When a polarizing fighter like Adrien Broner earns a close, split-decision victory, it inevitably serves as an ink-blot test for the fans. How they react to it says more about them than it does about the actual fight.
Broner’s supporters will hail his victorious return to the ring. They will note that he beat a tough and determined fighter, battling most of the way with a damaged left hand.
His legion of detractors will say that his opponent, Adrian Granados, was robbed. They will decry the fact that the most over-hyped fighter of his generation once more received a gift he did not earn.
I had Granados winning the fight myself, six rounds to four. But almost all of the rounds could have been scored either way. Broner scored with sharp combination punching in most of the round, but also coasted for long periods of time while Granados consistently pressed the action and out-worked him. Both fighters displayed plenty of grit. It was a tough, hard-fought fight on both sides.
So I can accept that Broner won. He was fighting before his home crowd in Cincinnati and was co-promoting the bout–fair or not, any close fight was destined to end up in his favor.
This fight did demonstrate that Broner simply isn’t an elite fighter–at least not above 147 pounds. Granados is a smart, tough-as-nails competitor. But he’s also sloppy as hell. Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr. would dismantle him.
Broner’s record above 140 pounds now is 2-2. The wins were hotly contested split decisions, to Granados and to Paulie Malignaggi. Broner lost decisvely to Marcos Maidana and Shawn Porter and barely got by Granados and Maligaggi. All of this can be treated as definitive proof that Broner is not an elite talent at welterweight.
Broner is not Floyd Mayweather. He doesn’t have Mayweather’s talent and is not even as big as Mayweather, who is himself on the small side for a welterweight.
Broner needs to stop talking about “winning a fifth title at 154 pounds.” I would not put it out of the realm of possibility that one of the alphabet-soup clown shows will create a situation for Broner to earn one, but it would be no more valuable than his other four “championships.”