The rise and fall of Adrien Broner

Few fighters in the modern era have impacted the boxing landscape as much as Adrien Broner. Entering the HBO Boxing world, at the tail-end of Floyd Mayweather’s run at the top of the sport. 

Broner’s career is confusing to explain because, by any other metric or another standard, it would be deemed a success as Broner was a four-division world champion, and viewed in 2011 as the next-in-line to be a pay-per-view mega-star after Floyd Mayweather stepped down. A larger-than-life persona, humorous in-ring interview, controversial at times, with interesting ring walks as well. Broner was someone people couldn’t stop talking about. 

At one point in time, Broner was even a pound-for-pound fighter and was viewed as one of the best fighters of his era in the lightweight division.

Yet, even though that was a decade ago, a long time ago - but not that long ago, it feels like a lifetime ago, as we approach the Adrien Broner versus Bill Hutchinson fight, which will take place Friday, June 9th, live from the Casino Miami Jai Alai, in Miami, Florida, and available on pay-per-view at, per the poster, we have some serious questions to ask about Broner's career. 

Let’s explore the confusing and chaotic career of Adrien Broner. 

The birth of the CAN MAN

Not since Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor had Ohio been as excited about an emerging fighter as many were about Adrien Broner. A gifted amateur with three hundred wins and only nineteen losses, Broner was a blue-chip prospect the moment he turned pro.

As Broner would fight on some regional shows before getting picked up by the industry leader at that time, Golden Boy Promotions, which was promoting Floyd Mayweather’s massive events, along with future stars such as Danny Garcia, Canelo Alvarez, and Deontay Wilder. 

Broner would make his marquee debut on a big fight card in his fourth fight as he would fight deep on the undercard of Ricky Hatton versus Paulie Malignaggi. The bout was anti-climatic as it would end in a no-contest against his opponent Eric Ricker. 

Broner would establish himself as a loud, vocal, and talented presence in the sport of boxing, but one that many fight fans were following every move of because it seemed that Broner could carry the sport of boxing in his own way.

Questions arise early

His first major step up left us with more questions than answers. Broner fought Daniel Ponce De Leon on March 5th, 2011, and the outcome of this fight has been debated to this day. Broner, like most prospects, had faced a group of hand-selected opposition until facing former super bantamweight world champion, Daniel Ponce De Leon, who now was fighting at the super featherweight division, two weights above his championship weight.

Broner when at his greatest success was a big man fighting smaller men. This allowed for one of Broner’s cardinal sins to go unnoticed a lack of volume. His power would often offset this weakness. 

The fight was razor close with the punch stats saying Broner landed 126 of his 351 of his overall punches while De Leon landed 127 of his 592 punches. It was the classic fight in which it was up to the viewer to decide the outcome as De Leon outworked Broner, but the size of Broner allowed him to land the cleaner, more effective punches. 

That said, given the weight advantage Broner had over Ponce De Leon many were shocked by the competitive nature of the fight. 

The Greatness of Broner

Often when Broner would look like rubbish, he’d follow it up with brilliance. After an average performance against Ponce De Leon, Broner would stop Jason Litzau in one round. This was a fight many felt could be competitive. 

Broner famously moved up to lightweight and won the world title against Antonio DeMarco in a moment of brilliance. DeMarco was the consensus best fighter in the lightweight division and Broner outclassed him en route to stopping him. When Broner was on, he looked like a superstar and when he was off, he looked like a fighter with a low output who was expecting his punches to do more damage than they were. 

Broner would follow up his fight with DeMarco by annihilating Gavin Rees in a performance that even Eddie Hearn recently remarked was one of the best performances he had seen at that time. Broner was able to bully smaller fighters and despite using Floyd Mayweather’s shoulder roll nothing about Broner’s style was finesse. It was grit and toughness. 

Broner was incredibly physical, never quit, even when things got tough, and was more of a pressure fighter than a back-foot boxer. The three-fight brilliance of Broner was short and sweet, as many expected these performances to continue for decades to come.

The Maidana Fight

Prior to fighting Marcos Maidana, Broner moved up two weight classes from lightweight to welterweight to get a heavily debated split decision from the then-champion, Paulie Malignaggi. 

Broner was seemingly set to headline a pay-per-view against Marcos Maidana, but a month-and-a-half out the fight was converted to a Showtime Championship Boxing attraction. The fight saw what many saw as a graduation for Broner to become an A-list star in the sport of boxing into a humiliating loss that many believe he never returned from. 

Maidana dropped Broner twice in rounds two and eight respectively. Maidana mocked Broner and in the end, won a unanimous decision victory as a sizable underdog. Maidana along with his coach, Robert Garcia, had defeated Adrien Broner - something that made Maidana, a legend. 

It never returned…yet?

After his 2014 loss to Marcos Maidana in 2013 things never were the same. 

Broner had three solid wins over Carlos Molina, Emanuel Taylor, and John Molina Jr., with the Molina Jr. fight serving as the first fight Premier Boxing Champions would broadcast, which took place on NBC. 

In 2015, Broner would fight Shawn Porter at a catchweight of 144 lbs, and despite dropping Porter in the twelfth and final round, Broner would lose a unanimous decision. 

The last truly great Broner performance was in October 2015 in which he beat up Khabib Allakheverdiev badly leading to a twelfth-round technical knockout. 

This would be overshadowed by Broner’s troubles outside of the ring. A public feud with Floyd Mayweather would lead to Broner knocking out Ashley Theophane, who was signed to Mayweather Promotions. Broner would get into legal trouble with an incident that took place at a bowling alley, as well as drop a rap diss to Floyd Mayweather entitled ‘Slammer’. 

After this moment, every Broner performance was shaky. 

He defeated Adrian Granados, but it felt a lot like the Ponce De Leon fight, as it was a split-decision victory that felt far too close. Broner would lose a one-sided decision to Mikey Garcia, and fight Jessie Vargas to a draw. 

Despite all of these adversities, and being in the news for the wrong reasons, Broner would face Manny Pacquiao on pay-per-view at the start of 2019. Once again, Broner showed his toughness but lost another one-sided decision. After the fight, Broner proclaimed after the fight he felt he won. CompuBox stats paint a different picture, as Pacquiao landed 112 of 568 punches whereas Broner landed and threw less at 50 of 295.

Broner would take two years off while COVID-19 occurred only to fight one of the least memorable fights of his career against unknown Joanne Santiago as the main event of Showtime Championship Boxing. The bout was hard to see as Broner didn’t look anything like the fighter from the DeMarco fight the Showtime commentary team felt Santiago did enough to win, but Broner was awarded the victory. 

Now nearly two-and-a-half years later, Broner will fight the same type of fight, but on a smaller distribution channel, hoping for a new outcome.