Adrien Broner is very talented, but he hasn't yet proven himself a box office attraction.
Adrien Broner is a young, brash superstar in the making. He's won three world titles in three weight classes, and at 24 years old, he's already being groomed for the position atop the sport now held by his icon, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Marcos Maidana is an exciting, tough-as-nails action fighter who never takes a minute off and can never be counted out of a fight.
The two men seem to be on a collision course—and indeed have been trading smack talk for months—ever since Broner lifted the WBA welterweight championship from Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in June.
The good news for boxing fans is that the fight, which has been discussed for some time now, appears close to becoming a reality.
But there's also bad news.
According to a report from Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com, Golden Boy Promotions is lining up the bout to headline a Showtime pay-per-view card on Nov. 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It's obviously a huge sign of faith from both Golden Boy and Showtime that they'd place Broner in the hot seat this early in his career by asking him to headline a pay-per-view during boxing's busy season in its marquee city.
That's a calculation the suits from both companies had to make, but for fans the question is far more simple: Is this fight worthy of headlining a PPV? And more directly: Is it worth my hard-earned money to pay to see it?
That's a complicated question, and it's difficult to answer without seeing the total package Showtime will offer. But it's clear that Broner nor Maidana are not yet at the stage of being legitimate PPV headliners.
Say what you will about Adrien "The Problem" Broner. He's obviously a tremendous talent, and he's done a great job of using his quirky personality and, frequently, over-the-top statements to market himself.
Broner has attempted to closely shadow the path of his idol, Mayweather—both in terms of in-ring style and personality—and has cast himself as a villain. But he's far from Mayweather, and that's not a knock; it's a fact.
The promotional tour for his fight with Malignaggi can best be described as vulgar, and many were critical of both men for broaching topics more traditionally reserved for street fights and not prize fights.
He was lucky to emerge from that scrap with a split decision victory that left many hoping for more and led his idol Mayweather to conclude that the 24-year-old has a lot to learn.
It may seem like a crazy thing to say, but despite his three world championships, there are many people who are still not sold on Broner's ability to be a transcending star in the sport. He's been brought along very slowly, and he showed a lack of killer instinct against the tough but light-hitting Malignaggi.
In his previous fight—against Gavin Rees in Atlantic City—he gave away the first few rounds before scoring an impressive stoppage. Before that, it was an impressive—and to this point career, best—demolition of the rugged Antonio DeMarco in a fight that earned him a lightweight championship.
Other than that, Broner's talk has largely outpaced his actual in-ring accomplishments.
Now, that's not to entirely dismiss a fighter who at 24 years old has captured world championships at super featherweight, lightweight and welterweight. But when you're talking about whether or not a fighter is PPV worthy—and particularly headline worthy—you need to measure accomplishments and not hype.
He might well get there, but he isn't there yet.
So that leaves Maidana.
The 30-year-old Argentine is a dynamo in the ring. He hits hard, gets hit hard and can never be counted out of a fight. He took a frightful beating earlier this year in the early rounds against Josesito Lopez.
To many at home, it appeared that it would be Lopez who would get a decisive win in the crossroads fight. But it was Maidana who once again proved he is possibly more dangerous when he's in trouble by rallying to drop Lopez with a thundering right hand and stop him in the sixth round.
It was exciting, dramatic and unexpected. Otherwise known as your typical Maidana fight.
This won't be the first time the Argentine tried his hand at headlining a PPV event. He defeated Erik Morales as the main bout in an HBO televised PPV card in in 2011. The card was very solid top to bottom, but it failed to generate much business.
According to Steve Kim of Maxboxing.com it was a total flop:
told that the Maidana-Morales PPV did under 50,000 buys last week #boxing— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) April 15, 2011
This is a very risky move by Showtime. Here you have two fighters who have yet to show drawing power at the box office, and they're being asked to headline a major event during a time when there are already several marquee PPV matchups lined up.
Obviously, the card of the year will take place on Sept. 14 on Showtime PPV, as Mayweather meets Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for the junior middleweight championship.
But then HBO takes over the PPV airwaves with Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez meeting for the WBO welterweight title on Oct. 12 and Manny Pacquiao returning against Brandon Rios on Nov. 23.
Those are three marquee matches, and they feature some of the biggest names in the sport.
It might just be overkill to ask the fans to shell out additional PPV dollars on a fight that, while dramatic, probably is more suited for a showcase on Showtime's network arm and not for additional cash on PPV.