Adrien Broner and Devin Haney interested in fighting
By Sean Jones: Adrien Broner and Devin Haney talked today about potentially fighting at 135. Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs) said he might be returning to the ring in 2021, and he’s interested in coming down to lightweight for a fight against WBC champion Haney (24-0, 15 KOs).
Long before Haney emerged as a significant player at lightweight, Broner controlled the 135-lb division with an iron fist. He was so strong in that weight class, and it was perfectly suited to his body size. After seven years away, can Broner return to the 135lb division and be the same fighter he was in his prime? It’s possible.
Haney warns Broner to stay away from 135
Adrien Broner: “I might come back next year.”
Devin Haney: “Don’t come to 135”
Broner: “I might just meet you there you chump. I mean champ.”
Haney: “After we fight and after I win, you’re still going to be my big bro.”
Broner: “You’re always going to be my little bro no matter what, and I guess you’re one little bro that grow up and think he can beat this big bro. You know the end of those stories, right?”
Making a wise move, Nonito Donaire reinvented himself in his old weight class at 118 at the ripe age of 35-years-old. Like Broner, Donaire was a force of nature at 118, but he quickly moved out of the division in search of bigger fights at 122 and 126.
Although Donaire did find success in those weight classes, he wasn’t nearly as good as he was at 118. When Donaire started getting older, he found it tougher to get wins. To salvage his career, Donaire moved back down to 118, and he’s done well.
Lightweight = The only option for ‘The Problem’
It’s a good idea for the 31-year-old Broner to come back to his old weight class at 135, as he’s done about all he can do at 147. He’s no longer winning his essential fights, and if he stays in the division any longer, he’ll ruin his career.
Broner fought at 135 in 2012 and 2013, and he was dominant in that weight class. Although Adrien could have stayed in the division and continued to do well, he chose to move up two weight classes to take on WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi in 2013.
Broner won the fight to capture the WBA 147lb title, and he’s been fighting in that weight class for the last seven years. Other than the paydays Broner got against fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Mikey Garcia, Marcos Maidana, and Shawn Porter; he wasn’t able to excel in that division as he’d done at 130 and 135.
If Broner had the power, speed, and punch output to fight at 140, he could resurrect his career in that weight class but he doesn’t. In three of those categories, Broner comes up short of the mark.
He’s too slow, too weak, and doesn’t throw enough punches to compete with the top light welterweights. Moreover, Broner likely would be ignored by the top guys at 140 because they’re all signed with Top Rank.
Hearn interested in Broner vs. Haney
Haney’s promoter Eddie Hearn would be interested in setting up a fight between Devin and Broner, but not if it’s going to cost him $10 million. Broner is going to have to come down drastically from his asking price and start talking sense if he wants to fight Haney or any of the champions.
The days of Broner getting huge paydays as the B-side opponent are over for now. If he wants to turn things around, he’s going to need to rebuild his career at 130 or 135 and put together wins over the top-level guys. Adrien is going to need to swallow his pride and get what money the promoters are willing to pay for him to be the B-side against their fighters.
If Broner can beat Haney and or Gervonta Davis at 135, his career is going to take off like before. It certainly seems possible that Broner can turn his career around at lightweight, but it starts with him. He can’t price himself out for these matches by asking for $10 million or even $5 million.
When Broner talks about those numbers, he comes across as disengaged mentally and living in a fantasy world. It’s as if Broner is another Rip Van Winkle, who falls asleep for 20 years, and when he wakes up, he thinks things are still as they were.
Adrien doesn’t call the shots anymore
Broner doesn’t posses the cache that he had back in 2013 when he moved up to welterweight. The last seven years of Broner’s career has been hard, and his success, such as it is, ha been limited to beating scrubs.
He’s failed virtually every time he stepped up, and he was arguably saved from losses to Jessie Vargas and Adrian Granados by favorable scoring by the judges. The reality is, Broner should have lost to Vargas and Granados, which would mean he’s been beaten in his last four fights.
Broner’s record should be 6-6 in his last 12 fights, which is horrible for someone that is deceiving himself by asking for $10 million to fight. With a record like that, Broner should be getting a small fraction of that amount as a B-side opponent.
Broner is even too small for the 140lb division, which is ruled by the hulking Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, and Regis Prograis. Those three guys are mostly welterweights, who can meltdown to 140. Broner wouldn’t stand a chance against them due to their size, power, and work rate.
Adrien wants to wait until 2021 to fight again
The reason why Adrien won’t be fighting in 2020 is that he wants to fight in front of crowds because the money is a lot better. In the meantime, Haney, 21, is talented enough to where he can hold onto his WBC 135-lb title until Broner returns to the ring to face him next year.
The former four-division world champion Broner said this week that his natural weight class is 135, and he admits that he was never a true 147-pounder despite campaigning in that weight division for the last seven years.
Broner is a classic case of a fighter making a big name in the lower weight classes, and then taking advantage of his popularity to hustle fights in a division well above his natural weight.
At 147, Broner was a shadow of the fighter he’d been at 130 and 135. He likely would have moved back down to super featherweight or lightweight a long time ago, but the paydays were too good at 147 for him to give up on that division.
Mikey Garcia following in Broner’s hustling footsteps
We’re now seeing Mikey Garcia do the same thing Broner did by moving up to 147 where he’s nowhere near the fighter he’d been at 126, 130 and 135. Mikey is hustling fights like Broner did, calling out stars like Errol Spence Jr and Manny Pacquiao, and getting title shots that he hasn’t earned in that weight class.
Mikey will likely get one or two more nice paydays before he runs out of chances due to him losing each time against quality fighters. The hustle doesn’t last forever.
If a smaller fighter like Mikey or Broner can’t at least win occasionally when fighting elite-level guys, then wear out their usefulness as the B-side opponent for the stars.
Surprisingly, Broner was able to last seven years at 147, but only because he mixed in contests against soft opposition like Ashley Theophane, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Adrian Granados, John Molina Jr, and Jessie Vargas.
One hundred thirty-five might not light enough for Broner to find success because some of the top guys in that weight class are light welterweights in size. Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis and Teofimo Lopez are true 140-pounders, who are still able to make 135 just barely. Broner won’t do well against those guys because they’re younger, more energetic, and they throw more punches than him.
What Broner should do is hire a dietician and personal trainer, and trim down to 130, and return to the super featherweight division. If he can fight in that weight class, his chances of success are okay as long as he takes off the weight too quickly.
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