Lem Satterfield

Broner: ‘My IQ in the ring is equivalent to Einstein’s’

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During the weigh-in the day before his June 9 clash with then-WBO welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, rising WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley was being interviewed by HBO’s ringside commentator Max Kellerman, who told the undefeated fighter “upset’s in the air.”

More than 24 hours later, it was Bradley, indeed, who came away with a controversial split-decision victory over Pacquiao, an eight-division titlewinner whose 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppage wins was ended by his first loss since falling by unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March of 2005.

Pacquiao’s setback was the latest in several shocking, if not, upset losses by marquee fighters in the sport, the latest being a fourth-round stoppage of former titleholder Amir Khan by Danny Garcia, whose victory added Khan’s WBA junior welterweight belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.

But as he heads into Saturday night’s HBO-televised junior lightweight defense against Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 knockouts), WBO beltholder Adrien Broner (23-0, 19 KOs) says he’s not worried about losing.

“Like I’ve always said, I have faith in God,” said Broner, who will face Escobedo at U.S. Bank Arena in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati. “I believe in God and I believe in myself, so I don’t even think about upsets.”

The upsets happen, said Broner, for two reasons: The fighters who lose are not him, and they are not Floyd Mayweather Jr., an unbeaten winner of eight belts over five divisions whose style Broner is known to emulate.

“You know, Pacquiao was good and Amir Khan was good,” said Broner, who turns 23 on July 28 and is believed to be America’s youngest titleholder. “But you know, if it’s not me or Floyd Mayweather, then it’s not a for sure win.”

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In May, Mayweather earned an all-time boxing record guaranteed purse of $32 million for his unanimous decision victory that dethroned Miguel Cotto as WBC junior middleweight beltholder.

“Anything can happen in boxing. Like they say, any fight is one punch away from a knockout,” said Broner, who is nicknamed “Da Problem.”

“That is, if it isn’t me or Floyd Mayweather, anything can happen. Otherwise, you already know what’s going to happen when me and Floyd are in the ring.”

In April, a tremendous statement was made by Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi, who completely dominated the physically bigger, taller, harder-punching and previously unbeaten Vyacheslav Senchenko in front of Senchenko’s hometown fans at Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, and scored a ninth-round technical knockout with a referee known for not stepping in to stop fights.

A former IBF junior welterweight beltholder in just his fourth welterweight bout, the 5-foot-8 Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs) had busted the nose of the 5-10 Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs) and battered his left eye bloody and swollen shut by the time the fight was over. 

Such was the beating inflicted by the fighter nicknamed, “The Magic Man,” that referee Steve Smoger — who almost never stops fights on his own — had seen enough to come to Sencheko’s rescue.

In May, English super middleweight Carl Froch scored a stunning, fifth-round stoppage that dethroned previously unbeaten southpaw Lucian Bute as IBF beltholder and made Froch a three-time titlewinner.

On June 23, on the heels of Pacquiao’s loss to Bradley, former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz was upset in a Showtime-televised ninth-round knockout loss to Josesito Lopez during which Ortiz suffered a broken right jaw.

A 25-year-old, Ortiz, in victory over Lopez, was to face unbeaten WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a Showtime-televised clash on Sept. 15.

Lopez fought at a career-high 144 and three-quarters pounds against Ortiz when he entered a clash weighing more than 140 pounds for only the eighth time as a professional. Now, instead of Ortiz, it will be Lopez taking on Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Then came Garcia-Khan this past Saturday.

But Escobedo is considered a serious threat to Broner, having won four straight fights since falling by unanimous decision to five-belt, three-division titlewinner Robert Guerrero in a lightweight bout in November of 2010.

When he lost to Guerrero, Escobedo was two bouts removed from a previous 135-pound setback to Michael Katsidis by split-decision in September of 2009.

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But starting with a unanimous decision over Walter Estrada in March of last year, Escobedo has fought at 132.5 pounds or below. In three of his four consecutive wins, Escobedo has dropped opponents at least once during the fight.

A former 2004 U.S. Oympian, Escobedo is coming off a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision rout of Juan Ruiz in May, winning 100-90 on two cards and 99-91 on the third.

A month earlier in March,  Escobedo scored a first-round knockout of Lonnie Smith, flooring that fighter three times to end Smith’s streak of nine consecutive victories that had included six stoppages.

Prior to Smith, Escobedo had scored knockdowns in the seventh and third rounds against Estrada and former Olympic silvermedalist Rocky Juarez, the latter, in September of last year.

Escobedo has fought 11 times above the 130-pound weght limit, where he has suffered the losses by decision to Daniel Jiminez, Katsidis and Guerrero.

Escobedo said the losses to superior fighters such as Katsidis and Guerrero served as an advantage in his past four fights. In addition, Escobedo has also overcome an injury to his right hand, originally suffered in his bout against Guerrero in November of 2010.

“I feel strong and I feel that this is the weight class where I should have been at a long time ago. This was kind of an experiment for me, being at 135,” said Escobedo during an interview with RingTV.com. “Like I said, it’s better late than never, and I’m at the weight class that I should be at, and I feel like I can win a world title.”alt

But coming off an HBO televised fourth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Eloy Perez (23-1-2, 7 KOs) in February, Broner says he’s well-prepared to face Escobedo.

“As long as I train hard and as long as I’m in shape, I know none of these guys is going to beat me. Like I have said, I keep God first, and I’ve got all of the skills. I’ve got speed, power and the boxing abilities,” said Broner.

“My IQ in the ring is equivalent to Einstein’s. I’m just saying. The world still hasn’t seen the best of Adrien Broner yet. So when all of the work is done, the only thing that I have to do is my job. I mean, what more can I say?”

Photo by Pat Lovell, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Pat Lovell, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

 

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