After the fight: The complexities and humanity of Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner is back in boxing. He’s used to playing the role of heel and has made regrettable cringe-worthy comments, but he’s still human. 

Many adjectives could be used to describe Adrien Broner, many of them not complimentary, but he’s displaying much more vulnerability lately, which shows his humanity.

Broner has plenty of flaws, but so do I. So does everybody. His misdeeds in and out of the ring are more egregious than most. The descriptions of his alleged crimes in the past are disgusting, violent, and unacceptable.

Broner is no saint.

However, his past and present insinuate that his mental and emotional health and well-being are in turmoil, and Broner doesn’t seem to have the tools or resources to get better.

Earlier in Broner’s career, he was Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s protégé. He followed the mantra that all publicity is good publicity. That might of worked for Mayweather, but it was incredibly damaging for Broner.

After Broner steamrolled Antonio DeMarco in 2012, he showed flashes of a young Mayweather. He was 24-0 at the time and had a four-fight KO streak before he pummeled DeMarco for a round 8 TKO victory to win the WBC lightweight title. He was just 23 years old.

Broner’s ego grew out of control, and he drew further and further into the part of the villain until he embodied all aspects of that personality. The “About Billions” persona was a cancer for Broner, but he backed up the hype with wins, and his bank account ballooned.

Broner thought he was invincible, which is often a fatal flaw with abundantly successful youths. They lack the wisdom and hubris to foresee the destructiveness of a careless, hedonistic, and arrogant lifestyle and behavior.

Like a lot of young people, Broner had to learn the hard way.

It’s difficult to tell how many people tried to caution the budding Broner. He eventually burned his friendship with Mayweather as he tried to elevate his boxing standing over the legend’s. That was one of Broner’s many mistakes.

Broner became toxic. His chauvinistic behavior before the Paulie Malignaggi fight, as he bragged about stealing Malignaggi’s girl, was hard to stomach.

His antics before his next fight against Marcos Maidana pissed off fans as he taunted Maidana by giving him two middle fingers at the weigh-in. Broner didn’t realize that he was about to taste a painful dose of reality on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, in the form of Maidana’s fists.

He was thoroughly embarrassed in front of the world as he hit the canvas twice while being dry-humped around the ring by Maidana as he lost his WBA welterweight title. Still, Broner didn’t learn from that debacle.

Adrien Broner is starting to speak about his problems which could be the first step in improving his situation

Broner grew cautious in the ring to the point where his punch output dwindled. If you can’t punch, you can’t knock out your opponent. His KO rating fell off a cliff, and he became an above-average fighter.

Broner is to blame for his downfall, and he’s just starting to see that. He still flashes some of his old bravado and still wants the attention that comes from outrageous quotes. Broner proved that he can still be lewd and condescending. His comments about gravy and his sex life before the Santiago fight showed that. Broner also made shameful comments about boxing commentator Steve Farhood merely because Farhood produced an honest scorecard with Broner losing to Santiago.

The CompuBox stats support Farhood’s card. Don’t downplay the statistics. They help paint a clear picture which is that Broner struggled in his return bout.

The difference is that Broner’s ugly comments this time around come from another place. They are defensive and disguising. I believe that Broner is hurt by criticism today where he would have paid no attention to it in 2012. Words hurt him. The truth hurts him.

During the media conference before the Santiago fight, Broner talked honestly with me for a few minutes. He was burnt out from boxing but also burnt out from his lifestyle. Yes, much of that is his own doing, but he has reached out for help in his own way.

Broner has made suicidal comments on multiple occasions via social media. It was a cry for help then, but I’m afraid that those laments have gone unheeded. Broner has gained wisdom over the years, and at 31 years old, he knows that he can’t continue his self-destructive behavior without serious consequences.

Broner sees boxing as his therapy. It’s his solution to staying out of trouble. He told me that after the Santiago fight.

“If they don’t get me in the ring, I’ll f**k around and get more cases, bro,” said Broner. “I don’t know. Trouble just find me somehow. The only way I stay out of trouble is if I’m training. I don’t know why God got my life set up like this. I just try to make the best of it. Right now, I’m in a mind state to stay focused on boxing, and as long as I can do that, I’ll stay out of trouble.”

His comments were a quasi denial and half admission of guilt. Broner does know how he gets into trouble to a degree. Broner was straight with me and admitted that he likes to drink and party too much. Those factors are ingredients to his problems. Broner recognizes that and is trying to do something to change his path.

But I wonder if he can fully help himself. Does Broner have serious mental health issues that require treatment? I think so, and he may not even see it or be healthy enough to recognize it. His previous threats of self-harm are severe and require urgent attention. I’m not part of Broner’s inner circle. Maybe he has sought treatment. I hope he has.

Broner is a father, a husband, a person with a heart, and maybe he needs some compassion and guidance. He’s done plenty of things wrong, but maybe he needs someone to assist in making things right.




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