See, Adrien Broner? Your fake marriage proposal would’ve been plenty attention-getting; you didn’t have to miss weight, too. For as much as Broner’s weigh-in shenanigans consumed the boxing world, the one thing about Broner’s fight from the past weekend that got exposure outside the boxing world was the video above.
In this edition of Weekend Afterthoughts, we contemplate whether Broner’s weight-missing antics were a marketing ploy or what; what’s next for the victim of those antics, Vicente Escobedo; and revisit some cards that weren’t quite so much on the radar as Broner-Escobedo.
- Broner as villain. Our old friend Pretty Toney commented over the weekend on Broner’s weigh-in issues, suggesting that he was taking a page deliberately from his idol Floyd Mayweather, who missed weight against Juan Manuel Marquez a few fights back. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Broner missed the 130-pound limit in a conscious attention-getting ploy. But as I told PT, everything about Broner’s behavior suggests to me an entitled fighter, knowing he can fight subpar competition on HBO and still get paid well, who lacks impulse control and is immature. Bart Barry offered that take here. It’s not that Broner can’t sell as a villain, after this, but he could sell that way a little bit before, plus he had the option to be simultaneously sold as a lovable goofball; that latter option is now foreclosed. Time will tell whether this move — intentional or not — pays off down the road. My guess would be that the reportedly elevated ratings for this fight have less to do with Broner’s weigh-in problems than with a general view coming in that he was a tremendous talent prone to entertaining high jinks, but who knows?
- Next for Escobedo. I’d read everywhere that Escobedo would maintain his spot atop the WBO junior lightweight rankings as part of his deal to go on with the Broner fight, and yet, a mere couple days later, the talk is of Juan Carlos Burgos and the winner of Roman Martinez/Miguel Beltran, Jr. contending for Broner’s vacated belt. It sounds like if the WBO intends to honor its end of the bargain in principle, it won’t be for a while, and I’m not sure why, since Martinez-Beltran is in August and that makes the winner of that fight eligible for a title bout later than Escobedo apparently would be. Or maybe, as the alphabet gang has shown time and again, a high ranking doesn’t mean what you’d think it would. If it feels to you like “no good deed goes unpunished” in boxing these days, join the club.
- Ending all the weigh-in drama. For as compelling as this Kevin Iole column is about the inherent dilemma of fighters whose opponents don’t make weight, the ending is telling: Nobody has a good answer. I’d love it if commissions got more involved — perhaps by taking a far larger percentage of a boxer’s purse when he blows it at the scales. But Broner lost a good chunk of change, at minimum, this weekend, and still, he had all the leverage. I’d like to think somebody will do something about this. But I’ll believe it when it happens, and I’m not even sure what would make a difference. It probably would take a string of these kind of incidents happening in a row for anybody to act, and even then I’m not convinced it will get solved.
- HBO vs. Showtime. We examined what this card said about HBO’s new leadership over the weekend, and we had done a premature evaluation of how the new leadership at each of the major boxing networks had performed thus far a while back. Scott Christ made a convincing case here that Showtime has the edge. The way it looks to me is, HBO’s cards have been a bit more consistent, but with few memorable highs and few outright disasters. Showtime has been just the opposite of that: Some great moments and some contemptible ones. The claimed good ratings for Saturday’s HBO show redeem it a touch, but not wholly; TV ratings for pay networks matter, but whether a card is successful or not to HBO and Showtime isn’t entirely dependent on ratings, and of course whether a card is good for boxing isn’t entirely tied to ratings, either.
- Richard Schaefer vs. the media. Golden Boy’s Schaefer stood up for the Broner-Escobedo et al card by making a couple points: 1. Some media, and HBO, are being manipulated by rival promoter Top Rank; and 2. Any media member with fewer than 10,000 Twitter followers is insignificant. The first point is surely true — there are a number of reporters, at least two of whom work at Maxboxing, who take Top Rank’s side 99 percent of the time, although I’m not sure if they were manipulated into that position or just ended up there via a variety of other routes. And BoxingScene’s Jake Donovan observed correctly during a discussion with me on Twitter that Top Rank is getting its way at HBO more than it was before the leadership change. At any rate, the back end of Schaefer’s point doesn’t hold water, because plenty of people who don’t take Top Rank’s side all the time also criticized Saturday’s card. And the point is more than a bit disingenuous; Schaefer was making his argument in a media outlet that his company owns. The second point is just hilarious — some of his magazine’s own writers don’t have 10,000 Twitter followers, so, what, they should be fired or something? Impact is measured in more than just Twitter followers. And dismissing shoddy media as mere “bloggers” is so… aughts. Steve Kim, Dan Rafael and Kevin Iole all write blog entries for more traditional news sites, and the item where Schaefer spoke was filed under the “blog” tab on RingTV; TQBR, a blog, sometimes breaks news and regularly writes news features based on interviews with all the top names and forces in the sport. Blogs aren’t what they used to be, at least not all of them, and people who look down on bloggers often have blogs on their own sites. There has been considerable merger between these two worlds, and at this point all that should matter is whether a writer or site offers value.
- ShoBox and Friday Night Fights. Both the Showtime and ESPN2 cards had some good scraps on them Friday, as our Mark Ortega and Patrick Connor detailed. I scored the ShoBox lightweight main event as a draw, but am comfortable with Art Hovhannisyan getting the victory over Miguel Acosta. Hovhannisyan is going to make good fights no matter who he faces, apparently, while Acosta proved he’s not as “done” as we thought, with the Richard Abril loss looking better in retrospect after he nearly beat Brandon Rios, Acosta’s other conqueror. Junior featherweight Roman Morales also looks like a fun one, although I wonder if his power isn’t a bit worse than the knockdown would suggest. He got in some good work against a game Alexis Santiago, as did the two main events fighters, and all in all the ShoBox card lived up to what it’s supposed to do. Over on ESPN2, Burgos showed why he’s good television against anyone, but Cesar Vazquez did more than his part to create action, and despite his loss, I’d welcome him back on FNF anytime. All in all, a good Friday night of boxing.
- Odds and ends. Junior middleweight Omar Chavez said he came down with some leg cramps during his weekend fight. Either I’m noticing leg cramps more often, or more fighters are taking performance enhancing drugs that give them leg cramps, or there’s some kind of communicable disease spreading leg cramps around boxing, or boxers are increasingly using leg cramps as an excuse for poor performances… It’s not a must-see, but there are some good spurts of action in this junior welterweight fight between Pablo Cesar Cano and Johan Perez. Cano might next face Joan Guzman, whose ass I hope he stomps (but probably won’t).