Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer touted this past Saturday’s performance by former WBO 130-pound titleholder Adrien Broner, who scored a fifth-round knockout of Vicente Escobedo at U.S. Bank Arena in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati.
Known as “Da Problem,” Broner (24-0, 20 knockouts) scored his fifth straight stoppage against the 30-year-old Escobedo (26-4, 15 KOs), who was knocked out for the first time in his career.
Broner’s effort scored a 3.4 rating on the telecast, a number which surpassed HBO’s tape-delayed re-broadcast of Tim Bradley’s controversial split-decision over Manny Pacquiao, as well as Danny Garcia’s upset fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan on July 14.
Furthermore, the figure ranked Broner’s broadcast as HBO’s top Boxing After Dark telecast out of nine on the year.
“I know that I’m going to be the man who takes over boxing,” Broner told RingTV.com in a recent interview. “I just have to have faith and reach out and grab it. I don’t think about it, because I already know what I’m going to do.”
Some fans expressed outrage, and media members condemned the fact that Broner’s fight was allowed to happen, being that it was contested over the junior lightweight limit because Broner missed weight by 3 1/2 pounds, an infraction that cost him his WBO belt at the scales.
Broner’s talent can not be denied, though, even as his in-the-ring antics may be polarizing.
Broner carries the rap monicker “AJ Da Problem” and regularly posts videos on Youtube. His entrance for the fourth-round knockout of Eloy Perez in February featured his dancing and rapping a cut of his own creation.
After defeating Escobedo, his in-the-ring interview ended with a mock marriage proposal to his girlfriend, Arien Nicole Gazaway, only to get down on one knee and to have her brush his hair, as he has had his father do in the past.
Broner also used that moment to call out WBC lightweight beltholder Antonio DeMarco of Tijuana, Mexico, as well as four-division beltwinner Juan Manuel Marquez, of Mexico City, and former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios.
Broner also may be in line to be the No. 1 contender to the title owned by WBO lightweight beltholder Ricky Burns (34-2, 9 KOs), of Scotland, who has a defense opposite Kevin Mitchell (33-1, 24 KOs), of England, on Sept. 22.
In an interview with RingTV.com, Schaefer praised Broner as “a superstar.” He also took shots at HBO’s President of Sports Programming, Michael Lombardo, as well as HBO co-president Richard Plepler and rival promoter Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, who called Schaefer’s comments “beneath contempt” before declining further comment.
Richard Schaefer on the overall performance of the show:
“The fight this weekend with Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman, the Boxing After Dark, produced an outstanding rating of 2.9. That’s one of the highest ratings for Boxing After Dark, and it’s a rating that is consistent with the ratings that HBO has for World Championship Boxing.
“It’s a rating which, for example, a Sergio Martinez never had. It is an absolute testament to Adrien Broner. Adrien Broner is a new star, and you will see that Keith Thurman will not be far behind. Keith Thurman is another charismatic fighter who can fight.
“We are not afraid to put him in with anybody. Based on what HBO paid for the event, and the rating that it generated, it is probably the highest-rated HBO boxing event from a cost point of view and a ratings point of view in the last five or six years.”
On the main event:
On the criticism of Broner:
“All of these other promoters who are talking s–t, and who are using certain media members, they’re just idiots. And what it shows you is that these media members who have 10,000 followers or less on Twitter, that they are totally insignificant.
“It is unfortunate that smart people like some of the HBO brass are following these — I can’t even call them journalists — these bloggers and are being influenced by that, it is pretty darned sad.”
On the Golden Boy stable:
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Pat Lovell, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com