Weekend Afterthoughts On Adrien Broner And HBO, When To Accuse Someone Of Using PEDs, More

Is there any boxing figure more hit or miss on his jokes than Adrien Broner, the headlining act of the past weekend? Sometimes in post-fight interviews you get: "He was underwater like a… like a… neck bone." Other times in post-fight news conferences you get: "I want everyone to get their questions out. Because I don't know about y'all, but I want to have sex."

In the comments section a few days back, ThePJ suggested it's an issue of him forgetting his punchlines. My theory is that he doesn't know what they are going to be yet half the time, because he just starts talking and hopes he stumbles into something comedic. Sometimes, he just plain stumbles.

Don't watch that movie White Chicks, by the way. It's all miss. Do, though, read this (hit and miss?) edition of Weekend Afterthoughts for more on Broner, Friday Night Fights, Jonathan Romero and the like.

  • Quality of the HBO card. Make no mistake, the HBO card Saturday was not good. But I'm like BoxingScene's Cliff Rold in that I don't think it was THAT bad, either. Our friend Mike Coppinger asked on Facebook what the worst HBO card anyone had seen, and despite dozens of answers, often long lists of answers, nobody had this one on their list. Most of them, by the way, were from well before the last five years, during a period where I think matchmaking on HBO has been better than its reputation might suggest — although it's a reputation that it earned during that especially dark period of the early aughts. I'll be highly interested in the ratings for the show. Most boxing fans knew it would be bad, yet the same could be said for most HBO fights featuring Broner other than his last fight against Antonio DeMarco, and Broner-DeMarco did worse than those others. It would be yet another reminder how peculiar boxing's TV ratings can be, if it turned out people more consistently watched Broner against his worst competition than they did against his best. Presumably, there'd be other factors at play, if it worked out like that.
  • Broner and HBO. As discussed earlier in a couple places, HBO is in a difficult position with Broner. From the Broner side of things, it was unwise of him to acknowledge how easily he's been making a living on the network. As he said: "I’m sorry to say, but I’m a legal bank robber. I just robbed a bank tonight. As long as HBO keeps paying me to fight these lightweights…I’ve never been on a farm, but I'm milking the cow real good.” Maybe HBO's leverage with Broner isn't great right now, but it's better for him having said that than if he hadn't said it. And there can, should and ought to be fan backlash in a big way if Broner's next fight is with anyone other than Yuriorkis Gamboa, the winner of Ricky Burns-Miguel Vazquez or any number of top junior welterweights. Of course, pending the ratings results for this fight, maybe HBO will keep helping him rob the bank.
  • When to accuse someone of using performance enhancing drugs. Broner said he isn't interested in facing Gamboa because he's using PEDs. While there's definitely smoke there, from a source that is at least for the time being credible, this was also unwise. Gamboa hasn't been PROVEN to take anything illegal. Accusing someone of that before it's proven could open up Broner to lawsuits and cost him some of that money he just robbed, a la Floyd Mayweather's settlement with Manny Pacquiao. Now, if he said, "I'm worried about whether he's using PEDs. I would fight him if he agreed to expanded testing," he'd be on safer ground. This whole area is messier now than it was a couple years ago, as Bill Simmons spelled out here. He specifically mentions boxing and Juan Manuel Marquez, but he and I know different boxing fans if, indeed, as he writes, "Every boxing fan I know believes that Marquez enhanced his chances that night." I don't know what to believe; I know I'm suspicious, and most reasonable people would be. I'd rejigger his formula for when to wonder about someone (his criteria are mostly valid) to include a formula for when one ought to actually say there is a tangible reason to suspect them vs. when one should outright accuse. Marquez and Gamboa are there in the "reason for suspicion" and a notch above the "cause for wonder," because Marquez is affiliated with a former PED supplier and Gamboa has been named by an on the record person who worked for a company who says he supplied PEDs to him. They're not at the third level yet; neither has failed a drug test, although admittedly neither has been subjected to advanced testing, and neither has been caught red-handed with some other sort of incontrovertible evidence of using a banned substance like Andre Berto or Antonio Tarver or a much shorter list. (And by the way, I put Mickey Bey training in the Mayweather gym as "cause for wonder" about Mayweather himself, at the most. Just being around someone isn't enough.)
  • Next for Sakio Bika. This is really just an excuse to talk about a more interesting fight than anything Bika will be involved with, but with Lucian Bute-Jean Pascal looking like it's booked for May, Bika coming off his win Saturday is now on the outside looking in for another potential super middleweight opponent. Bute-Pascal is one of the biggest fights you can make in North America, and a helluva nice match-up, presumably at Pascal's light heavyweight limit. Canada would go nuts, and I very well might try to make it up north of the border for this one. I was interested in Pascal-Chad Dawson II, since the first fight was indeed good and had an inconclusive ending, but Bute-Pascal is simply huge in a way that one is not and it's more interesting, period. As for bumping Bika up to the HBO undercard this weekend — I had said before that I was fine with it because as much as it wasn't a thriller, I'd rather have the option to watch more boxing than less. However, I'd amend that to say that if it cost HBO anything other than a pittance, it might've been better to spend the money elsewhere.
  • Friday Night Fights. I'm eager to begin exhaustive fight week coverage of the upcoming edition of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2, because Lamont Peterson-Kendall Holt is a genuinely good junior welterweight fight with a lot of news hooks. It also helps that it stands in contrast to the latest series of FNF fights, which have been horrible. Last weekend's main event was no different. Bless that George Tahdooahnippah for stepping up against Delvin Rodriguez and fighting with heart and pulling out all the stops with his ring entrance, but it was a pure middleweight mismatch on paper and, it turns out, in reality. I'm in favor of seeing Rodriguez on TV fairly often because he always brings it, but next time, find him someone whose resume isn't much better than a two-fight prospect despite having 31 wins. "Woeful mismatch featuring one guy getting beaten severely for a prolonged period" is not a prosperous use of FNF's time or my Friday night. 
  • Jonathan Romero vs. Alejandro Lopez. Romero got himself another quality win, this time over Alejandro Lopez to enter the 122-pound Transnational Boxing Rankings. It's a solid bout, not a must-see, but worth seeing. The judge who scored it for Lopez had it way wrong, in my opinion, but Lopez did have Romero in a little trouble once or twice. Carl Frampton said he's eyeing Romero, and that's a very nice match-up, both style-wise and based on where both men are in their careers.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.