Is talent and hair-brushing enough to make Adrien Broner a boxing superstar?

Kevin Iole
Boxing Experts Blog

I'm a believer in Adrien Broner. Well, I'm a believer in his ability to fight. Whether he'll become a star in boxing is another matter entirely. Talent alone is not enough to become a star in this sport. You need that something else.

Broner, clearly, has the fighting ability, as he showed on Saturday in the opener of an HBO doubleheader from St. Louis, when he knocked out previously unbeaten Eloy Perez in four rounds to retain his World Boxing Organization super featherweight title.

Broner has fast hands, power and a killer instinct. He wasn't ready for prime time in his HBO debut, when he struggled to a so-so victory over Daniel Ponce de Leon in Anaheim, Calif., on March 5.

Since then, however, Broner has been dynamic. He stopped Jason Litzau in the first round, knocked out Vicente Rodriguez in the third and then cold-cocked Perez on Saturday.

He's only 22, but he's clearly the best super featherweight in the world. The problem for the man nicknamed "The Problem," is that there aren't many great fights to be made at 130 pounds. There are a number of good options at featherweight, and more at lightweight, but he doesn't have a ton of choices at super featherweight.

His shtick is brushing his hair in the ring. After his fights, as he's being interviewed in the ring, his father stands next to him and brushes his hair.

"Listen, man, if you were in the ring you might be brushing my hair. I love it, the fans love it. So that's just me. It's not a gimmick. I didn't make this up. I didn't plan it out. This is something I felt like needed to be done, so I just do it to brush my hair."

Of course, it might be better were it Don King in the ring brushing his hair, since "The World's Greatest Promoter" has more of a need to brush his hair than does Broner. As shticks, go, well, it's OK.

What Broner really needs, though, is a good opponent to fight. Given that he's with Golden Boy Promotions, you can rule out anyone with Top Rank. One possibility for a big fight might be Golden Boy lightweight Jorge Linares, who was stopped in his last outing by Antonio DeMarco in one of 2011's best and bloodiest battles.

If Linares can make 130, Golden Boy could put together a compelling match for Broner's World Boxing Organization title. And if he can't make it, Broner seems willing to fight someone with a big name at a catch weight.

He's got the talent and he's got a shtick. He just needs an opponent who will bring him the recognition he needs to become a star.

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