Adrien Broner and the Not Floyd Mayweather Club

By Cheekay Brandon on March 26, 2013
Adrien Broner and the Not Floyd Mayweather Club
In the end, no one really KNOWS if Adrien Broner’s act is genuine or a copycat act.

Mayweather would fall on the ectomorph side. Broner is more of a classic mesomorph. And the body types lend themselves to differing athletic gifts…

Floyd Mayweather Jr.‘s legacy as all-time great has officially been fortified.

This is not because of anything Floyd has done in the ring recently, nor because of his outside-the-ring activity (moneymaking ventures, etc.). The newest addition to the Mayweather resume, believe it or not, has nothing to do with him at all. It relates to an alternative, but no less apt, definition of greatness: you’re great when the world delivers imitation after imitation, people routinely compared to you for reasons that are weak at best.

In the case of Floyd Mayweather Jr., the comparisons started in 2009 with Devon Alexander. At the time, Alexander sat towards the top of a crop of young junior welterweights who looked to take over boxing in the post-Mayweather/Pacquiao world (along with Amir Khan, Lamont Petersen and Timothy Bradley). 

Demographically he fit the bill—an African-American fighter in a weight range similar to Floyd. Early on, Alexander appeared faster than his opponents, demonstrated boxing skills, hand speed and slickness. After his knockout victory over Juan Urango (March 2010) the world was hell-bent on the comparison: this is the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. Notably absent from the comparison was the personalities. Alexander, unlike Floyd, was mostly regarded as an unassuming good guy from humble beginnings.

Thankfully, the Alexander-Mayweather comparison didn’t last very long. If it didn’t end the night of his unimpressive decision victory (bogus in my opinion) over Andriy Kotelnyk (August 2010), it definitely ended with an underwhelming performance in a loss to Timothy Bradley (January 2011). The comparison withered, not because Alexander lost, but because we recognized that Alexander is nothing like Floyd Mayeather Jr. Alexander can appear stiff, distracted and fixated, a boxing bipolarism that authors some puzzlingly mediocre performances. He seems to have ironed out some of the flaws in his toolkit, and now appears primed to succeed as a workman-style boxer-puncher with good all-around skills (in the Cory Spinks mold) rather than a wunderkind with hall of fame potential.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the Alexander comparison, we move to our next object, Adrien “The Problem” Broner.  He is unquestionably among the most talented rising stars in boxing and, along with Canelo Alvarez, has been charged with moving the sport into the future. Unlike Devon Alexander, Broner’s comparison to Mayweather includes his boxing persona. He is brash, outspoken, cocky and the rest of the laundry list of adjectives that many use to describe Mayweather’s behavior. More importantly, like Mayweather (and unlike Alexander), “The Problem” has backed it up in the ring, most notably in his thrilling 8th round TKO mauling of lightweight champion Antonio Demarco (Nov. 2012).

Unfortunately for Broner, the Mayweather comparison doesn’t stand up to heightened scrutiny either. And that is, neither the boxing comparison nor the persona comparison.

Broner vs. Mayweather: The Boxers

Both are right-handed. Both utilize the unorthodox shoulder roll. Both are effective counterpunchers. Both began their professional careers near the 130-pound weight class, in their 19th year. That sounds like a lot in common and whether it justifies a running parallel between the two depends on what you believe to be essential boxing characteristics. From the sweet science perspective, the similarities end there and none of them are particularly essential. 

The differences begin with traits that have nothing to do with the punches. Using the now mostly outdated (but still utilized) somatotype characterization for physical body types, Mayweather would fall farther on the ectomorph side than Broner, who is more of a classic mesomorph. And the body types lend themselves to differing athletic gifts, which translate into styles. Mayweather Jr. is a classic boxer-puncher, the best of his generation. While pre-welterweight Mayweather was a physical marvel who could overpower opponents, even as a youth we recognized that the method to his magic was above the neck—Mayweather is a cognitive, perceptive, adaptive, boxing savant who takes in more information about his opponent per unit time than anyone in the game. 

Adrien Broner, on the other hand, is mostly a below-the-neck fighter. While Broner has already dealt with some uncomfortable fights (like his fight vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon), he’d much rather exert his will than adapt or react. This is to say nothing bad about him—many of the all-time greats fit the mold. And even intelligent pure boxers can still dominate using below-the-neck skills. Most recently, Manny Pacquiao, Roy Jones Jr., and Wladimir Klitschko—three future hall of famers—made their mark primarily because of their below-the-neck gifts. This isn’t to diminish the importance of training, or approach. What it is saying is that some fighters win because of their ability to outwit opponents, and others because of their ability exert their natural abilities on a lesser opponent in an effective manner. Mayweather defines the former. Broner fits into the latter.

