A star is born.
Adrien Broner, 22, from Cincinnati Ohio, took his record to 23-0 [19 kos] this past weekend, with a scintillating fourth round knockout of tough Eloy Perez. Before the contest, many thought Perez possessed the style and attributes to give Broner a tough night's work. This however, did not prove to be the case as Broner, after taking just a fraction of the first round to figure out how his opponent was behaving, dominated the action in thoroughly one sided fashion. Perez appeared to be well out of his depth.
Broner, a natural counterpuncher, simply overwhelmed Perez in every area of the fight. Broner was patient early, taking in his smaller opponent's rhythm. Broner then set about disrupting that rhythm with a well timed jab, which he mixed well to body and head. Broner knew he had his man solved as he then started to walk Perez down, behind a high guard. Throwing jabs, straight right hands and lead left hooks, Perez was unable to adjust. One got the impression the fight was not going to last much longer as Broner began stalking his opponent with a lot more purpose and spite. The inevitable came after Broner landed a devastating straight right hand to the chin of Perez. Unable to beat the count, the fight was over.
It is hard not to get excited about Adrien Broner. He appears to have genuine pound for pound potential. At 22 years-old, to say the future looks bright is most definitely an understatement.
Now, something to think about. When a boxer has an admiration for another boxer, it can become evident in their own style, you will see little similarities evoking comparisons to other fighters whom they adore. It's apparent when watching Joe Frazier that he grew up idolizing Henry Armstrong. Likewise of Sugar Ray Leonard's obvious affection of Muhammad Ali. Sometimes, it can be a good thing. Frazier and Leonard both went on to become genuine stars of the sport in their own right. Sometimes, it can be a bad thing. Meldrick Taylor never quite escaped " the next Ray Leonard" moniker.
Within a few moments of watching Adrien Broner, it becomes apparent which fighter he holds a personal affection with. His over the top showmanship and brash behavior outside of the ring, along with his blend of defensive technique and athleticism inside it, have earned him quite a few comparisons to the man regarded as the finest pugilist alive today, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
On the surface, the comparison seems accurate. Broner, like Floyd is a ring technician of the highest order. They can fight effectively in close or at distance. Their offense occurs as a result of an emphasis on defense. Both have blinding handspeed. Both utilize the same defensive traits too. Standing side on with their feet wide apart, their right hands are always in perfect position over their chin and their left arms are always protecting their bodies. Their similarities don't end there. Broner is equally comfortable countering using his shoulder roll with his back against the ropes, or in the centre of the ring. His comfort and relaxation when under pressure is also reminiscent of Floyd's.
Here is my wish from now on though.
Rather than continue trying to be "the next Floyd Mayweather" Broner should focus his attention on becoming "the first Adrien Broner" because he has some characteristics even Floyd does not posses.
If we think about Floyd Mayweather, his out of the ring persona is a direct result of something he is missing inside of the ring. The one area in which Floyd could improve on is his ability to finish a fight within the distance. In other words, Mayweather's skills are the show. Adrien Broner seems to be using his skills to close the show. The knockout is what attracts most casual fans to boxing. It is boxing's equivalent of a home run in baseball or a touchdown in football. Mike Tyson's intention and ability to end a fight made him arguably the most compelling in-ring fighter of all time, to hardcore and casual fans. Luckily for us, Broner seems to share some of Iron Mike's bad intentions.
Let's also remind ourselves that Broner is only 22. If we think about Floyd at that age, he was of a mover, utilizing more in the way of lateral movement and footwork. Back then, Floyd's game was more speed and reflex orientated. Broner's style is more like that of current Mayweather, pressing the attack, standing right in front of his opponent, combining defense and offense simultaneously before systematically breaking them down. Floyd Mayweather is 35 years old. His level of skill has been achieved because of over 15 years of ring experience. While Broner is clearly not quite on the same level as Mayweather, his understanding of feinting, timing and all round ring savvy shows ring maturity well beyond his years. Dare I say even more than Floyd did at the same age?
Broner's rare combination of defensive wisdom and genuine ko power are a very rare mix of talents indeed. Broner seems to have all the physicalities in his favour as well. He is taller than most of his opponents, he is faster than most of his opponents and he seems to hit harder than most of his opponents. Even at this early stage in his career, I'm convinced he could handle any junior lightweight in the world.
One thing is clear when watching Adrien Broner fight. We know how GOOD he is. Now, let's see how GREAT he can be.
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