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Adrien Broner: It’s time for the ‘Problem’ to find the Solution

Adrien Broner boxing photo and news imageBy Robbie Bannatyn: On paper it looks like former three division world champion Adrien Broner is heading to the Boxing Hall of Fame, but he could be half way to gatekeeper status if he loses to Khabib Allakhverdiev on Saturday night at the U.S. Bank Arena, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

It seems fatalistic to assess  26 year old Adrien Broner’s career in this way, yet in the context of his situation it really isn’t that far from the truth. His comprehensive defeats to Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter proved he can’t cut it in the welterweight division, and anything less than a convincing victory against the unheralded Allakhverdiev will raise serious questions whether he can cope against the cream of the 140lb weight class.

It is time for the ‘Problem’ to find the solutions as he seeks his 4th divisional title when he tussles with Allakhverdiev for the WBA light welterweight strap tomorrow night. Accustomed to being the school bully of the 130lb & 135lb classes, the dogs of war in the welterweight divisions chase Broner around the ring like a little rabbit.

If he loses to Khabib Allakhverdiev, Broner, even in spite of his tender years, will be a hairs length away from a high level journeyman albeit a very decorated one. Even if Broner emerges victorious, where does he go from Allakhverdiev? Every direction he looks in the 10st division there are dangerous fighters willing him into the lions den.

The languid Broner would likely get torn apart like wet tissue paper by the thunderous punching of Ruslan Provodnikov, whereas a talented boxer-puncher in the mold of Lucas Matthysse would make play dough out of his face. Lets not even talk about the boxing lesson a supreme technician such as Terrence Crawford could give to Broner.

What staggers the mind is that despite all the obvious flaws in his fighting style, Broner seems to compound his problems instead of learning from his mistakes. Although he displayed such a porous defence against Porter and Maidana, he inexplicably persisted with the faux Floyd Mayweather shoulder roll technique. He also tries to copy his idols anemic punch output with a work rate akin to a tranquilized heavyweight.

But while opponents struggle to register a clean blow on Mayweather, Broner gets his bell rung like an alarm clock when he faces a truly world class opponent. Instead of bolting the gate and keeping a high guard to block punches, he leaves himself as open as a broken cat flap.

Still, he could at least use movement and ring generalship to evade the advances of his attacker, but he seems beset by curious bouts of athletic Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) inside a boxing ring. While Broner idly postures in one place, his opponents buzz around him and punch him the face. In spite of the beatings, Broner stubbornly refuses to abandon his banal boxing style.

Yet it is by no means all doom and gloom, as Broner is prone to sporadic flashes of brilliance which suggest he is capable of being a far more productive prizefighter. Yet unfulfilled potential is just wasted talent, and unless the Problem finds the solution the fight will again get punched out of him the next time he enters the ring with an elite opponent.

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