RingTV.com caught up with Adrien Broner on Sunday at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Mo., minutes before the undefeated WBO junior lightweight titleholder boarded a return flight to his native Cincinnati, Ohio.
It had been only a few hours earlier on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., that Broner scored a sensational fourth-round knockout over Eloy Perez in defense of his WBO belt. The HBO-televised victory sent the 22-year-old boxer-puncher’s reputation skyrocketing, launching what will likely be a popular and accomplished title reign.
“I did whatever I wanted to do. I just took my time, placed my shots, and I didn’t even try to knock him out. But the knock out came,” said Broner, who notched his third straight knockout win, the 19th of his career, while improving to 23-0. “I trained hard. It was a long camp for such a short night, but I worked hard, I earned it, and I deserved it.”
Broner froze Perez (23-1-2, 7 KOs) against the ropes with a vicious straight right hand that began the 25-year-old’s downward descent. As Perez began to fall, Broner connected with an equilibrium-stealing, insurance right hand behind the ear that landed Perez face-first and on his knees.
A counter-puncher from Salinas, Calif., Perez twice attempted unsuccessfully to rise, leading referee Gino Rodriguez to wave an end to the fight at 2:24 of the round.
“I have tunnel vision,” said Broner, who has taken to having his hair brushed by his father during post-fight interviews. “I have my eyes on the prize, and I cashed in. I went to go and get the cheeze, and I got it.”
A bombastic personality who also has designs on a career as a rapper, Broner’s ring entrance was a spectacle that fans have not seen since Roy Jones Jr.’s prime, for he did so while dancing and rapping a cut of his own creation.
“Like I’ve always said, I’m an entertainer. That’s my new song called ‘Cook,’ which is a dance. The video is on Youtube,” said Broner, whose ring nickname is “Da Problem,” while his rap monicker is “AJ Da Problem.”
“I’ve got this movement going on called ‘The Band Camp,’ and it’s me doing my thing. We’re moving slowly but surely, and we’ll be on top of the game pretty soon.”
Broner may already be at the top of his game in in the ring, where he may next be slated to appear on the May 19 under card of the rematch between IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan.
“We’re looking into it. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard [Schaefer] is going to have some discussions this week with HBO to see what kind of money they’re offering and what kind of budget they’re working with,” said Eric Gomez, matchmaker with Golden Boy Promotions.
“Then, we would be looking to possibly place him on that show, but it’s not a guarantee yet. It’s just an idea. Richard’s going to start working on it this week. We’re not sure when we’ll have a resolution on that.”
Schaefer said that he met with HBO’s President of Sports, Ken Hershman, on Monday regarding Broner, among other things.
“One of the topics was Adrien Broner, and I’ll be working in the coming weeks to see what’s next for Adrien,” said Schaefer. “But he certainly made a statement on Saturday night.”
Broner’s biggest fight prior to facing Perez was in March of last year, a disputed unanimous decision over former world titleholder, Daniel Ponce de Leon before de Leon’s partisan fans in at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
“That was the turning point for Adrien Broner. He had to get the butterflies out and the jitters. He fought a guy that was a top name and a former world champion, and, you know what? He won the fight. He dominated him,” said Gomez of Broner, who took some criticism after the win over de Leon.
“Broner had been blowing guys out, so people weren’t used to seeing him in a fight where he had some problems. Even though he won that fight convincingly, he knew, because he got criticized a lot, that he had to learn how to close the show, and he’s been doing that. So that was the turning point, because after that fight, he turned it up a notch.”
Broner responded with a first-round stoppage of Jason Litzau in June, followed by a third-round knockout in his last fight in November against Martin Rodriguez that earned the WBO’s vacant belt and ended the former titleholder’s unbeaten streak at 13-0-1, with nine knockouts.
Next up was Perez, THE RING’s No. 9-rated junior lightweight, who coming off his second straight knockout victory, having stopped Ira Terry in the sixth round in October in the wake of September’s second-round stoppage of Daniel Jimenez that ended a run of three straight wins.
Perez’s signature win was a 10-round decision over Dannie Williams (21-1, 17 KOs), who has won nine consecutive fights, six of them by knockout, since falling to Perez in September of 2009.
But after dismantling Perez, what does the entertainer do for an encore?
“For me, it really don’t matter. I’m ready for whoever. Whoever wants to fight, just sign on the dotted line, and that’s whose behind I’m kicking,” said Broner. “Other than that, I’m going to stay in shape, I’ll be right back in the gym tomorrow, and I’ll stay fresh, fly and flashy, baby.”
Schaefer couldn’t agree more.
“Adrien Broner showed, yet again, that he is maybe the most charismatic and maybe the most talented fighter that we currently have among the young guys. He is a very, very special talent, and he showed that again,” said Schaefer.
“Not just in the fact that he won against Perez, but in the way that he won against Perez. Perez is a very, good, strong, solid fighter who was undefeated, and Adrien Broner made it look easy. That’s what Adrien does. He makes it look easy, and that’s how special he is.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org