By Bob Smith: Nearly all boxing fans are familiar with one of the rising young stars in boxing today, Adrien “The Problem” Broner. He is ranked #5 on the Golden Boy pound for pound list, AKA the Ring Magazine Pound for Pound List and arguably lives up to the hype of all but Golden Boy Promotions.
Since his unanimous decision victory in early 2011 against Daniel Ponce de Leon – which I actually scored as a loss for him or at best a draw – he has scored six straight KO victories against world class competition such as Vicente Escobedo, Antonio DeMarco and Gavin Rees.
The good news for Broner is as long as he is not overconfdent, he should KO Malignaggi in the middle to late middle rounds. Malignaggi is an experienced veteran and a world class fighter, but he is aging and his reflexes are not want they once were; moreover, in front of a home crowd it is very likely that he will not resist the temptation to go toe to toe with Broner or to try to counter-punch from off the ropes – I see this ending badly for Malignaggi and if Broner wins in a convincing fashion he may catapult up even further on the Golden Boy Pound for Pound list.
The problems for the problem arise after his victory, not before. He aspires to be a world class welterweight but enters arguably the deepest division in boxing today. For in the welterweight division there resides Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, all of whom would completely outclass Broner. But those three are not the only problems; Bradley would certainly beat Broner in a tough and contested unanimous decision through sheer work rate, technical skills, defense and strength of will; either Robert Guerrero or Andre Berto would demolish Broner with their combinations and punching power and skills and work rate. I could not honestly favor Broner over Ruslan Provodnikov either – Provodnikov is simply too aggressive and tough for Broner. Perhaps the only top 10 welterweight that Broner could defeat is Devon Alexander or Kell Brook, but I am not sure even of these.
If as expected Broner dominates Malignaggi, Broner would be well advised to drop down to 140 pounds to take on Lucas Matthysse, Garcia, or Mike Alvarado. I see Broner winning, but not gracefully, against the likes of Zab Judah, and he would struggle with the speed of Amir Khan or the toughness of Brandon Rios. Although I would favor Broner against either Matthysse or Danny Garcia, it would be good experience for him before he takes on the very elite welterweights, or even world class welterweights such as Guerrero or Berto, who at present would demolish and embarrass him.
It would not hurt Broner at all to take a break from welterweight for a fight or two and gain some experience and pick up a junior welterweight belt by taking on Danny Garcia or Matthysse. Only after he defeats either or both of these should he think about facing another top 10 welterweight other than Devon Alexander or Kell Brook is my opinion. He is still a tremendous talent but is not yet battle tested and seasoned in bouts with his equals. He should preserve his perfect record before risking it to face other top welterweights.