Looking at Adrien Broner’s resume, it’s pretty spectacular.
Broner sports a record of 33-2 with 24 wins by knockout. He’s one of the biggest stars of the sport. He’s one of only 16 boxers to win four world titles in four different divisions. The others? Boxing legends Floyd Mayweather, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and Roberto Duran.
He will carry those accolades heading into the toughest fight of his career on Saturday when he goes up against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia in a non-title super lightweight bout on Saturday night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
While everything looks great on paper for Broner, it’s a must-win fight heading into Saturday night.
Garcia heads into the contest as a 3-1 favorite and will be the first time Broner’s ever gone into a contest as the underdog. How can a fighter whose done what Broner’s accomplished be the one not expected to win?
In boxing, records are illustrious but you have to look at the whole picture and see the competition Broner’s defeated. Even though he’s captured world titles at super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight and welterweight, Broner’s never been the best fighter in those weight classes.
He beat Martin Vicente Rodriguez to win his 130-pound belt, Antonio DeMarco for the lightweight title, Khabib Allakhverdiev for the super lightweight crown and Paulie Malignaggi for the welterweight championship crown. While those fighters were good for their time, they were never at the top of the heap in their respective divisions when the bouts took place.
That doesn’t mean Broner is a slouch with no skills. He has quick hands with above-average power. Winning four world titles in four different weight classes is nothing to thumb your nose at. While it’s a remarkable feat, of the 24 opponents Broner has knocked out, not one will sniff the Boxing Hall of Fame — unless they buy a ticket.
When the pressure’s been turned up and the lights have shined the brightest, Broner hasn’t showed up. He got dominated by former welterweight champions Marcos Maidana in 2013 and “Showtime” Shawn Porter in 2015.
If Garcia retired today, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He is Broner’s toughest test to date. However, Broner feels that isn’t necessarily the case.
“I mean, you can say that, but at the end of the day, man, I fought a lot of good fighters then, but I’m just worried about getting my victory, man,” Broner said at the pre-fight press conference earlier this week. “I can say the fact, but I ain’t trying to get into all that right now. I’m more focused and ready to fight.”
It is a poor assessment by Broner but one we shouldn’t be surprised by. Maybe though, he knows something about Garcia the rest of the world doesn’t.
This is the time for Broner to show everyone he is focused on his career, will take more seriously and become the star he feels he already is. A victory on Saturday night will quiet those critics.
If we see the fighter we saw in his last two fights and against Maidana and Porter, Broner will be just another cautionary tale: He’ll be known as nothing more than a media creation stuck being in gatekeeper fights to give other fighters a rub.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, “The Fight Junkies” here. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.