Is Adrien Broner capable of beating the best at 135?

Adrien Broner says he’s going to return to his old weight class at 135 and clean out the division at age 31. 135 is a weight class that Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs) spent the early part of his career at, and he did quite well there before moving up the 147lb division in 2013.

But as the saying goes, ‘You can never return home again.’ For Broner, it could prove to be too late in his career for him to come back down to 135 from 147.

It’s not that the 31-year-old Broner can’t lose the weight to make the 135lb limit to compete. The real issue is can Broner lose the weight without depleting himself and taking away his effectiveness.

The former four-division world champion Broner has been fighting at 147 since 2013, and he’s no longer winning like he used to. He hasn’t won a fight since 2017, and it’s pretty apparent that he’s worn out his welcome at 147. His last three matches have been inadequate efforts against Manny Pacquiao, Jessie Vargas, and Adrian Granados.

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He lost to Pacquiao, was given a controversial win over Granados and an equally questionable draw against Vargas. To say that Broner looked shot is putting it mildly.

Broner looked weight drained to the extreme when he melted down to 140 to take on Mikey Garcia at light-welterweight in 2017. Mikey easily beat Broner by a 12 round decision in that fight and made him look bad.

Adrien Broner, Devin Haney - Boxing News

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“Adrien Broner hasn’t fought since losing to Manny Pacquiao in 2019, but he’s eying a return to the lightweight division,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN. “‘I want to be world champion again,’ Broner told the Wyatt Live podcast.

“‘I’m a natural lightweight, and if I come back to 135, I’ll destroy the weight class.’ Broner never lost at lightweight but hasn’t fought at 135 since 2013. Do you buy Adrien Broner as a lightweight?”

It’s been too long of a time since Broner last competed at 135, and it’ll be next to impossible for him to make weight without draining himself. Broner is wealthy now, and he likes to eat, drink, and enjoy all the comforts that money can buy.

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To fight at 135, Broner would need to deny himself the fatty foods and the drink that he’s become accustomed to. Without those things, Broner might not be happy. Adrien will need to suffer a lot by working out daily, watching what he eats, and not drinking alcohol.

Can Broner abstain long enough for him to make 135 the healthy way? I doubt it.

“It’s hard to buy anything Adrien Broner is selling nowadays,” said Sergio Mora. “We’ve seen how he fluctuates with weight. We’ve seen his lifestyle outside of the ring.

“We’ve seen too many times Adrien Broner talks and then doesn’t perform. Was he really fun to watch at 135? Absolutely. He was a real problem at 135 because he had the fast hands and the explosive combinations, but he wasn’t flatfooted.

“When he moved up to 140 and 147, he only lost to the best fighters, but he got slower, he got more stationery. That’s not what you need to do, especially against these young studs at 135 that are explosive, that are fast-footed.

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“I just think a stationary, older 31-year-old Adrien Broner will have a problem, a real problem, with these youngsters.”

Besides the drop in weight that’ll be hard on Broner, he’s talking like he wants to go straight into a big fight at 135 rather than take a series of tune-ups to get acclimatized to the division.

Broner is going to gamble by going down in weight, and hoping that he’ll do well at 135. More likely than not, this will be a one-off for Adrien. He’ll move down to 135, take on someone like Devin Haney, get poorly beaten, and then give up on the idea of fighting in the weight class.

The Problem’s power should improve at 135

“I would love to see Adrien Broner back at 135 pounds because I think that’s his natural weight and his most effective weight,” said Mannix. “He had 12 fights above 135 pounds, and he only had knockouts in two of them.

Adrien Broner, Devin Haney - Boxing News

“Yes, he did step up his competition when he left the 135-pound division. He fought some of the best fighters out there, but it was abundantly clear that his power didn’t carry up.”

While it’s true the 135lb division is Broner’s natural one, he’s eaten himself out of it, and so you can’t call it his natural weight class any longer. It WAS Broner’s natural weight class, but not anymore.

