• Steve Bunce

Broner backlash should serve as a wake-up call

Steve Bunce December 17, 2013
Adrien Broner received a brutal beating from Marcos Maidana as he lost his WBA crown © AP

Adrien Broner has been annoying, outrageous, rude, sexist, unpleasant and one of the best fighters in the world for the last couple of years.

He has flushed dollar bills down the toilet, scuffled with innocent people, acted a fool in strip clubs and fought his heart out in savage fights. He is, make no mistake, a bundle of contradictions.

Last Saturday he was brutally beaten by Marcos Maidana, dropped in rounds two and eight and he left the ring with his jaw swollen and his pride battered. The rejoicing was quite incredible and Broner was showered with beer at the venue and smeared with just about every insult imaginable on Twitter.

Broner lost his WBA welterweight title and his unbeaten record in the ring, fought like an away fighter in a foreign city, was booed and jeered from start to finish and, amazingly, was still acting like an idiot after the fight. He insisted that he would continue to spend money, continue to party and not change his lifestyle. He was also reluctant to praise Maidana, who is a good fighter but not a great fighter, and in many ways that was his most offensive sin; Amir Khan, by the way, dropped Maidana and beat him in 2010 and then praised the Argentine warrior.

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It is sad that nobody in the Broner business has even thought about the kid's future. He is managed by Al Haymon, one of the most powerful and secretive men in sport. Haymon has, in my opinion, hurt his own reputation by not trying to curb some of Broner's stupidity. Managers and promoters and trainers have to share the responsibility for their boxer's excesses - they have no trouble sharing the spoils!

Broner is not the first fighter to act like a spoilt child, thug and bully and he will not be the last. The problem with Broner and his crass behaviour is that, as long as he was winning in style in the ring, nobody thought about his future. When he was the unbeaten world champion the illegal flushing of dollars down the toilet, the explicit films of him performing sex acts in strip clubs and his relentless dumb claims were somehow acceptable. Hopefully, he can now get on with the fighting, leave the entourage of brainless sycophants back on his neighbourhood corner and set about rebuilding his career.

I have been in the boxing business a long time and I have never seen anything quite like the collective joy that followed Broner's defeat - it was a great fight and yet his role has been overlooked as people high-five both online and in the flesh and celebrate the beating that he received. Those around Broner need to think long and hard about a way to bring him back with a different attitude - if I was letting him continue to act like a wannabe thug, I would struggle to look in the mirror each morning.

At the opposite end of the boxing scale to Broner there is a monumental nice guy called Vitali Klitschko. He wants to eventually be the President of Ukraine, which is not easy if you have a full-time job as the WBC's heavyweight champion of the world.

Vitali is routinely gassed during demonstrations for democracy in his beloved nation and is involved in more fights on the Kiev pavements than he is inside the ring. He is easy to spot during a demonstration, a vulnerable target and I can guarantee that when the police start slashing away with their batons Vitali stands firm.

It is with great regret that I have to report his long and often repetitive reign as WBC champion is over for the moment. He has stepped to one side, with the WBC's blessing, to pursue his political ambitions and his WBC title is now vacant. Big Vitali remains the WBC's Emeritus champ, which means that at any point in the future he can walk back in and get a fight for the title. He did this before, taking four years out between world title fights.

I will not prepare Vitali's boxing obit just yet. He will be back, I'm convinced of that.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.