Lastly, we must compare the importance of defense in their respective boxing quivers. Floyd puts a premium on defensive prowess; he generally sets up his offense with his defense and has been able to succeed for so long in large part because he hasn’t accumulated very much punishment. While Floyd certainly shows signs of aging, there is little doubt he can fight competitively until he’s 40, should he choose. While Broner can be elusive with good reflexes and is able to evade opponents when he needs to, his philosophy resides much closer to the “take one punch to give a punch” school of thought. He is adept at picking off punches and minimizing target angles, but takes far more punishment, especially to the body, than Floyd Mayweather did at the same stage.

Broner vs. Mayweather: The Personalities

Broner and Mayweather might actually be further apart in personality than in boxing style. For one, there is the ontogeny of Mayweather’s inflated self-esteem: unlike Broner, it isn’t borne out of thin air or a marketing machine. Floyd saved his cocky act for much later in his career: Pre-Arturo Gatti, Mayweather was mostly gracious with nothing more than a standard dosage of bravado for a young American boxer. The inflation of Mayweather’s public persona developed as a product of resentment towards boxing’s power structure that he felt exploited or unfairly criticized by. After he saw that he could cash in on it, he decided to add kerosene to it, which is partly responsible for his wealth. In his words—“Some pay to see me win, some pay to see me lose, but they all pay.”

Broner’s braggadocio is far less genuine. It has none of these origins and appears to be manufactured mimicry for the purpose of building the name brand. Even more, it’s partly authored by the same people who built Mayweather’s brand—Al Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions. And because of that, it’s less authentic, believable and tolerable (to many). 

But in the end, no one really knows if Broner’s act of flushing money down the toilet, having his hair brushed in the ring, or general obnoxiousness is genuine or a copycat act. And the legitimacy of our criticisms of his behavior partly reside in whether or not it is successful in building the Broner brand; if it is, then our moral superiority (that screams “you shouldn’t do that, Adrien!”) is misplaced. 

We do, however, know that Broner has proved relatively little and that the only place he’s best served mimicking Mayweather is in boxing accomplishments. Time will tell if the “The Problem” can reach “Money” status in the only category that really matters.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

HBO Boxing: Devon Alexander vs. Juan Urango Highlights (HBO)

HBO Boxing: Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley Highlights (HBO)

HBO Boxing: Portrait Of A Fighter - Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner vs Daniel Ponce de Leon [Full Fight]

Miguel Cotto vs Floyd Mayweather Jr 05-05-2012

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  1. Jeff Nice 10:28pm, 06/25/2013

    I don’t get it they call broner the next mayweather just watched the paulie m and broner fight sorry boys broner is not that impressive gets way to much credit in my opinion paulie m worked that guy in the the ring and lost in a split broner has no business being compared to mayweather that’s that

  2. Michael Hegan 05:17pm, 06/23/2013

    remember that guy with the plaster of a hairdo…..Newt Gingrich….
    he ran out of gas because…..NOT THAT HE WAS A FAT FUK…..NOT THAT HE HAD BEEN ON BOTH SIDES OF EVERY BILL PRESENTED WHILE HE WAS IN OFFICE….IT was because he had more divorces than I did…and still knocked up a couple on the side…

    Newt….nuked himself…when he was trying to get the nomination of the christian nazis…

    as for his massive bulk…he never strapped ‘em up….I’m sure

  3. Michael Hegan 05:10pm, 06/23/2013

    about those arrests in USA…...a lot of corrections facilities are now for profit…and the incarceration rate in USA has exploded.  The more prisoners…the more profit

    maybe there is no connection….and maybe there is.

  4. Michael Hegan 05:04pm, 06/23/2013

    cheekay brandon…...what a great article….and so many responses some agree ...some don’t ......

    Nice one

  5. Michael Hegan 05:00pm, 06/23/2013

    anybody remember BOBBY HULL….The Golden Jet…Hockey player…first one to make a million dollars a yr.

