During a recent interview with RingTV.com, former WBO 130-pound titleholder Adrien Broner, said “I know that I’m going to be the man who takes over boxing.”
It appears that Broner, who turns 23 on July 28, may be well on his way, judging by the numbers drawn by his triumph over Vicente Escobedo at U.S. Bank Arena in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati on July 21.
Known as “Da Problem,” Broner (24-0, 20 knockouts) scored his fifth straight stoppage against Escobedo (26-4, 15 KOs), who was stopped for the first time in his career and had a four-bout winning streak ended.
Among those Broner surpassed were the network’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.
Broner’s fight was allowed to happen despite the fact 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.
All of this, despite Broner’s sometimes polarizing in- and, out-of-the-ring antics, which include carrying the rap name, “AJ Da Problem,” regularly posting videos on Youtube as that character, and entrances such as that for his fourth-round knockout of Eloy Perez in February that was highlighted by Broner’s 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 is scheduled to return to the ring in what should be his lightweight debut on Oct. 6 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City as part of a card to include unbeaten heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell and potentially undefeated welterweight puncher Keith Thurman, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
Broner called out southpaw 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.
The DeMarco fight is unlikely for the fall, considering the upcoming third defense by DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KOs) against rugged John Molina (24-1, 19 KOs) on the undercard of a main event featuring RING light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson and RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward Sept. 8 on HBO.
In this brief Q&A with RingTV.com, Broner shared his reaction to the HBO numbers, his thoughts on a potential matchup opposite unbeaten former Cuban Olympic gold medalist and ex-featherweight beltholder Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), and his future, in general.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on the numbers from your fight with Escobedo?
Adrien Broner: I mean, you know, that’s amazing to know that the world really loves to see me, and you know, this is just the beginning for the fans as far as my career is concerned.
RingTV.com: What message do you take from that?
AB: The fans want to be to be entertained, and I give them want they want to see. You know, the boxing fans of the world want to see knockouts, and they want to also see entertainment, and that’s what I give them.
RingTV.com: When you go from one fight to the next, do you feel like you have to top what you’ve done previously?
AB: Every time I go out there, I feel like there is pressure on me to do better than before. But that just makes me perform better, and that’s just the type of guy that I am.
RingTV.com: Why do you want DeMarco?
AB: Well, he’s got the WBC’s belt and that would be a perfect fight for me.
RingTV.com: Why do think about a fight Gamboa?
AD: That’s on him, though. You know that I’ll fight anybody. It’s on him, though, if he wants that fight. Like I have said: Anybody can get it.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda