It’s time for Adrien Broner to grow up and get serious about his boxing gift before it’s too late. The former four-division titlist at one time appeared to be the heir to Floyd Mayweather’s throne, but a series of arrests, allegations and, not to mention, losses inside the ring have dashed such hopes.
Last week a rented SUV that Broner was driving was found riddled with bullet holes. Now the 27-year-old is laughing off what many believe was an attempt on his life, claiming that every killer wants a celebrity on his hit list.
“They only sent 30 shots at me, and they still missed,” Broner told a group of media members Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Shawn Porter-Andre Berto welterweight fight at the Barclays Center, CBS Sports reports. “I’ve got great defense.”
If things play out the way we’ve seen them before in the world of hip-hop, a world Broner not only circumnavigates but in which he believes himself to be an MC, then we all know this isn’t going to end well. The Cincinnati native once had a promising career. He was known for his flashy hand speed and knockout power in both hands. But Broner quickly began reading the liner notes of Mayweather’s playbook while skipping over the first two chapters titled “Hard Work” and “Dedication,” the mantra Mayweather lives by.
Broner’s boxing took a backseat to Broner’s antics, and inside the ring, Broner began doing something Mayweather couldn’t even begin to understand: He started losing. And the man nicknamed “the Problem” had become a problem.
But Broner started off strong; he won his first 27 fights, and then the arrests kept coming. According to Cincinnati.com, Broner was arrested at least eight times on charges stemming from robbery to assault:
His first major run-in with law enforcement was in 2007 when he was charged in Hamilton County with aggravated robbery and felonious assault. Police said he used a firearm and a club in the offense. He was acquitted on all charges that October. A separate assault charge was filed against him that year, but it too was dismissed.
The following year, he was arrested again. Cincinnati police said he was caught unlawfully carrying a .32-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver and intimidating a witness in separate incidents. Both cases were dismissed by Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman. A domestic violence charge against Broner was also dropped that year.
In 2010, he was arrested on robbery charges. In 2012, he was arrested again on assault charges. Both those cases ended in dismissals.
Despite his troubles in court, by 2013, Broner was the undefeated welterweight world champion. However, he lost a title that year in a San Antonio fight against Marcos Maidana. Broner has only lost one other bout since then. His record stands at 33-2.
In 2014, the World Boxing Council temporarily suspended Broner for making racially insensitive remarks during an interview after beating Carlos Molina in Las Vegas.
Then in 2016, he made headlines again in court. He was accused of beating a West Chester man and robbing him of $14,000 during a gambling dispute outside a Madisonville bowling alley.
After the charges came to light, he surrendered to police, but only after a televised fight in Washington, D.C. His WBA super lightweight champion title was stripped from him the day before that fight after he failed to make weight by .4 pounds. He fought anyway and won, leaving the title vacated.
Now the bullet-riddled SUV that Broner was driving limped into Kentucky, where it was immediately stopped by police. Once Broner had a minute to process his feelings on the shooting scare, he told TMZ Sports, that jealousy led to gunplay.
“They try to kill me because they jealous of my success,” Broner said. “Every fake killer or every killer wants a celebrity on their list. I was once them before. The higher the celebrity you’ve got on your list, that’s how people respect you.”
But that’s just it: Broner is not a killer; nor is he a rapper, both images he pretends to be. The truth is, Broner is a father of seven, and at one time he was an extremely gifted fighter. But if he doesn’t move away from his past and put his energy into boxing, then he only becomes a cautionary tale of what not to do, and even he knows that.
“This ain’t my first rodeo, man; I’ve been on the bull a long time,” he told TMZ Sports. “Listen, don’t get me wrong. I’m not worried, I’m not scared of this because I’ve been through this before. At the end of the day, I want the best for my children. I want the best for my family. I want the best for my siblings. So now all I have to do is take myself out of the equation. It’s just about moving different. The best thing I think is to move away but don’t move that far.”
But this is kind of the Broner way: He does crazy shit and then apologizes and claims that he’s going to do better until the next crazy allegation or arrest or charges. The fear is that Broner is running on borrowed time, and if he doesn’t get his act together soon, he may run out of rounds.
In October 2016, Broner teased thoughts of suicide on social media, which sent his family and friends scrambling to make sure that he was OK. He tells CBS Sports that during that time in October, he was serious. Two days after his car was shot up, he tweeted:
I don’t know what it’s going to take for Broner to realize that the game he’s playing is fatal and the results are final. I know he believes that he’s down a few rounds, but he’s got a puncher’s chance and I just want him to keep swinging. And that might mean moving out of the city he believes is trying to bring him down. It might mean losing all of this trumped-up, fake-thug bullshit.
It might mean getting serious about boxing, the gift that took Adrien Broner out of the hood, only for him to insist on being there. This whole thing is starting to feel like an episode of “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong,” and now, after the bullets have been lodged in the SUV, is the time to get out.