    He was with his brother Dennis Hull…at a fund raiser to get the NHL back in Winnipeg Manitoba…
    ..a slinky young thing came up to him and said…‘BOBBY…MY MOM SAYS THAT YOU’RE MY DAD’.....
    Bobby Hull never missed a beat and said…’.Well honey…..say hello to Uncle Dennis….(I ‘d have to conclude that that wasn’t the first time this had occurred with Bobby Hull)

  6. Michael Hegan 04:52pm, 06/23/2013

    stanley ketchel….a fighter who is even revered today…what ...almost a century after he left us…”“”
    This guy was not to be confused with a kind, warm ...God fearing , hard working man of the people…
    He was way passed modern nut cases like Ike Ibeabuchi…

    Fighters are…..well…..given a wider envelope than other athletes…..(wrongly of course)

  7. Michael Hegan 03:46pm, 06/23/2013

    david matthews…..I watched intently for that ‘dynamic..accurate and hard puncing ’ boner we were led to believe that eleven to one odds were justified…….what ????? boner got sick and he sent in his twin brother ???

  8. Michael Hegan 03:37pm, 06/23/2013

    hey thresher..Re your first post…..

    ..I did all those things in what was West Germany ‘68 (with some good lads from the paratroopers from the uk)...and we were with the NATO group….we only got to do an overnight…..and they even pay for the train ticket to get us home…..which is French for getting us the fk outta dodge..
    Little did we know that we might be cannon fodder ...when Czechoslovakia was trying…ONE MORE TIME…to leave the Soviet Union….and we were supposed to be at full strength…

    Thankfully….we went home…...conventional weapons ...west one ...Soviets ...sixteen hundred…..

    not a good bargaining situation….and the Czechs stayed with the Soviet Union…..willingly of course

    Nobody can tell anybody who is ninety percent testosterone….nine percent water ..meat and bone….and ten percent snot , dink and brains about anything

  9. Gajjers 12:03pm, 04/04/2013

    Hi Thresh, that was an interesting observation you made. What do you read into the startlingly low proportion of silent (non-posting) readers? They probably subscribe to the notion that if you’ve got nothing nice to say regarding the subject matter, you should just zip your lip. Also, which titles are you referring to? P4P titles, Paper titles or some other?

  10. the thresher 07:57am, 04/04/2013

    Note the ratio of reads to posts—6600 to 23. That’s all about having Mayweather and Broner in the same title. Incredible stuff. Have to wonder which one is the draw, or maybe because they are BOTH in there. Very interesting from a writer’s perspective and further evidence that titles are of utmost importance.

  11. the thresher 07:47am, 04/04/2013

    Actually it was Donaire who was at ringside who suggested the comparison. Once he did, I then noticed it as well and it was startling in his similarity. This kid can really fight and has the amateur pedigree to back it up, Max kept reminding us (at least 10 times) that he was from Omaha and because of that, he might be suspect. A true assholiness-type comment. I guess the sun rises and sets in NYC for Max.

  12. Gajjers 07:15am, 04/04/2013

    Yeah, Thresh - I just read a couple of reviews of the Prescott fight. Crawford’s record (25-0 with 20 KOs) suggests he has more pop in his punches than Sweet Pea did (funny, but the same punching power comparison is being made between Mayweather & Broner, in favor of Broner), but the reviews were less than flattering, saying stuff like “all of 11 fans applauded his points win”, which suggested that he kinda stunk the joint out. He’s well positioned division-wise though (140 lb & 147 lb rock right now),  so with the proper management & match-making, he could make some real waves. One to watch for sure…

  13. the thresher 06:55am, 04/04/2013

    Gajjers, he beat Prescott on the undercard of the Rios-Alvarado card. He is as slick as snot and bears watching. He has future champion written all over him.

  14. Gajjers 06:19am, 04/04/2013

    Thanks, Thresh - Terrence Crawford you say? Never heard of him - I’ll make sure I check him out… I wonder who his trainer is - it can’t be easy to mold such a style, but on the other hand, it could be as easy as just saying “go get ‘em, kid!”, before exiting the ring yourself.

  15. the thresher 05:49am, 04/04/2013

    Gajjers, this kid Terrence Crawford out of Omaha reminds me of Pernell. He has some great moves. A real slickster.