“The vast majority of his knockouts came at 135 and below. I’m all for Adrien Broner, making the jump back down to 135.

“I just don’t believe it, and that’s large because in covering Adrien, he has never taken his career seriously enough to make me believe that he can naturally get down to the lightweight division and be as effective as he once was.

Broner did knock out a lot of guys at 130 and 135, but he didn’t take on the type of talented fighters that compete in those weight classes today.

You can argue that if you took a young Broner in his 20s and had him fight at super featherweight at lightweight today, he wouldn’t be a world champion. Broner would likely lose to these fighters:

  • Shakur Stevenson
  • Gervonta Davis
  • Miguel Berchelt
  • Vasiliy Lomachenko
  • Jamel Herring
  • Joseph Diaz
  • Devin Haney
  • Teofimo Lopez

Adrien Broner, Devin Haney - Boxing News

“You’ve seen him after his fights when he goes up. He goes up significantly in weight. He has been noted many times before to be involved with alcohol a lot.

“I’ve seen him drinking while at events. These are not signs for a fighter that is going to be able to get his act together and healthily make 135 and be able to challenge one of the top guys down there.”

All the partying that Broner has done over the years makes you wonder if it’s taken a lot out of his game.

In theory, Broner’s power should improve at 135, but it might not. If he’s weight drained from going down to 135, he’ll be weaker, not more energetic and he’ll be a walking skeleton. That’s how Broner looked in his loss to Mikey Garcia at 140 in 2017.

Adrien will have problems making 135

“Look, I think it’s a good weight class for him, and I think a fresh and healthy Broner can be a problem for some of the guys at 135,” said Mannix.

“A lot of them would love to fight him because he still has that name that they would want a piece of.

Adrien Broner, Devin Haney - Boxing News

“But I’m just not convinced that he can make it down in a healthy way and spend more than one or two fights at 135 pounds.”

Broner’s attempt at fighting at 140 against Mikey in 2017 showed that he’s drained when moving below 147. In that respect, Broner is going to be like a lot of fighters that step up in weight and then struggle when they go back down to their old weight classes.

“I don’t think so either, but he’s still marketable and still controversial,” said Mora of Broner in questioning whether he can drop back down to 135.

“Can you imagine an East Coast fight with Adrien Broner ‘The Problem’ against Tank Davis in Baltimore or Atlanta. That fight would sell.

“It’s going to sell period because Tank Davis has already proven to be a marketable fighter, but with Broner, selling it, that’s exactly why he wants to go back down to lightweight.”

Broner can make money if he faces someone famous like Tank Davis, but his chances of winning aren’t good. Tank is faster, more reliable, and he throws a lot more punches than Broner.

Is Broner capable of beating the best at 135?

“Can he win, can he beat fighters like that, and can he beat fighters like Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, and anyone ranked in that top five, I just don’t see it?” said Mora.

“At 31-years-old dropping weight like that when you’re already accustomed to fighting at 147. Not only that. He’s 5’6″ or 5’6 1/2″ at most.”

Broner will be lucky if he can beat some of the fringe contenders at 135. If he faces anyone competent in the division, he could regret it.

We’re going to find out soon if Broner is capable of beating the top lightweights because he’s talking to Haney a lot, and those two could agree on a fight soon. If Broner wins, then he would have a new weight class for him to pick lucrative fights.

“He doesn’t carry that weight to 147,” continued Mora. “He’s a natural 135-pounder, but he got lazy. Not only physically, but he got lazy when he started making money too.

“So if he can get that hunger back, which he says he’s going to do it, maybe he might be something at 135 still. I doubt it, though. I’m selling on this one.”

Adrien Broner, Devin Haney - Boxing News

“He’s called out Devin Haney several times, and Haney says h wants to fight him,” said Mannix. “I would love to see that fight at 135 pounds. I’m just not confident that Adrien Broner can ultimately get there.”

“Lazy” is the right word to describe Broner. He looks and talks like he’s lazy, and you can’t be like that if you want to beat the top lightweights in the division.