The Great Pretender

By Wrigley Brogan on June 10, 2018
The Great Pretender
It’s unlikely Horn can add new skills to his game. No great pretender can. (Wrigley Brogan)

There have always been great pretenders in boxing, men who have won skeptical decisions and have even walked away with coveted championships…

LAS VEGAS, Nevada—There have always been great pretenders in boxing, men who have won skeptical decisions and have even walked away with coveted championships. Such decisions are not the fault of the winners and they should not be criticized.

One of the more ridiculous and obvious pretenders occurred through the bout between Bob Fitzsimmons and Tom Sharkey in 1896 at Mechanic’s Pavilion in San Francisco. The fight featured one of boxing’s first phantom punches. The fight was to determine the legitimate heavyweight champion. Both sides accepted Wyatt Earp as the referee. Earp was friends with Sharkey’s manager and it was rumored that he was paid $10,000 to throw the fight. It was also rumored that Earp bet the money on Sharkey to win. All this is speculation and accounts vary.

Fitzsimmons beat Sharkey, who was suffering from syphilis, half to death. One newspaper of the day said “Fitzsimmons had been robbed in the most cold-bloodied manner,” and that Fitzsimmons had clearly won by “punching Tom Sharkey into insensibility.”

That is not how Earp found the bout. Fitzsimmons landed two vicious left hooks directly on the jaw of Sharkey and dropped him to the canvas where he was unable to rise. Fitzsimmons raised his arms in victory and pranced around the ring. Earp, seeing his investment slipping away, conferred with Sharkey’s manager. A minute later he declared Sharkey the winner claiming that he had been fouled. He said he was hit low. Then he said that he had been kneed. Earp quickly jumped through the ropes and disappeared with his winnings.

More recently, no one was more surprised over his win against Manny Pacquiao than Timothy Bradley. Algieri over Ruslan Provodnikov was closer. Algieri landed more punches although Provodnikov was more effective and more powerful. Algieri also went down twice. Future fights quickly exposed him as an imposter. Jeff Horn’s win over Pacquiao had many fans outraged. Several times during the bout, Horn was ready to quit. Yet, with great heart, he managed to fight on and earn a championship.

Horn is little more than a glorified club fighter. He would not be listed as a top 10 contender except that, given the deluge of organizations, there now exist about 100,000 top ten contenders in each weight class. To not be a top 10 contender in some organization means you never set foot in a gym or you have only one arm. (Mention the truth too often and one can end up like Teddy Atlas.)

Horn’s poor skills were clearly demonstrated in his first defense against Gary Corcoran. Horn struggled through the fight. Fortunately for him, Corcoran stood directly in front of him, suffered a bad cut, and the fight was stopped in the 11th round.

That brings us to Horn/Crawford at the MGM Grand. Horn came in overweight. Not much, just enough to be an embarrassment for any professional, especially a champion. Making weight is the one thing a professional boxer must do. Horn is limited to aggression and a great heart. That worked well for men like Marciano, LaMotta, and Gene Fulmer. He’s a come-ahead puncher. If Crawford gets distracted he could get caught. But that’s unlikely. He occasionally runs around with his tongue out, but only from a distance.

Crawford has it all, great footwork, slick body movement, hard puncher, fights equally well in either left or right handed positions, respectable chin, adaptable, smart, articulate, and a devastating smile.

The fight went as expected. Horn came out strong like a bull charging a matador. Of course the matador always wins. He tires out the bull, constantly sticks him, makes sure he never stands where the bull expects him, and finally cuts him down. The fight was stopped in the 9th round.

Although Horn was game he never found an answer for Crawford’s movement. All Horn could do was charge. Adaptability is the key to any prolonged success in life. Even Henry Ford realized he could not complete in the auto industry unless he painted some of his cars a color other than black.

It is unlikely that Horn can add any new skills to his game. No great pretender can.