  16. Gajjers 03:44am, 04/04/2013

    I’m chiming in a bit late, but “...maybe you listened to too many former girlfriends…” who called Cheekay Brandon a jerk, likely makes one glad one isn’t a girl, so couldn’t possibly ever be one of Cheekay’s ex-girlfriends. But I bet you’d be at least a bit alarmed, should you see your sister showing more than a passing affection for him. Just saying, but our choice of sporting favorites have a lot to do with OUR impressions of them as people, not just as athletes. It’s very difficult to separate these two sides of (almost inevitably) multifaceted performers. Doesn’t mean you won’t watch them, but it sure makes it difficult to root for them, if you don’t like the personalities you perceive them to possess. Mayweather’s current wealth has as much to do with those who root against him, as it has to do with those who root for him. Either way, they still pay (to see him). Same thing happened with Clay-turned-Ali. Some say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but in order to pull it off, the imitator must at least approximate the original’s professional accomplishments. The ball is firmly in Broner’s court right now. Going slightly off-topic - regarding imitation & flattery, how come I haven’t yet seen any Whitaker-wannabes, ring-wise? Is his defensive style too far off the charts for anyone to even attempt to emulate?

  17. THE THRESHER 04:52pm, 03/30/2013


  18. THE THRESHER 04:51pm, 03/30/2013

    How can you not like a guy who doesn’t disagree with you even though you know he really does.


  19. Cheekay Brandon 01:39pm, 03/30/2013

    I don’t disagree with either Thresher or David.

    Here’s my formal take on it-

    The reason why I *attempt* (am not always successful) to separate the two (inside-the-ring/field/court and outside the ring/field/court) is because in only one of those arenas am I 100% sure of the actions, comfortable with my conclusions. 

    Sure, the details of the personal life are relevant: if an athlete is a terrible, vile person, then absolutely—it’s hard to get behind them.  The problem is this: whether I believe they are “terrible or vile” is usually based on observations that I didn’t make, by people I don’t know.  And while that might be ok *most of the time*, it fails too often to serve as a reliable mechanism through which you can conclude anything about anyone.

    For example: if enough people tell you that Cheekay Brandon is a jerk, you’re probably comfortable in your conclusion that Cheekay Brandon is a jerk.  But maybe you listened to too many former girlfriends? Or guys I dunked on in pickup basketball?  And maybe those people just happened to have jobs at a sports network, a large stage to shout from?

    It’s not only hypothetical. It happens. And those random people with random large stages end up dictating public opinion of a lot of people that none of us have actually met.

    The only thing you can be confident about is your opinion of my writing (please keep to yourself! LOL!).

    When it comes to Adrien Broner—I can’t conclude much about *him*, because I’m not sure if what I see on TMZ is true or a complete act.  I DO KNOW that he counterpunches like a beast, and fights masterfully on the inside. I DO KNOW that he looked brilliant against Demarco.

    So I tend to side with the details that I know for a FACT. Everything else I take with a grain of salt (of varying diameter).

  20. the thresher 11:57am, 03/29/2013

    They can’t but they take away from his totality as a boxing personality who shows disrespect for the sport (business).

  21. David Matthew 09:53am, 03/29/2013

    yes I saw the vid lol.  I’m by no way condoning such actions outside of the ring - but can those actions (as absurd as they may be) be used to not give him credit for his performances inside the ring?

  22. the thresher 07:55am, 03/29/2013

    We will have to agree to disagree on this because I will not budge. I have seen too many cases of where the outside behaviior ends up impacting the inside behavior. And I never mentioned ring skills. What I am referring to, in part, is the aura and persona of a fighter. Chris Byrd will never be in Tthe Hall, but his behavior outside ofthe ring was exemplary as was Vernon Forestt’s.

    It’s a tricky concept, but for me, I simply will not look at Broner in the same way notwithsttanding his skill level. BTW, have you seen the xxx video? lol. I can send it to you vis email. :twisted:

  23. David Matthew 07:33am, 03/29/2013

    thresh - while that may be the case when it comes to tyson and valero - it hasn’t been the case with Broner (yet) - and certainly hasn’t been the case with Mayweather, who has showed no sign of lack of focus or dynamism in the ring - even at 36.  As such, I think it’s important not to allow one’s personal opinion of his private life to interfere with their analysis of his performances inside the ring.

  24. the thresher 05:52am, 03/29/2013

    David, when one is arrested for an alleged offense, that becomes part and parcel of one’s professional life.
    It happened to Valero—and to Mayweather and Tyson. It interfered with their boxing careers and in Tyson’s case may have impacted his once fearsome aura in the ring.

