Friday, 26 June 2015 18:17

Should fans be surprised by Broner’s loss to Porter?

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This past Saturday evening, Adrien “The Problem” Broner lost to “Showtime” Shawn Porter in a bout that was hyped as the battle of Ohio.

Porter hails from Cleveland (a.k.a. C-Town or the Sixth City) and Broner came up in Cincinnati (a.k.a. The Queen City), demonstrating that the Buckeye state continues to generate world champion-level talent in and out of the squared circle. Both men come from humble beginnings, but that’s nothing new or unusual when it comes to the fight game.

(Image courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions)

The match-up had the makings of a true interstate rivalry and if it would’ve turned out to be a highly exciting, competitive event, there easily could’ve been significant demand for a rematch. And a rematch only would’ve further intensified the rivalry. However, Broner’s showing was far from a star-quality performance, and although it was an ugly fight, Porter scrapped his way to a decisive victory. The official scores were 114-112, 118-108 and 115-111, all in favor of “Showtime.” Fight Saga scored the bout 117-109 for the winner.

From the early rounds, Porter established the role of effective aggressor and stalked Broner around the ring like a hungry lion poised to unleash treacherous fury. “The Problem” seemed comfortable accepting the role of a safety-first defensive-minded counterpuncher, boxing off of his back foot. But his counterpunching throughout the first few rounds was only marginally effective, as Porter continued to close the gap, relentlessly pressure his foe and throw heavy leather from inside mid-to-close range.

"That's how you beat a great fighter, intelligently," Porter said in the post-fight interview. "We did everything we needed to do in preparation. We wanted to establish our jab, establish that we were the better boxer... This is a great fight for us, a great win."

After the first few stanzas it became clear to most observers that Broner was excessively holding, clinching, tying-up and grappling his opponent in order to avoid taking hard shots and subsequent damage. There were a couple of times when he even attempted to tackle Porter beneath the waist. By the middle rounds, it became obvious that “The Problem” was more than willing to stink out the joint in order to avoid being embarrassed, knocked down or even stopped by the seemingly hungrier Porter. It’s safe to say that referee Tony Weeks also lost a few fans because he refused to deduct a point from Broner until the 11th round— although he’d already issued more warnings than most fans cared to count.

In fact, Broner’s holding and clinching was so excessive that it should be compared to Wladimir Klitschko’s abysmal grappling-style performance against Alexander Povetkin in Moscow back in 2013. But the difference is that Dr. Steelhammer still managed to knock Sasha down four different times before cruising to a wide unanimous decision victory. 

Why many boxing writers/analysts were not surprised

Although Broner—the highly-touted prospect who dominated the Junior Lightweight and Lightweight weight classes en route to becoming a three-division world champion at Welterweight—was being hyped by many as the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the heir apparent to his throne, there were plenty of critics as well. But from what basis where were all their doubts and criticism coming from?

If you go back and watch tape of Broner’s close and controversial win over Pauli Malignaggi in 2013, it becomes clear why some boxing scribes and pundits felt the split decision victory could’ve gone either way. Malignaggi was by far the busier fighter and some argue that many of his body blows were not accurately scored and compiled in the CompuBox stats. Those supporting “The Problem’s” paper-thin win argue that he landed the cleaner, harder punches throughout the fight. Those opposed to the decision contest that Broner never legitimately hurt, staggered or knocked Malignaggi down, so the judging was completely subjective and somewhat off base.

After nearly losing to Malignaggi, getting beat-up by Marcos Maidana, and then dropping a lop-sided decision to Porter…perhaps it’s time Broner starts rethinking the “About Billions” slogan he’s been donning on his trunks for his past few fights? Because in the opinions of many, his career is starting to look a whole lot more like “About Millions.” And if his handlers dare to match him up with the world’s top-tier fighters at 140-147 lbs (e.g., Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, Terence Crawford and Ruslan Provodnikov, his career might start looking a lot more like “About Thousands.”

"I'm okay, my kids are okay, I'm financially fine, and it was a good fight. I'm okay," Broner stated. "At the end of the day, great champions can take a good loss, and great champions take a good win like they take a loss."

"It's okay. I'm a real animal. I came to fight today, I didn't get the decision, but I'm okay. Everyone will still want my autograph and take my picture." 

Autographs and pictures aside, boxing fans are naturally and inherently an unforgiving crowd. A prizefighter only has so many opportunities to prove his mettle, worth and star-power on the biggest stages in the sport. Up to this point, Broner’s friendship and alliance with the legendary Floyd “Money” Mayweather and his associates has helped to keep his name and his bouts in the spotlight. But how many more losses can Broner afford to suffer before his shine starts to dim and fade away—even among his most loyal of fans?