While many casual fans took note of Adrien "The Problem" Broner for the mock-proposal he made to his girlfriend following his win over Vicente Escobedo on July 21 in Cincinnati, the real problem with Broner and his antics had transpired for the 36 or so previous hours.
Broner failed to make weight for the fight, weighing in at 133.5 pounds, which meant that he missed the division's limit by 3.5 pounds. That's a ridiculously huge margin, and worse, Broner clearly knew he was overweight, and made no effort to try to cut down and weigh-in again.
Instead, Broner's team kept picking away at Escobedo, finally swaying him and his team with enough money to take the fight, despite the unfair advantage that Broner held in terms of size and strength.
In an interview with HBO's Max Kellerman after the match, which Broner won by 5th Round TKO to improve to 24-0 with 20 knockouts, Broner claimed that he simply grew out of the weight class.
That's not any sort of excuse.
It's not an excuse when you're a 22-year-old kid whose body could clearly have made the weight. It's not an excuse when you sign on the dotted line and agree to fight in the division and defend your title (Broner was stripped of his title after failing to make weight). It's not an excuse when you clearly intentionally missed weight, and then made no efforts to reach the limit, or to at least lose several more pounds, as was requested of him.
Broner's problem is that he's a cocky, entitled, young and rich athlete, who already feels as if he has reached the pinnacle of the sport. He has fashioned himself in the image of Floyd Mayweather Jr., and not even the superstar of today, but the petulant kid who called an HBO contract offer "slave wages" as he was working his way up the ranks.
It was also Mayweather who never intended to make weight for his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, in September 2009, instead eating the fines in order to eat more comfortably during training camp.
Of course, the list of fighters who have struggled at the scales recently is lengthy indeed. A quick look not only gives you Broner and Mayweather, but Brandon Rios, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo, amongst scores of others.
Therefore, The Problem isn't just Broner, the problem is with the sport of boxing. Boxing needs to switch back to same day weigh-ins, forcing fighters to actually compete in divisions where their body belongs.
A simple 18-month proposal would allow same day weigh-ins to be put back into place with relative ease. The plan would begin with a six-month warning window of the impending changes. During that time there would be stricter enforcement and harsher penalties. Instead of a 10-20% fine, an immediate 50% sanction would be handed down to any fighter missing weight.
The second six-month period would mandate that weigh-ins could be held no longer than 24 hours before an upcoming fight (the Broner-Escobedo weigh-in, for example, was held more than 30 hours before fight time). Some promoters or commissions may choose to hold same day weigh-ins already at this time, as opposed to holding a weigh-in at 11 pm in the evening the night before a match. The same increased sanctions would apply.
The final six-month window would move all weigh-ins to the morning of the fight. During this time, all fighters in non-title fights would be given a 1 pound margin of error, i.e., a fighter weighing 131 pounds for a 130 pound fight would not be penalized. Fighters competing for titles would not have this luxury.
This gradual 18-month plan would ensure that everyone has enough time to prepare and adjust themselves, and to make whatever changes they need in terms of their pre-fight planning, their career mapping and whatever else.
Surely, there is also an argument against same day weigh-ins, which is why they were switched out to begin with. However, it's clear that previous day weigh-ins are no longer effective measures of which fighters belong where, let alone an effective tool to ensure an even and safe playing field for everyone involved.
Sources: HBO Boxing, Yahoo! Sports, LA Times
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
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