Pardon me if you've read this before. It's only been ten months since my last FALKENTALK opinion column AKA rant about former four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner. It's not my intention to waste your time, so you're welcome to bail out at your convenience.
Guess who's back asking for your time and treasure? If AB's back, I'm back with this public service announcement.
Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime let Broner go after Al Haymon, and Stephen Espinoza stood by him as long as they could. After BLK Prime dallied briefly with Broner and then let him go without successfully staging a fight before it crashed and burned, Broner teamed up in March with seemingly immortal promoter Don King. Of course, he did.
At 91 years old, King couldn't possibly be working because he needed the money. Motivations aside, King lost the last world champion in his stable last July when Mairis Briedis lost his IBF World Cruiserweight title to Jai Opetaia of New Zealand.
Broner intends to return to the ring on Friday, June 9, for the first time since February 20, 2021. That's two years and four months, but who's counting?
Broner of Cincinnati (34-4-1, 24 KOs) faces Bill Hutchinson of (20-2-4, 9 KOs) of Pittsburgh in “Return to Glory” at the Casino Miami Jai Alai. And yes, it's a pay-per-view fight carried on FITE TV, DonKing.com, and itube247.com (this doesn't seem sketchy, hand over that debit card number) for the low, low price of $24.99. The card begins at 6:50 pm ET / 3:50 pm PT.
WTH Is Bill Hutchinson?
Only 11 of Hutchinson's 26 previous opponents had winning records, and he's never been in a fight longer than eight rounds. Most of his previous bouts took place in Pittsburgh or West Virginia, with a few in Ohio. A practicing attorney, Hutchinson was indeed plucked from Tim Boxeo obscurity for this bout.
I met and spoke with Hutchinson at a Las Vegas news conference in late April when the fight was announced. He's a well-mannered, forthright guy who makes a good case for himself. There's no reason to believe he isn't serious about this opportunity and has trained hard for it.
Hutchinson had the stage to himself. Broner failed to show up and stiffed a roomful of boxing media in town for Davis vs. Garcia. Neither did King, although it wasn't clear whether he was planning to be there in the first place.
But Broner did show up Tuesday in Florida for the pre-fight news conference. Is there any reason to believe boxing's clown prince has changed his ways?
Broner: ‘Adrien Broner will become world champion again'
“The real problem is they let Adrien Broner and Don King get together – that's the real problem,” said The Problem. “I can tell you right now, I am not looking past this man, but I can tell you this: Adrien Broner will become world champion again. And it will be under Don King. There is bigger things to come, but the first is to take care of Billy.
“Usually when people see Adrien Broner, there is usually something messed up coming behind him,” said the fighter about himself. Turning to Hutchinson, Broner added, “So, after I mess you up, I'm going to hire you because I can always use a good lawyer. Now that I know you're a fighter, I know you will fight for me, in the courtroom.”
“Dealing with lawyers is Broner's forte,” said King.
Hutchinson: ‘They made a big mistake'
Hutchinson replied, “I am a licensed attorney. However, first and foremost, I am a fighter, and Adrien Broner is going to see that Friday night, and he's going to have his hands full. So I appreciate the offer for some work after the fight, and we can talk about that after, but make no mistake, I am going to do everything in the ring to take his head clean off his shoulders.”
Hutchinson, a former sparring partner for Devin Haney, says he's well prepared and confident, ready to grind it out if necessary. “They made a big mistake by allowing me this opportunity,” said Hutchinson, who asked for the fight after seeing the announcement of Broner signing with King.
Broner insists trainer Kevin Cunningham has put him through hard training, and he's ready. “I wouldn't say this is a new beginning, I would say I am just going to reclaim something I already had. If I hit it once I know I can hit it again.
“Every day I look in the mirror, I have goals and that's what I am focused on. Only a fighter can know. It's a lonely sport. It's a sport where you have to look in the mirror every day and say fuck it. You gotta say fuck everybody and go out there and do what you gotta do.”
Fool Us Once, Shame On Me… Fool Us A Whole Lotta Times, Forgetaboutit
AB, we've got to do what we've got to do.
I feel for the undercard fighters, particularly light heavyweight Ahmed Elbiali, who defends his NABA title against Rodolfo Gomez. He's legitimately talented with plenty of power and deserves more visibility than he's getting. Also on the card is – wait for it – former two-division champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba.
Consider watching one of the two cards competing with this event on Friday. Showtime Boxing presents an International Boxing Hall of Fame weekend edition ShoBox: The New Generation card from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, featuring top-10 ranked light heavyweight Ali Izmailov against fellow unbeaten and highly decorated amateur Charles Foster.
If you put ANY money in Broner's pocket, you are part of the problem.
Protect Yourselves At All Times
There's nothing more frustrating to a boxing fan than to watch an athlete with natural talents squander it due to bad choices. Broner was once the youngest fighter at the age of 24 to win four world titles at 130, 135, 140, and 147 pounds.
A decade ago,Broner defeated Paulie Malignaggi for the WBA World Welterweight title and his third division title at age 23. It was a rough, ugly split decision, but Broner's potential seemed unlimited. His brash persona and misbehavior outside the ring captured as much fan attention as his performances in the ring. Every hero needs a heel, and Broner was willing and able to play the role.
Then Broner faced Marcos Maidana of Argentina. Never before or since has boxing Twitter thrown a party like the night Broner got a beatdown from El Chino. My colleague Ernie Green insists it's one of the four greatest moments in American History.
Broner then lost to Shawn Porter, Mikey Garcia, and Manny Pacquiao, all badly. He lost his title on the scale in 2016 to Ashley Theophane and hasn't owned a belt since.
In the last two years, Broner has been erratic, pulling out of multiple fights. Call me cold-hearted, but when I hear “mental health issues” from Broner, it's translated to “can't make weight” in my mind. Broner's past distractions include serious criminal convictions, expensive settlements to victims, and bills for child support for multiple mothers and children – I can't pretend to have an accurate count.
The faint hope Broner might regain some of his skills and meet his unrealized potential have kept him in boxing. Too many people have taken a chance on Broner only to get burned. Don King might be the next one singed.
Please, protect yourself at all times. Instead of watching, consider donating $25 to a youth boxing program in your community or a mental health nonprofit. Or tip a poorly paid hard working person who did right by you. You'll get more satisfaction from it, I promise.