Most of the greatest stars in modern boxing told us they were the best. Floyd Mayweather is screaming in our ear today, and Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali echoed the chants and pounded their chest before him.
Adrien Broner is aiming for being the greatest. Or at least he is screaming the same song of past champs. That much we’ll give him. The boxing public agrees that Broner talks a good game. Where he stands on pound-for-pound lists or in the level of past champions is a debate that hasn’t even started for the 23 year-old, two-division champ.
But today, Broner is a star because he audaciously says he’s the best and acquires a love or hate relationship with the media and boxing fans.
Like him or not, Broner is doing something right. The guy fights like Mayweather with one punch knockout power. And there is little neutrality with boxing fans when the “Can Man” goes off on a tangent about why he is the future of boxing. He talks a good game and backs it up. All 26 of Broner’s opponents failed to beat him—22 lost by knockout.
Count a knockout for Broner against public opinion as well.
Do you remember a young Kobe Bryant emulating Michael Jordan on the basketball court, with his tongue wag and hand gestures?
That’s who Broner reminds me of. The dude is a Mayweather mini-me. But unlike Kobe, who denied his infatuation to be like MJ, Broner embraces any comparison to Money May. He’ll jump at every chance to praise himself, and Mayweather and the two hang out like friends. Broner stays close to Floyd outside of the ring and fights like him inside of it. That doesn’t make him a star. That makes him smart.
And if Broner wins when he moves up two weight classes to fight Paulie Malignaggi for the welterweight title this Saturday, he will probably have more reason to brag and give us more reason to watch.
Or maybe give us more reason to admire or detest.
Say what you will about Broner’s opposition thus far, and doubt his ability, it really doesn’t matter. The guy is a ball of entertainment filled in a 140 pound chiseled body that is looking for a knockout in every fight. Some fans will pay for a Mayweather fight just to see him lose. Broner has that quality. Some fans glue themselves to a TV to see Kobe fail to live up to his lofty expectations. Broner has that quality.
Yet, Broner continues to win just like Kobe and Floyd. And no matter what our opinion is on the supposed future of boxing, it gives us reason to debate his presence.
He makes us wonder why we should watch him fight. Who is this guy? And why should I watch him? Guys like that don’t grow on trees. Neither do stars.
Broner is always smiling and having a blast in front of our eyes. He raps his own song on the way to the ring, usually knocks out his opponent and dances his way home. Mistake his confidence for arrogance, or challenge his level of opposition, do what you want and say what you say.
If he makes you wonder, he makes you watch. And sometimes in sports, that’s all it takes to become a star.