Archive for December, 2013

The “Problem” with Adrien Broner…

December 26, 2013

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. I’ve been thinking a lot lately of Adrien Broner’s two recent performances at the welterweight division; I consider both of them hideous. I’ve felt both of them: the loss to Malignaggi (unofficially), and the loss against Maidana (officially) to expose a lot of holes in his game. I will try my best to break it down.

First, the problem is his move up in weight. In 2012, he was fighting at 130lbs and later moved up to fight twice at 135lbs. Though a giant and an athletic phenom at that weight, how much more could a guy move up within a 1 or 2 year span? Next, not satisfied and assured of his place in superstardom he did what Pacquiao, Mosley, Mayweather, and Duran have done: move up to welterweight from lightweight to seek bigger fights. However, unlike those other champions he had not quite established himself yet on a world class level though he was getting closer. Also, there comes the problem of it being viable that he could bring his stamina, power, speed, and work rate up in weight with him the way Hopkins did from 160 to 175 and the way Jones did from 175-191. The answer was no. I feel that was both a problem with his strength and conditioning program (not to mention his getting out of shape in between fights and doing a rap tour), if he even had one, and his moving up in weight too dang fast.

The result was in both fights at welterweight it appeared that his legs were stuck in mud. It took a small half second, the most minutest of fractions of time needed by boxers at a high level, for his feet to react to an oncoming attack (usually at 130 and 135 he could take a half step back or sideways and counter before his opponent has finished throwing his punch) – this rendered his attacks ineffective because his feet couldn’t match his still above average hand speed. And when an opponent attacked he didn’t have the spring in his legs to move him backwards out of range safely or to side step and circle over to the side and away from the ropes (several times he backed straight into the ropes or the corner without throwing punches). Next, his new stance at welterweight shows him standing almost straight up with knees almost locked. This almost guarantees that he’ll have no spring in his step when moving off his current position because the spring must come from the ankles and the knees. Next, he was flat footed at this weight, and trudged around landing on his heels first instead of his toes. This was not a problem at lightweight. Lastly, he had a slight crouch in the lower weight classes in his upper body to make sure his head wasn’t held straight up down the middle. This was no longer the case.

Offensively speaking, Adrien Broner’s work rate and offense at welterweight is straight up pathetic. In his efforts to sky rocket to superstardom through bypassing an intensely dense jr. welterweight division (Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Hank Lundy, Amir Khan) he tried to pick the weakest link among the titleholders: Paulie Malignaggi (a man who apparently can’t punch) and then Marcos Maidana (a man who can punch but can’t box) – actually according to the game plan of Amir Khan who slayed both of these boxers. This whole plan backfired. Broner had single connects across several rounds with very low output numbers (some round I counted he threw no more than 15-20 punches when I believe 40 punches are the average work rate of a welterweight). In comparison, he round 5 against the best lightweight in the world, Antonio Demarco, he landed about 57 out of 77 punches.

Broner did not let his hands go and he did not throw combinations. He was loading up on power shots, and his feet were too slow to get him to the target and actually from excess weight lifting his arms and shoulders were too stiff to give him minute and on the spot counter punching reflexes. First, having lifted too many weights this hindered his : punch technique, reflexes/trigger to throw a punch, and did not necessarily improve his punch power. Next, if you look closely at his punches you can see they were mostly arm punches. He did not turn his waist, turn his hips, pivot his feet, shift weight, nor turn his shoulders over in his right cross nor his left hook. His arms were separate from his body (and a low crouching stance would have given him a lower center of gravity and a better starting point to create power in a punch: his toes or his crouched and poised thighs/calves). Also, his pinpoint and lightning fast and explosive counter punches were not on display. I could count on one hand how many times he countered Maidana’s right cross with a shoulder roll right hand (the hallmark of Mayweather’s shoulder roll defense and usually Broner’s bread and butter). In his fights against Antonio Demarco, Vincent Escobedo, and Daniel Ponce De Leon we were able to see half step back counter punches, and blinding combinations that followed up. This leads up to the next point: his offensive toolbox. In those fights I just listed in the lighter weight classes we were treated to a series of his offensive tools: the straight left jab to the stomach or chest, the check hook (a front foot pivot while delivering a left hook thus sending the opponent flying forward and making the deliverer seem to disappear), the shoulder roll right hand, the 3-5 punch combinations, and creative uses of the the shoulder roll for counter punching (he likes to use the shoulder roll right uppercut as a knock out punch such as that against Eloy Perez). All that was bunk at welterweight. Lastly, his punch power is nothing but pedestrian at that weight. I heard Maidana did say his face hurt after the fight and that Broner is a hard puncher. However, if we look at two 2nd tier elite fighters at welterweight, then we can see neither of them were hurt nor staggered once when fighting Broner. Besides slowing down his opponents once or twice or giving them something to look at, Broner oftentimes was not able to get the respect nor space he wanted.

Some would argue that Broner was never that good in the first place, or that Malignaggi and Maidana were such excellent and classy boxers that they nullified all of his gifts. However, if you look at Broner’s sparring videos (esp. the one against Lydell Rhodes: record 17-0), you can continue to see the symptoms of laziness, entitlement, and simply neglectful training that occurred during his camp. He had sparring partners that allowed him to throw 8 punches per round, that didn’t force him to move his feet, and didn’t pressure him enough to really make him adjust. Also, look at his god awful and slow foot work.

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