Brand | 14th November 2021 | Son of God | Virtual Wire
When you think of dominant African-American Boxers of the past 30 years, you automatically envision the power of “Iron” Mike Tyson, the cat-like lightning speed, quickness & freakish athletic ability of Roy Jones Jr. & the Box Office Defensive Wizardry of Boxing Purist, “Pretty Boy” Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
However, over the past decade, there have been 2 other fighters, whose impact gets overlooked at times. Adrien “The Problem” Broner & Andre “SOG” Ward.
Andre’s Gold Medal Olympian Status & Adrien’s Viral Takeover
In 2004, Andre Ward won the Light Heavyweight Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. He became the 1st American Boxer to accomplish that feat in 8 years. He turned pro in February 2005, but he became a household name in the sport when he entered the Super Six World Boxing Classic Tournament on the Showtime ShoBox Network in 2009. Ward defeated Mikkel Kessler, Allen Green, Arthur Abraham & Carl Froch to go on to win the tournament & become the WBC, WBA & Ring Magazine Super Middleweight Champion.
Adrien Broner took a different route in his Boxing career. Unlike Ward, Broner didn’t have a highly decorated Olympic background. Also, his 1st major televised fight on HBO with tough contender Daniel Ponce De Leon was not his best 1st impression. He luckily escaped with a widely controversial decision victory. However, after that rough performance, he would vastly improve. He would go on to fight Jason Litzu & win by 1st rd technical knockout & become the #1 contender for the 130 Pound WBO Super Featherweight Title.
In 2011, he would get his first major title shot against Vicente Martin Rodriguez, where he would dominate in a 3rd round knockout victory, become champion & also become a big hit for the network & nicknamed himself “Mr. HBO!” He would go on to defend his title against Eloy Perez where he won by a 4th round KO & Vicente Escobedo where he won by an 8th round KO before moving up to Lightweight to fight #1 Ranked WBC Lightweight Champion Antonio Demarco, where Broner once again won in dominant fashion, with an 8th round TKO, further boosting Broner’s stock & drawing power on the HBO Sports Network.
Sadly, with all their success & promising future in the sport & business of Boxing at the time, they also faced the downside of the sport & business of Boxing. Andre Ward had the potential to be a megastar in the sport on the level of Sugar Ray Leonard. Ward is charming, articulate in his knowledge of the sport, laser-focused on his craft, on top of having the Olympic Gold Medal that should’ve automatically boosted his marketability. Sadly, Ward was forced to retire due to numerous injuries in a statement he posted on his website in 2017. However, in December 2020, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame 2021 Class, for all he has accomplished in his career. He is now an analyst for ESPN Boxing & he even tried his hand in acting, with his role as Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler.
Adrien Broner also had a very promising career & even had the potential to be as action-packed as Roy Jones Jr. & as polarizing Floyd “Money” Mayweather, which would have been a recipe for massive box office success. Sadly for Broner, he became more known on YouTube & social media than he was for his action in the ring, to the point it caused him 2 major losses to Marcos Maidana & “Showtime” Shawn Porter. However, in February 2021, Broner made a comeback to Jovanie Santiago, where he won by unanimous decision.
Picture - Sky Sports
Both Ward & Broner have left their mark on the sport of Boxing. 2 different fighters, with 2 totally different approaches to the sport but they made a major impact on their generation. However, if you were fortunate enough to witness these 2 dynamic fighters in their primes in the 2010s, whenever their names are mentioned, in the back of our minds, we will always wonder, What If? & “How much further could they have gone if they weren’t sidetracked by injuries & had a better grasp of the fame that came with their success?” Salute to “SOG” & “The Problem” & thanks for all of the Epic In-Ring Action over the years!!!