Why the Adrien Broner Suspension Misses the Mark

Lyle FitzsimmonsFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

Adrien Broner sits in his corner during his WBA super lightweight title boxing fight against Carlos Molina Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

It’s no longer a surprise when Adrien Broner does or says something that gets noticed.

He celebrated a win over Vicente Escobedo by getting down on one knee and, with HBO cameras and microphones hanging on every syllable, asking his girlfriend to brush his hair.

He started a yapping match with Paulie Malignaggi—no slouch himself when it comes to chatter—by saying that he not only beat the then-WBA welterweight champion, but took his girl, too.

This time, while perhaps pining for a way to get attention on a Floyd Mayweather Jr. undercard, he went the ethnically insensitive route by derogatorily celebrating a defeat of one Carlos Molina.

In case you haven’t seen it already, crawl out from under your rock and take a look (Warning: language NSFW).

It was juvenile and self-congratulatory.

In Broner-speak, it was par for the post-fight course.

Still, after he was chastised by Showtime’s Jim Gray, the incident was also well on its way to becoming old news, thanks in no small way to the novelty of Mayweather actually being in a close fight.

In fact, the 114-114 card turned in by Michael Pernick marked just the third time that any judge saw him as anything less than a winner of a match that had gone the scheduled four, six, 10 or 12 rounds.

Out of 60 possible scorecards in 20 distance fights, he’s now won on 57, lost on one and drawn on two.

So when it came to Sunday post-mortems, Broner’s childish jibber-jabber was barely a bullet point amid calls for a September rematch and suggestions that “Money” had perhaps gotten old overnight.

Just as the Broner silliness threatened to drift into oblivion, though, in came the WBC to save the day.

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 11:  WBC Executive Director Mauricio Sulaiman speaks during the final news conference for the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on September 11, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The figh
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

On May 7, three full days after his comments, the Mexico City-based organization saw fit to take up the cause of “fair play and human equality” by chastising its former lightweight champion for offending “many persons of the world” and demanding he either clarify his intent or apologize outright.

And until doing so, it said, he’d be barred from competing for WBC titles and stricken from its rankings.

Forget that there was no WBC belt on the line in the Molina fight. Forget that Broner hadn’t actually fought for a WBC title in 15 months. And forget that, by winning the WBA’s international 140-pound title against Molina, he’d still moved closer to the front of the line to fight its super lightweight champion—Danny Garcia—who conveniently holds the WBC’s version of the divisional empire, too.

That didn’t matter to Mauricio Sulaimán.

The masses needed saving from the likes of Broner. And he was the man to do it.

By taking a stand for “the public of the world,” the son of the late Jose Sulaimán was able to spin his organization as an all-inclusive island in a teeming sea of Donald Sterlings, while perhaps buying a day or two of goodwill from a media horde hard-wired to focus on its iffy rankings and dubious champions.

Still, while he’s been stripped of significance when it comes to the WBC’s top 40 rankings at either 147 or 140 pounds, Broner’s hardly been rendered status-less by competing sanctioning bodies. The evidence lies in his No. 2 and No. 8 placements at 147 by the WBO and IBO, and his No. 4 positioning at 140 by the WBA, whose aforementioned champion, Garcia,is also seen as kingpin by the WBC.

In terms of blocking paths to titles, this is the PR equivalent of an emperor with no clothes.

Not to mention that it flies in the face of past WBC hi-jinks, like when Mike Tyson was free to fight for its heavyweight title in 2002 after claiming he didn’t do interviews with women unless he fornicated with them, and how Mayweather was told the “WBC (would) always stay strongly in his corner” even as he was sentenced to 90 days for a domestic violence charge in 2011.

Mayweather was the organization’s welterweight champ at the time, but the duality stretched a year earlier with him, too, when the WBC was mum as he took to the Internet to label Manny Pacquiao—ironically, right before the Filipino fought for a WBC title—as a “little yellow chump” and a “midget.”

As the old saying goes, never let morality get in the way of a good sanctioning fee.

But whether you choose to bury the purveyors of the green belt or to praise them, the reality is that the WBC is actually wading into waters in which it has no rightful place.

While nearly all would agree that Broner’s a dolt, it’s not the responsibility of a kudos-seeking sanctioning group to weigh in on a fight in which it had no role. If anyone is truly outraged about what he said, let them direct their angst toward Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime—because it’s only an impact on their bottom line that’ll prompt his actual erasure from the main stage.

Meantime, Mauricio, it’s probably better you stick to rankings.