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  1. ceylon mooney 04:00am, 06/11/2018

    “Algieri also went down twice. Future fights quickly exposed him as an imposter. “

    absolutely not true. nope. future fights validated him but didnt make him popular. he beat bone, gave khan a run for his money, and of course was overwhelmed by pacquiao. then spence smoked him. no imposter, no “exposed” whatsoever.  he lost to better, stronger, faster fighters. the big surprise was how well he did against khan. you COULD say provodnikov was exposed, but that wouldnt be fair. he got outboxed, plain and simple.

  2. Peter 08:13pm, 06/10/2018

    When a dirty, unskilled fighter and a loser was gifted a win in his home country and then put in a big stage against a young champion like Crawford, thats what will happen always. LOL Serves him right for pretending that he deserves to be on that stage. LOL Karma always catches cheaters.

  3. Primitivo Ibik Ala 03:17pm, 06/10/2018

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  4. Kid Blast 11:42am, 06/10/2018

    If Horn is a “club fighter,” what is Pac?

    Bit harsh methinks.

  5. Levi 06:37am, 06/10/2018

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j07uqEiS1-M

  6. Your Name 04:01am, 06/10/2018

    Now back to the latrine down under for the loudmouth. Beaten and humiliated!!!

  7. Rob 02:04am, 09/21/2014

    I think the jury is still out on just how much natural talent Broner actually has. It is certainly huge, but is it enough to be one of the greats?
    For me the answer is no. His massive lack of foot movement is something that goes beyond style. He is going to have the learn some movement that is instinctive in great fighters.

  8. GlennR 03:06pm, 09/18/2014

    With ya there Clarence!

  9. The Barker 12:49pm, 09/18/2014

    The fact is you can’t do what he has without having elite talent. The potential is there, I just don’t see Broner digging any deeper than he has.

  10. Eric 12:19pm, 09/18/2014

    I love that San Diego Charger lid that AB is wearing, Charger powder blue unis are the coolest in pro football IMO. That lightning bolt on the white helmet is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and just tops off the uni perfectly. Vikings and Chargers have some cool lids, not much for either team, but definitely will aquire the hats. Regarding AB, he’s a talented fighter, but not a great one. I see Broner as a poor man’s Floyd Jr. Unlike Floyd, I think Broner is just clownish, and deep down not that bad an individual. Even when Floyd Jr. puts on his false modesty act, you can tell the guy is full of himself, I really don’t get those same vibes from seeing Broner. Loved a video that I saw of Floyd pulling into a Mickey D’s after his fight with Canelo, the guy at the window had no idea who Floyd was, and this was in Vega$ no less, Floyd’s adopted hometown. That had to hurt someone as fragile and insecure as Floyd appears to be, pretty big order for just two people though, 6 egg McMuffins, 8 hash browns, and 3 large OJs. Even though Floyd would probably dominate, I still would love to see a Broner-Mayweather Jr. fight.

  11. Pete The Sneak 11:48am, 09/18/2014

    With all due respect to the writer, the only thing aptly categorized to be meshed in ahead of the phrase “of all time” in regards to Broner may perhaps be ‘Biggest bust.’..Peace.

  12. bk don 11:31am, 09/18/2014

    No fair Clarence!l Even at 23 or 24 Broner has accomplished more than Bojado ever did. The only thing i really remember Bojado for is looking like Fernando Vargas.

    Good piece Jonhathan! However, it’s completely unfair to throw TO into the “celebrity first” category. That man put up hall of fame stats in his career. Did you see what he did in the super bowl, on a “severely sprained ankle and a fractured fibula?” 9 catches for over 120 yards w/a qb throwing to him who reportedly was so shook he puked during the game.

    I agree that Broner didn’t take “heed” to the startling loss to Maidana and change his approach to the game. I wonder if he simply is who he is. Some of these guys play around w/the sport until their 30 and the paydays look like they’re about to dry up. Broner is still getting 7 figure paychecks and big cable ratings, so unless he has a inner desire to be great he’ll settle for giving 75% of his self to the sport until his natural talent isn’t enough to carry him.

  13. Clarence George 10:58am, 09/18/2014

    “Adrien Broner possesses the natural ability to truly distinguish himself among the elite, not merely of this era, but of all time.”  Oh, I don’t agree with that at all.  Another Francisco Bojado is more like it.

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