A day later, after the fog of warring has dissipated, we can more clearly see what went down in the squared circle Saturday night at Barclays Center.
In the moment, it can be hard to separate fact from opinion and head from heart. I confess to this being a task for me in light of Adrien Broner’s effort and loss to Mikey Garcia, a scrap which saw Broner win two rounds on my card, and confound people who’d thought he could take a stand and deliver on his potential at the (riper) old age of 28.
The part of me that roots for Broner as a being, who sees him trying to be a loving dad and work to be a decent partner to his missus, and who also didn’t have the world at all figured out in my 20s, invested a bit more than usual in his pre fight talk.
He was looking in shape, sounding ready to rumble and you thought that he’d confound his past, and turn in the performance of his career.
Instead, he just didn’t let those hands go. 400 punches over 12 rounds isn’t often going to get a 140 pounder a win and in most every round, Broner helped make it easy for judges to apportion the ten and the nine. Mikey simply threw more, easy for even a cataract covered arbiter to discern.
Promoter Lou Dibella made certain to note that Garcia deserves due credit for what happened in Brooklyn and on Showtime. “I think right now he could be pound for pound, number one,” he told me Sunday.
Sparring partner Gabe Bracero very much liked Broner’s chances going in. But he too saw what the judges did. “He didn’t let his hands go,” Bracero told me. “He did the same in camp pretty much too. He was waiting too long, that was my worry.”
Another boxer in Colorado camp with Broner said, “Broner didn’t pull the trigger. It seemed as though he was more worried about what Mikey was doing.”
The Ohio boxer didn’t win raves for his talk after the fight. He declared himself to Jim Gray to still be in the elite class. He also derided Garcia as being a mouse to his cat and blamed that dynamic, which was not in play, in fact, on the L.
One smart sort involved in the game told me Sunday, “It’s over for Broner at that level.”
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that. After all, he is only 28. But his unwillingness to throw was baffling. Maybe that was because Garcia was masterful that night. But his power wasn’t Hearns level at 140. And remember what Bracero said—waiting too much was an issue in camp as well. Being busier is often a matter of will as much as skill. It is a signal of intent.
I want and NEED to win and therefore I will send a clear and loud signal of my intention by working harder than you, my foe.
Broner only very sporadically showed that mode Saturday. Why? It’s for him to decode, ultimately.
Two items to finish with…
One, you maybe have to worry about him as a human being after losing. His recent track record as a citizen within the confines of a lawful and ordered society hasn’t been exemplary.
And two, he wasn’t wrong when he said to Jim Gray that we the people will still tune in to see him do his thing. People will–but moving forward, he is now 0-3 in his step up matches. The ability to convince folks that this time will be different and he will get over the hump is radically diminished.