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The AB (Always Boorish) Hustle

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  • The AB (Always Boorish) Hustle

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    By Thomas Hauser

    Showtime served up a tripleheader from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on Saturday night, February 20. The centerpiece was the newly reformed, more responsible, and more mature Adrien Broner who on Valentine's Day told TMZ that his critics could "eat a dick and put gravy on it."

    There was a time when Broner, now 31, was regarded as having the potential to be a great fighter. He won belts at 130, 135, 140, and 147 pounds which enabled him to be marketed as a "four-time world champion." But the titles were suspect in that there were always more credible champions in the same weight division at the same time. And his ring exploits were overshadowed by his outside-the-ring behavior.

    Broner has a criminal record and history of other anti-social conduct that dates back to his teens. His transgressions have been well-catalogued over the years. Bringing his resume up to date, the following highlights have occurred since he lost a unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao on January 19, 2019 (Adrien's most recent fight prior to Saturday night).

    (1) On March 20, 2019, Broner posted a video on Instagram in which he took a social media feud with Andrew Caldwell to a new level and ranted, "If any f***ing punk *** nigga come run up on me, trying to touch me on all that gay ****, I'm letting you know right now, if I ain't got my gun on me, I'm knocking you the f*** out. If I've got my gun on me, I'm shooting you in the f***ing face. That's on God. I ain't playing with none of these niggas. I don't want that gay ****." Thereafter, Caldwell was granted a restraining order that prohibited Broner from coming within five hundred feet of him.

    (2) In April 2019, Broner pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and unlawful restraint after being charged with gross sexual imposition (a felony), misdemeanor sexual imposition, and abduction in conjunction with assaulting a woman in a Cleveland nightclub. He was fined $1,000 by the court, required to reimburse the woman for $4,200 in medical bills, and sentenced to two year’s probation. The woman then sued Broner and won an $830,000 default judgment. On November 2, 2020, Broner was jailed for contempt of court for failing to pay the judgment. He was released from jail two days later on the condition that the judgment would be paid out of the purse for his next fight.

    (3) At the February 21, 2020, weigh-in for the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, Broner was removed in handcuffs from The MGM Grand Garden Arena by Las Vegas police officers after he refused a request by security personnel that he leave the premises. He had been previously banned from the MGM Grand because of an earlier incident.

    (4) On March 13, 2020, Broner was arrested in Miami, charged with DUI, and held overnight in a Miami jail.

    (5) Also in 2020, a Las Vegas court handed down a $4,000,000 judgment against Broner in conjunction with a 2017 incident in which he knocked an individual named Carlos Gonzalez unconscious in a Las Vegas strip club. Broner was arrested after the incident and pled guilty to battery.

    Hall of Fame trainer and ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas put things in perspective recently when he declared, "I don't expect people to be perfect. I expect them to be decent. Do you think I feel good being attached to a sport that puts Adrien Broner in the spotlight?"

    As a fighter, Broner's primary value is now as an opponent for high-level A-side fighters. Prior to Saturday night, his ring record stood at 33 wins, 4 losses, and 1 draw. But he was winless in his most recent three outings. To maintain credibility, a fighter has to win now and then. And the last "then" for Adrien was on February 18, 2017, when he won a disputed split decision in his hometown of Cincinnati over journeyman Adrian Granados.

    Initially, Broner was scheduled to fight Pedro Campa in his 2021 return to Showtime. Then Campa fell out because of a positive COVID-19 test and TBA was listed as the opponent. Often in boxing, TBA is more threatening than the adversary who actually steps into the ring on fight night. Enter designated victim Jovanie Santiago.

    Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KOs) is a 31-year-old native of Puerto Rican who had never fought a world class fighter. Initially, the contract weight for Broner-Santiago was 140 pounds. Then Broner (who ballooned up last year to the size of a 5'6" cruiserweight) had trouble making weight. Two days before the bout, it was announced that Broner-Santiago would be contested at 147 pounds.

    As the fight approached, Broner spouted familiar refrains: "I'm motivated again . . . I've rededicated myself to training . . . I'm more mature now . . . I'm staying out of trouble . . . I'm going to take over the sport." During a February 18 virtual press conference, he proclaimed, "“I’ve had so many great performances and I’m looking forward to another great performance Saturday night. He [Santiago] is here because of me and everybody in this room is here because of me."

    Justifying the match-up, Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza said of Broner, “He is still one of the most well-known, well-recognized, active fighters in the sport today. When you talk about recognition among casual fans and non-fans, he does have a level of awareness that brings people to his fights. He does not hesitate to take on quality opposition and he still generates a lot of interest when he gets in the ring. People will watch and people will generally be entertained when Adrien Broner fights.”

    However, one might note that Broner has not been "active" lately (unless one considers his recent activity in strip clubs). This was his first fight in more than two years. Santiago (who was listed by as the eighty-eighth-ranked junior-welterweight in the world) was not "quality opposition." And while Adrien has the captivating personality of a train wreck, his actual fights haven't been entertaining in quite a while.

