, see if he's now working with a better brand of shark repellent.
While I had Stafford on the line, I asked what he thinks goes down Saturday, how “Mayhem” will play out. “No controversy,” he said. He can see Floyd Mayweather fighting smarter, not harder, and winning nine rounds or so. Plus, he could see Maidana hanging up the gloves after this match. Because after two “XL” paydays, it could be that much harder to get up for an “M” payday, unless you adore the sport….
Your thoughts, friends? Talk to me…