Throughout his career thus far, Adrien Broner has shown both the skills of a champion and the showmanship of a star.
Have his antics in the ring bordered on going over the line, like when he danced right in front of Eloy Perez mid-fight? Yes, but that was part of his draw: a great fighter who was entertaining to watch.
Well, in his fight with Vicente Escobedo tonight, Broner crossed that line. Surprisingly though, he didn't even do so in the ring.
You see, on Friday, Broner weighed in three pounds over the 130 pound limit.
Now, this could have been a terrible mistake. After all, Adrien is a young fighter, and three pounds could have amounted to one mistake of a night.
On the other hand, he had been tweeting pictures of Twinkies less than a week before the weigh-in, suggesting a lack of regard for his pending weigh-in.
Still, on the day of the fight, both camps agreed to weigh in again. This time, as long as Broner hadn't gained ten or more pounds, the fight would go off without a hitch.
Broner weighed in at 143.2.
What does that mean? Broner is stripped of his WBO belt, but the fight still goes on.
So why is this so despicable?
Let's count the reasons.
First, let's talk about why Broner was okay with doing this. You see, he plans on moving up a weight class soon. Hence, that belt meant nothing to him. In fact, he faced hardly any repercussions from the weigh-in issues.
Second, let's talk about his opponent's weight. You see, Escobedo had been a lightweight (135 pounds) for his entire career until less than a year ago. Thus, making weight at 130 was still an issue for him. So, while Escobedo was struggling to make weight, Broner was left at his ease to get as big and strong as his heart desired.
Finally, let's talk about Escobedo's situation. You see, the 30-year-old fighter's wife just gave birth to the couple's first baby. Could he celebrate this occasion? No. Instead, Escobedo was forced to train for the fight. A fight, mind you, in which Broner pulled the rug out from under him.
Escobedo himself described the situation best in his interview post-fight with HBO's Max Kellerman. When questioned about the fight and his family, the former US Olympian began to break down in tears before explaining his emotion with: "To be away from my family, and just to come here and not get a fair fight...it's just emotional."
Would Broner have beaten Escobedo without those extra few pounds? Yes, he probably would have with his superior speed and accuracy.
Throughout his career, those traits have been hallmarks of Adrien's style, and he's used them to prove that he's a great fighter with a bright future.
Not tonight, though.
Tonight, Mr. Broner, you proved that you are a fighter that has no respect for his opponents and is willing to cut corners to win.
There is no honor in that, sir, but just plain cowardice.
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