Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner is ready to hop into the ring with Akron’s own Shawn Porter this evening (June 20) on NBC’s PBC Live from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. The two have history. Broner (30-1, 22 KOs) and Porter (25-1-1, 16 KOs) are former sparring partners. Broner, a winner of three of his last four fights is coming off a 12-round win over John Molina back in March at the very venue where he’s scheduled to face Porter.
To date, Broner’s career has one blemish: he lost to Marcos Rene Maidana in December 2013 at the Alamodome in Texas, via a unanimous decision. Still, Broner wants to avenge his loss to. “I gotta get that out the way first,” Broner tells VIBE. “Because I know he was never supposed to beat me. I beat myself that fight.” Maidana’s win gained him the WBA Welterweight title. “Once I beat Maidana, everything else is behind me now,” he said. “Now we can just move forward.”
Maidana is not the only fighter on Broner’s wish list of opponents. According to the fighter, he also wants a shot at Manny Pacquiao. Why? “Why not,” said Broner. “I’d love to beat the sh– out of Pacquiao, that’ll be fun.”
Broner is chatty and witty, a characteristic that many boxers have–and need–in order to keep their confidence high and the fans wanting more. As much as he talks, he also respects the craft and the process. Nicknamed “The Problem,” Broner has won world titles in three weight divisions. He also professes a love for the current state of boxing, while he continues to wait for his chance to fully shine. “You have to pay homage to Pacquiao, you have to pay homage to Floyd Mayweather. Duh, because they’re still in the game,” he said.
“But they only got a couple of more fights left and then all you have is Adrien Broner–that’s it! No disrespect to other fighters, but there’s no one else who can put on a show like me. It’s nobody that is as entertaining as me, it’s nobody who can really draw a crowd that I draw.”
Speaking of Floyd Mayweather, Jr., many have compared Broner’s swagger and bravado to that of Floyd, who happens to be Broner’s close friend and confidant. According to Broner, they heard about one another via comparisons from the media. Broner asserts that the two met for the first time at Greystone Manor nightclub in Los Angeles. “That was during my turn up days,” joked Broner. “I was in there turned the f–k up and I didn’t even know he was there and we found out he was there, so we went up there, and [since then], he’s been just a connection for me, like a big brother.”
From there, they clicked. And according to Broner, they all left the club together and had a late dinner/early breakfast at a nearby restaurant. Broner and his posse had a plane to catch the next day and apparently, Floyd told him, ‘no they didn’t’ and the group ended up talking for seven hours. “We were talking ‘til like 9 or 10 in the morning,” said Broner. “We were just talking sh– and he kept me around for about a month and a half.”
The rest is history. Many see the salesman and trash talker that Mayweather is on television and via social media. Broner sees the hard worker and mentor in Mayweather and he respects Mayweather’s ability to maintain his focus and keep his eyes on the prize. “The biggest thing that I love about him is his work ethic,” said Broner. “All of the flashiness, I don’t care about none of that. All of the money that’s he’s made, I don’t care about none of that, because that’s what’s going to come with the success. I really look at how dedicated he really is to his craft.”
Many have characterized Mayweather’s workout regimens to training as if he’s poor. As a technical fighter like his now-mentor, how does Broner’s work ethic compare? “I think I work as hard or harder,” said Broner. “That’s one of the things that we really have in common, the way that we keep working and work out. When people watch us work out, it’s not just a workout; you’ve never seen it before and it’s something special right there.”
In the current climate that is sports, entertainment and social media, Broner sees himself as more than just a boxer. he sees himself as an entertainer. Once he achieves his career goals in the ring, he sees himself continuing to take his show on the road. “I’m an entertainer, I’m not a professional boxer,” he said. “I know how to entertain I don’t care where you put me at.”
His audition to entertain and be a funny man is off to an interesting start via Instagram. Instead of leaving a tip for a waitress during a recent visit to a restaurant, Broner wrote the words ‘Or Nah’ on his receipt, to which many news outlets chastised the boxer for not looking out for the server. Where’s the love, Adrien? “I did, I left a lot,” says Broner. “I left a lot of advice. Don’t go through a dark alley or nothing.” Joking aside, the boxer was staying at a hotel connected to the restaurant. He bought drinks for friends and ended up charging a tip of $3 to his hotel room.
Shifting to tonight, Broner will entertain in the ring once again in Las Vegas. Despite critics who don’t take kindly to his humor and question his desire in the squared circle, he’s ready and living in the moment. “Boxing is something you really have to do for years,” he said.
Broner has to go out and get it. Great entertainers like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Richard Pryor know how to take command of the crowd. That’ll be Broner’s task tonight, with Taylor being privy to commanding a ring himself. Deemed a slight underdog entering tonight’s fight, no one can deny Broner’s speed and technical skill. However, Porter has an equally accomplished resume. So will Broner’s skill be on full display?
“God gives it to you,” says Broner. “I’ve come to find out, some people just have it.”
Photo Credit: Dan Gotti