    One arrest is no big thing, but combined with other warning signs, it could lead to his eventual downfall thus making it impossible to watch his “marvelous ability in the ring.” I just don’t see how you can separate the two when it comes to boxing. But I get your points and understand them.

  25. David Matthew 02:35pm, 03/26/2013

    @Cheekay - well-said.  I’ve always found it important to separate one’s private life from their professional life, particularly when you are evaluating athletic performance.  I’m a huge fan of Broner, the boxer—and that won’t change because he flushed money down the toilet.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing his dynamic talent in action and will comment on his in-the-ring accomplishments in their proper context.  We all will have something to say about one’s behavior - be it an athlete or just an associate upon whose actions we disprove of - and as humans - we like certain people for particular reasons, and dislike others for diff. reasons.  Broner’s reputation is both based on his in-ring exploits and how he conducts himself as a human being, and I don’t have a problem with commenting on both of those, but it should never be used to cast judgment.  In other words, instead of casting judgment on him flushing $ down the toilet (which is his right to do w/ his own money) - I would find it fitting for an elder in his circle to explain to him why that may not have been the wisest move, so he can see his actions through another lens.  But as far as his boxing abilities?  I totally agree that analysts should analyze him as a boxer, and not allow their distaste for his personality to blind their analysis.

  26. Cheekay Brandon 10:50am, 03/26/2013

    @David. Thanks for the input. Yeah, I probably didn’t make that point as clearly as I should have. Moral stances are always relevant to the author of the morals, and it’s at least our right, if not duty, to express how we feel (depends, of course, on the issue).  If we think Broner is wrong for flushing money down the toilet, then that’s fine (I’m in this camp).  By “misplaced” I mean this: if Broner’s antics are rewarded, then what we think and how we judge him doesn’t mean much.  In fact, our moral superiority probably fuels the antics. Our best bet is to either ignore him entirely or focus on his inside-the-ring activities.  Our crusades won’t change him, or anyone else.  This is the only way to combat the WWF-ing of boxing—if we stop paying attention to the acts, then they lose their importance.

  27. the thresher 09:47am, 03/26/2013

    I believe flushing money down the toilet is illegal, but would probably be difficult to prove.

    Also, Broner’s taste in rap sucks to the max.

  28. David Matthew 09:13am, 03/26/2013

    Excellent piece - however, I disagree w/ the implication that one’s “moral ” objection of Broner flushing money down the toilet can be dismissed as long as it results in him “building his brand.”  Indeed, morality and corporate viability in the market-place are often necessarily at odds with one another.  As such, one’s moral objection can’t simply be brushed to the side (no pun intended) as long as the act in question makes $ and/or builds a brand.

  29. The Fight Film Collector 08:31am, 03/26/2013

    That Mr. Broner does a poor rendition of Mr. Mayweather’s act does not, in my opinion, elevate the latter’s status.  Both play to the same audience and mentality.  Winning fights attracts money, but does not make one a financial genius.  Acquiring wealth and holding on to it are two different things.

  30. the thresher 08:28am, 03/26/2013

    I am no longer a Broner fan, though I WILL watch him fight.

    I’ll even root for Paulie if they end up fighting even though PM’s chances are bewteen 0 and 0.

  31. AKT 07:21am, 03/26/2013

    “Below the neck and Above the neck skills”.
    “Mayweather is a cognitive, perceptive, adaptive, boxing savant who takes in more information about his opponent per unit time than anyone in the game” - I like that analysis a lot.

    You have definitely given a lot of thought to this. And I agree Mayweather’s braggado was definitely borne out his resentment for not being given “his just dues”, plus probably a bit of envy at Golden Boy.

    Adrien Broner really needs to pipe low otherwise, he may be headed towards an all mighty fall ...

  32. the thresher 05:27am, 03/26/2013

    If you add up the arrest, the display of having his lady friend comb his hair on TV, his flushing money down the toilet,, and his XXX video with the stripper in Florida, what you get are major warning signs that this kid is heading for a premature ending on what could be a great boxing career.

    We have seen this before. Tim after time. Scott Harrison in Scotland. Valero.  Floyd was able to heed the warning and is now worth over 100 mil. This kid is worth 1 mil. Floyd keeps the same close entourage of people around him. This kid doesn’t know what the word means.

    For me, the difference is that while his ring IQ is high, his real IQ is suspect and even challenged.

  33. Mike Casey 02:18am, 03/26/2013

    Mr Brandon very ably takes Mr Broner down a peg or two.

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