Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana weren't the only fighters on Saturday night. One of the undercard fights pitted Adrien Broner against Carlos Molina, with the former rebounding from his first career loss to notch a dominating unanimous-decision victory.
"The Problem" stirred up controversy with his profane post-fight interview, but the victory was undeniably a critical one for Broner. After losing the WBA welterweight belt to Maidana last December, Broner's win earned him the vacant WBA International super lightweight title. Per USA Today's Bob Velin, Broner and his trainer felt as though the 24-year-old was turning a corner:
"I feel good. It was a comeback fight," Broner said. "I shook the cobwebs off and as you can see, I didn't have any trouble. It was a sparring session on national TV."
Broner's trainer, Mike Stafford said he thought his fighter did great. "He picked that guy apart. He gave him a boxing lesson," Stafford said. "People forget, Adrien is still young, and he's in a new weight class and now we have to get used to that."
The humbling loss likely shuns Molina from truly noteworthy bouts for the foreseeable future. After a promising 17-0-1 start to his professional career, Molina has now lost in his last two fights in devastating fashion. Coming off a TKO to Amir Khan back in 2012, it's clear that Molina should not be fighting welterweights who drop down to his preferred super lightweight class.
For the victor, the breezy win likely prevents Broner from fighting a top welterweight contender in his next fight. Molina did not provide a legitimate challenger for Broner, who needs someone closer to Maidana's class to truly earn the respect he craves.
Considering how well Maidana represented himself against Mayweather later that night, it's difficult to imagine Broner being ready to challenge for any of the welterweight belts.
Nevertheless, that did not stop the loquacious Broner from impulsive post-fight declarations. Manny Pacquiao is a weight class and eons of skill above Molina, but Broner explicitly expressed his desire to fight the Filipino superstar in the near future:
In many ways, the belligerent post-fight interview reflected the issues that many boxing observers have with Broner. While undeniably talented, Broner has displayed a selective motor, as he loafed throughout most of the Molina fight, knowing the wide talent gap.
The lack of effort did not hurt Broner, who scored a 100-90 shutout on one judge's scorecard. Nevertheless, the win was likely a net-loss for Broner in terms of public perception and not simply because of his racially charged interview. Molina outworked Broner for most of the fight, and experts such as David Greisman were generally apathetic toward the result:
Thus, despite his lofty self-perception, Broner must continue to work his way up the welterweight ladder. Again, regardless of what one may think about his attitude, Broner looks like a potential title contender in the future. A few more fights at 140 pounds might help while Broner continues to add strength and polish his hand speed to contend with the best welterweight fighters.
The Pacquiao wishes are fallacious, as the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud likely snuffs out any possibility of the fight occurring. That's a fortunate coincidence for Broner, whose victory did little to alter his long-term prognosis. In spite of his post-fight sentiments, Broner's path to welterweight title contention is years down the road, not months.
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