Al Bernstein: “The Jury’s Out On Adrien Broner”

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AlBernstein1Two wins removed from a career derailing loss to Marcos Maidana; Adrien Broner is still in rebuilding mode. In the lead-up to his fight with Maidana, Broner was considered a Top 10 “pound for pound” fighter and although he moved up to welterweight and lost to a man that would eventually take Floyd Mayweather Jr. the distance twice. The shadow of that fight has loomed over Broner’s career ever since.

Al Bernstein took a moment with ThaBoxingVoice’s Sean Zittel to express his opinion on Adrien Broner’s past, present and future in the sport of boxing and whether he will be able to regain some of what he lost in December 2013 and live up to the lofty expectations many had for him earlier in his career.

“He is not a welterweight. Adrien Broner is not a welterweight and will lose to most of the welterweights in the world… 140 is as high as he can go… if Adrien Broner would have been able to stay at 135, he could have stayed at lightweight and probably been champion for many many years.”

Bernstein seems to have mixed feelings about Broner’s chances in the very talented light-welterweight division. He didn’t go into specifics, but he did relate it to Broner’s March 7th fight with hard punching John Molina Jr. Bernstein has questions about Broner’s ability to take shots in higher weight classes and feels that he may get a few answers to those questions on Saturday.

“At 140 it’s an interesting question. The fight he has coming up Saturday against John Molina, who moved up from 135 pounds, is a power punching 135 pounders. The question is, will that power effect Adrien Broner if he lands a big overhand right… This is not a gimme for Adrien Broner.”

Back in 2013 when Adrien Broner made Top 10 “pound for pound” lists, there were many, including myself that did not feel like he belonged up there yet and Al Bernstein does not hide the fact that he too was one of those people. With regards to Broner being a top p4p guy, Bernstein did not mince words.

“Well, he’s not now certainly… he’s not. To be honest, I never thought he was. That doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be, but nothing that Adrien Broner did leading up to the Maidana fight gave us the idea that he should be pound for pound top 10… That doesn’t mean I’m saying that he’s a bad fighter, or he doesn’t have skill sets or that he can’t grow as a fighter. It just means that he wasn’t there yet.”

Bernstein then reasoned that the hype surrounding Adrien Broner may have given him a confidence that took him places he had no business being yet. Specifically, in the ring with a guy like Maidana.

“… some of the attention and hype that surrounded him kind of overtook where he was at as a fighter, and I think that he probably believed it… because it made him go up too far in weight, it made him take on a fighter that he wasn’t really ready to face in Marcos Maidana…”

In the end, Bernstein said what we are all thinking. Broner proved a lot in his fight with Maidana. He simultaneously proved that he was not ready for a welterweight fighter of Maidana’s caliber, but he did have more heart and toughness than anyone expected of the man that generally dwarfed smaller competition on his way up through the ranks. Questions, answers and more questions…

“Now… having said all of that, we have to give him credit for getting knocked down early several times against Maidana, being in a very very difficult fight and coming back to perform fairly well later in the fight so I give him credit for that but the jury’s out on Adrien Broner in terms of what he can accomplish in the sport of boxing.

Al Bernstein will always be one of my favorites in the sport because he tells it like it is, and I agree with everything he said in this interview. I believe most would except for the staunchest of Adrien Broner supporters. Broner still has a lot to prove after looking less than impressive against subpar competition in 2014. If John Molina Jr. rises to the occasion, Broner’s redemption may finally get underway this Saturday on the debut of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.