Published on February 19, 2013 | by George Preece

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Broner’s not part of the ‘problem’

Boxing is known as much for its bravery and skill, as it is for its showmanship. Photo by Kristin Wall

On Saturday night in Atlantic City, Adrien Broner enhanced his ever-growing reputation of being boxing’s next big superstar, following a five round master-class over Wales’ Gavin Rees.

But behind all the in-ring skills, comes a brash, arrogant and cocky fighter. It’s nothing new; fighters have been doing this since ‘the greatest’ of them all, Muhammad Ali. So do boxers really need to act like this?

In the build-up to the fight, Broner bragged that he didn’t know the name of his opponent, and that come Saturday night: “we will be eating ice cream in no time.” It may seem disrespectful but in boxing you have to sell a fight, the more you get people talking about a fight, the more likely they will watch or buy tickets.

Yes, sometimes there is genuine needle between two fighters, but nine times out of ten the two fighters will pull out all the stops to sell tickets. At the end of the day, boxing is a business.

‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed was very similar in his brashness and ring entrances. Some that included coming through a mock graveyard when fighting on Halloween, perhaps not the best of taste to mix boxing with graveyards. He also came into the ring on a flying carpet and singing on his way to the ring with a headset on – something that Broner does himself, or even with the hand of some big name rappers.

Whether you think that its arrogance or cockiness, it is entertainment, and entertainment sells.

And the ego-induced acts don’t stop after the fight. Following his victory on Saturday night, American broadcaster HBO were showing him his knockout of Rees, and when asked: “What is your best shot,” he simply replied: “When somebody takes a picture of me.”

Most of these interviews are accompanied by his father, who will stand by his side brushing his hair, something that has become a bit of a trademark for the man known as the Problem.

Many believe all this to be an act, and when speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, he gave Rees a lot of respect saying: “He’s tougher than a steak that’s been cooked too long.”

Broner is well aware that he is highly blessed with boxing skill, however, he says his time will come to be the biggest star in boxing after Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao retire.

What you can’t argue with is his talent. At 23 he is a two-weight world champion, holds an unblemished 26 fight record and will undoubtedly go on to be one of the biggest names the sport has ever produced.

So is what Broner is doing wrong or degrading for the sport? Not really, because every boxer has respect for one another, it is a violent sport but one that teaches self-discipline and respect, because in boxing all it takes is one punch to end a fight.

Broner is helping to revitalise boxing, he gets people talking, he generates a buzz, but best of all, he has the skills to back up all his bravado.

 

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