Adrien Broner has a problem. The talented fighter who is probably as good an athlete as any in the sport of boxing believes he’s the next Floyd Mayweather.
In fact, judging by his absurdly arrogant demeanor in San Antonio this weekend before his 12-round loss to slugger Marcos Maidana, Broner may very well actually believe he is Mayweather.
It truly was a sight to behold. Broner channeled something a level above and beyond the brash swagger of Mayweather without ever having reached a similar level of accomplishment.
His pre-fight antics included berating autograph seekers at Friday’s weigh-in as well as refusing to interview with media members Broner deemed unimportant.
As Broner made his way to the ring on Saturday night, he appeared lost in himself.
He was surrounded by a cadre of supporters and seemed more interested in pleasing them than preparing himself for the fight against Maidana.
In fact, as he left the backstage area of the Alamodome, Broner looked largely disinterested in the proceedings that were about to unfold.
Oh, what a difference 36 minutes can make. Maidana made mincemeat of Broner. And while he fought bravely at times, Broner was left beside himself after the bout with the realization that he was just out-slugged by a fighter who lost virtually every round of a fight against Devon Alexander last year.
After Jimmy Lennon Jr. confirmed the judges were honest in their scoring of the fight, Broner hurried back into the tunnel he had so casually strode through beforehand. Now, he was a tired and beaten man.
Broner’s loss can be attributed more to himself than to Maidana.
No, that isn’t to say Maidana doesn’t deserve any credit. He does. He had a great plan, and he executed it with tenacity.
But Broner is so very talented and takes a serious sport so very lightly that it’s hard to imagine him losing to a fighter like Maidana without playing some part in it himself.
Broner needs to learn one very important lesson: He is not Mayweather.
For one thing, Mayweather is the consummate professional. His work ethic is unparalleled in the sport, and for all the glitz and glamour of his Money Team persona, Mayweather is as blue-collar as it gets when it comes to the things that count most—both inside the ring and out.
Mayweather talks to the media, smiles for the cameras and takes pictures with fans. He signs autographs for hours and hours. He knows his job is to sell the fight, and he does it better than anyone.
And Mayweather is always prepared. He shows up on fight night of sound body and mind, and he always has a game plan.
If Broner wants the fruits of being a fighter like Mayweather, he has to put in the work. What Mayweather has achieved in his career wasn’t just done by talent alone. It was done through hard work and dedication.
Moreover, Broner needs to understand he isn’t Mayweather when the bell rings, either. That means he isn’t the defensive master Mayweather has shown himself to be, and he also doesn’t have the same ability to systematically break down his opponent as the fight wears on.
As his career has progressed, Broner seems to have regressed in style. Where early on he fought like a man who wasn’t trying to be a crude imitation of another fighter, Broner’s style has devolved into something of a flawed copy of Mayweather that’s both offensively inactive and defensively insufficient. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Mayweather believes in Broner. After the loss, the undefeated superstar publicly expressed his support of his friend as well as his belief in Broner’s bright future.
But if Broner is to become anything close to the level of Mayweather, he’s going to have to find his own way. He’s going to have to be the best version of Broner he can be, not a sloppy version of Mayweather, who is unlikable outside the ring and easy to hit inside of it.
Otherwise, it will be a short, frustrating career of unlimited promise but unfulfilled potential.
Kelsey McCarson covered Broner-Maidana live in San Antonio for The Sweet Science and Boxing Channel.