If you tuned in to watch Adrien Broner fight Jessie Vargas this weekend, you heard Broner referred to as a “four-division world champion.” He is no such thing. To call him that is to insult the entire concept of “world champion” and to accept the intellectual dishonestly that has mars this great sport.
Adrien Broner has held alphabet-soup belts in four divisions but has never been a true World Champion in any of them. He captured the vacant WBO trinket at 130 pounds in 2011 when he knocked out Vicente Martin Rodriguez, a total obscurity who had no business being anywhere near a “world title” fight. It was the only time Rodriguez ever even fought in his native Argentina. Three fights after losing to Broner, he lost by TKO to a 22-19 club fighter.
The only division where Broner has ever even defeated a top-ranked contender was at lightweight, where he laced Antonoio DeMarco in 2012 via Round 8 TKO to capture the WBC strap. I actually think Broner, if he had the self-discipline necessary to be a great professional prizefighter, could be a dominant force at 135 pounds.
Broner won the WBA trinket at welterweight in 2013, when he edged Paulie Malignaggi by split decision. That is a decent win. But Malignaggi was barely a top-10 welterweight at the time and in no honest world could be viewed as the “champion” of anything. Broner dropped that belt in his first defense, when he was battered by Marcos Maidana, a true, high-level welterweight contender.
Broner collected the vacant WBA trinket at 140 pounds when he defeated Khabib Allakhverdiev by Round 12 TKO in 2015. This was another solid win on Broner’s resume. Allakhverdiev is a good, world-class fighter and Broner smoked him. But it wasn’t a win worthy of world-title status. And Broner never even defended that belt. He lost it on the scales in his next bout.
All of this goes to demonstrate the true tragedy of alphabet-soup duplicity. On paper, Broner has the resume of an all-time great. Having status as a four-division world champion puts him in the company Roberto Duran and Pernell Whitaker. Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. But that’s pure hype.
In reality, Broner is a gifted, world-class fighter who has never reached his true potential in the ring. He has never turned in a single performance that should earn him a place in a discussion with fighters like Duran, Whitaker, Morales and Marquez.