    Robert Easter (22-1, 14 KOs) vs. Ryan Martin (24-1, 14 KOs, 1 KO by) opened the Showtime telecast. Easter once held the IBF lightweight title by virtue of a split decision win over Richard Commey. But he lost it to Mikey Garcia thirty months ago. Martin had been knocked out by Josh Taylor in his one previous step-up fight. Easter was busier and better that Martin on Saturday night and, relying primarily on his jab, prevailed by a 118-110, 118-110, 117-111 margin.

    The next bout was a heavyweight match-up between Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs, 2 KOs by) and Otto Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs).

    Breazeale, age 35, brings an unusual commodity to boxing - class. He's a gracious, thoughtful, nice man. At 6-feet-7-inches tall, 261 pounds, he's also a formidable physical presence. But Dominic didn't take up boxing until he was in his mid-twenties. His ring style is wooden and he's a slow-moving target.

    Wallin, age 30, started boxing in Sweden fifteen years ago and now lives in New York. He's a 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound southpaw and has never been knocked down as a pro.

    Wallin went the distance in a losing effort against Tyson Fury seventeen months ago. Breazeale was knocked out by Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder on the two occasions when he reached for the brass ring. Neither man had fought anyone of note beyond that, although Dominic had faced slightly better competition.

    Wallin isn't a big puncher. But he's quicker and a better boxer than Breazeale. Also, Dominic was never able to figure out his opponent's southpaw style. And rather than set up his punches, Breazeale throws one telegraphed punch at a time. That might work against club-fight-level opposition but not against more skilled boxers.

    Against Wallin, Breazeale kept trying to land the one big punch that would turn the fight around. And he couldn't land it. By the middle rounds, his face was puffing up and there was ugly swelling around his right eye (which closed and turned a grotesque shade of purple as the bout went on). By the late rounds, Dominic had lost what little form he had. But he kept moving forward and never stopped trying to win. Wallin played defense in the late going and cruised to a 118-110, 117-111, 116-112 triumph.

    That set the stage for the main event. Broner was a 7-to-1 betting favorite. He has skills (that he doesn't always use) and takes a good punch. And Santiago is essentially a club fighter.

    It was a dreadful fight. Broner gave a stink-out effort (which is what fans have come to expect from him lately). Santiago did his best to take the fight to him. But Adrien made a concerted effort for most of the night to avoid engaging. Toward that end, he was aided by referee Arthur Mercante, who took away Santiago's inside game by prematurely breaking the fighters again and again when Jovanie was working at close quarters. That led Showtime commentator Al Bernstein to declare, "A lot of breaks are happening in this fight when there's really no reason to break the fighters."

    Mercante also chose to disregard Broner repeatedly shoving his forearm into Santiago's face and throat (which was Adrien's most effective inside weapon). And at the end of round four, he deducted a point from Jovanie for a punch after the bell. That seemed a bit unfair since, as recounted by Bernstein, "Broner threw a punch after the bell and Santiago responded."

    According to CompuBox, Santiago had an edge in punches landed in every round except the second (when each man landed six punches). Overall, Santiago out-landed Broner by a 207-to-98 margin.

    So, Santiago won. Right?


    All three judges - Peter Hary (117-110), Tom Carusone (116-111), and Glenn Feldman (115-112) - scored the fight for Broner. That was a disgrace.

    Giving the victory to Broner was bad enough. The margin of victory was unconscionable. As Paul Magno wrote two years ago, "Judges who err in favor of house fighters (lead promoter fighters) are a valued commodity. Whether there is some direct corruption or simply an embracing of useful *****ry is beside the point. The fact of the matter is that judges who tend to favor house fighters get consistent gigs and there’s nothing that will get you left off the 'acceptable judges' list quicker than someone who takes a cushy high-profile judging gig but sticks a thumb in the eye of the business entity paying his salary."

    After the bout, Broner spoke with Brian Custer of Showtime and referenced the fact that a majority of fans responding on Twitter as well as Steve Farhood (Showtime's unofficial scorer) had scored the bout in favor of Santiago.

    "F*** Twitter and f*** Steve Farhood," the newly reformed, more responsible, more mature Adrien Broner said.

    Thomas Hauser's email address is His most recent book – Staredown: Another Year Inside Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism. In 2019, Hauser was selected for induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Well that tears it. Thomas Hauser quoting my friend Paul Magno in a favorable light. Maybe there is some hope after all.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kid Blast View Post
      Well that tears it. Thomas Hauser quoting my friend Paul Magno in a favorable light. Maybe there is some hope after all.
      I just swallowed a little of my own puke. 🤢


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        Come on man, you can do better than that.

    • #4
      Man oh Man here we go again who do I hate more and why ? Throw the whole bunch of them in the ring with a bucket of sharp knieves and see who is left standing. I bet people would be interested in that on Showtime. Why not? A sharp knife is still the most recognized and well known weapon in America. That is how stupid it all gets after a while.