Former WBO junior lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner will be making his first appearance in Atlantic City, N.J., when he challenges WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco at Boardwalk Hall on Nov. 17 in an HBO-televised bout.
An undefeated 23-year-old boxer-puncher from Cincinnati, Ohio, Broner (24-0, 20 knockouts) is facing perhaps the stiffest challenge of his career in DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KOs), THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight.
DeMarco, 26, will be after his sixth straight win and his fifth by stoppage during that run when he defends his WBC belt against Broner. The veteran southpaw is coming off a 44-second knockout of John Molina on Sept. 8.
DeMarco has not lost since suffering a ninth-round TKO to the late Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs) in February of 2010, when DeMarco failed to earn the WBC’s lightweight belt in the final bout Valero’s career.
Meanwhile, Broner, 23, is coming off his fourth straight stoppage victory with an HBO-televised knockout of Vicente Escobedo in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati in July.
Nicknamed, “The Problem,” Broner proved himself a breakout star with his triumph over Escobedo, which scored a 3.4 rating – a number that ranked as HBO’s top Boxing After Dark telecast out of the nine shows aired this year with 1.4 million viewers.
Among the HBO boxing broadcasts Broner-Escobedo surpassed were the network’s tape-delayed re-broadcast of Tim Bradley’s controversial split-decision over Manny Pacquiao in June, as well as Danny Garcia’s upset fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan in July.
Since winning a unanimous decision over current WBC featherweight beltholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in March of last year, Broner has scored first-, third- and fourth-round knockouts over Jason Litzau in June of last year, Martin Rodriguez in November and Eloy Perez in February.
Broner has, nevertheless, drawn his share of controversy and criticism.
Before entering the ring against Escobedo, Broner lost his WBO belt at the scales for missing the contracted weight of 130 pounds both the day prior to the fight and during a Saturday morning re-weigh — hence the move to 135 pounds to challenge DeMarco.
Broner-DeMarco will be co-featured with a clash between heavyweight prospects Johnathon Banks and unbeaten Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell.
Broner shared his thoughts on DeMarco and other things in this Q&A.
RingTV.com: With a move up in weight class and stature of opponent, what challenge does this pose for you?
Adrien Broner: Any opponent that you put in front of me is a challenge at the end of the day. No matter how easy I make it look, it’s always a challenge. But I have a God-given gift.
I have the talent and I put in the work. So I have that ability to adjust to any opposition that you put in front of me. So, you know, I am looking to be victorious, and I’m going to do it in great fashion.
RingTV.com: Given that this stands to be a significant step up for you, are you expecting to receive your props if you are able to win convincingly?
AB: Like I’ve told you before, man, they will never give me the credit when it’s due. Even if I go in and I knock this guy out in the first round, they’re going to always find something, you know?
They’re going to always find something. But what can they say? I was supposed to do it? I was faster and I’ve got more talent? What?
RingTV.com: Does that bother you?
AB: I mean, he’s the world champion at 135, and he just came off of some great stoppages, and so whatever I go in there and do, of course I want them to give me what I deserve. But just being me, and, you know, I’m an African American.
So, you know, they’re going to always find something wrong, and they’re going to always find something to say. So that’s why I just do what I do, and I don’t even worry about the critics, man.
RingTV.com: What do you mean about your being an African American?
AB: I really don’t want to get into it because I don’t want to make it a racial thing because I love the Hispanics, I love the Mexicans. You know, I love all races of people.
But at the end of the day, man, we all know that it’s so hard for us. It’s so hard. I don’t really want to get into it, but you know what’s going on.
AB: This fight, in everybody’s eyes, it’s like he’s the puncher. Supposedly, he’s the big puncher and I’m just the slick boxer. Well, Ray Charles can see that a slick boxer will beat a big puncher on any given Sunday.
You know, I can go in here and, you know, whatever I want to make the fight, that’s what it’s going to be. I can go in here and make it a fan-friendly amazing fight.
Or, I can just go in here and do me and put on a great show like I always do. No matter what anybody says, I do what I’ve got to do to get the victory.
No matter if I go out there and I box him for 12 rounds, or I beat him on him for 12 rounds until he can’t take no more. Or I could go out there and destroy him and get it over with.
You know, I don’t look at tape and I don’t watch these guys because everybody is pretty much going to fight the same fight every time.
I think that he’s going to try to come in and do some different things that he’s always done along the way. But at the end of the day, once you get hit, the new things that you have been trying to do, if you can’t get them off, you’ll go back to what you know.
So, you know, I’m going to go into this fight, I’m already in shape. I just did a full 12 rounds today. I don’t think that this guy will be able to touch me.
I hope that he’s ready and I hope that he’s in shape. I know that he’s going to come ready to fight, but I want him to, so that there can be no excuses on his end.
RingTV.com: Will weight be a factor?
AB: Look, man, you can check my whole career. Ninety percent of my career has been at 135 and at 138 or something like that. I’ve been at 140.
I have the ability to be flexible and to go up and down in weight. The weight’s not going to be a problem. I’m going to make weight and I’m going to be stronger.
A lot of people think that he’s the bigger guy and the bigger puncher, but once we get in there, you will see who is the bigger and better guy. But looks can be deceiving.
I know that he’s got the size, and it’s obvious that he can punch. But what’s power against something that you can’t hit? Power means nothing if you’re not landing.
RingTV.com: Looking forward to your first fight in Atlantic City?
AB: I don’t care about where I’m fighting at. That don’t make me, and that don’t make me win. Just because I’m fighting in Atlantic City, that don’t hype the fight up.
At the end of the day, we’ve both got to put on a pair of gloves, and we both have to put on boxing shorts and get inside of a boxing ring. So, wherever we’re at, it really doesn’t matter to me.
RingTV.com: With acquaintances in Washington, D.C., like Lamont Peterson and his manager and trainer, Barry Hunter, do you have any sense of the types of fans that will be attracted to this fight?
AB: I want everybody to come out from all over, and I don’t care where you’re from. You can be from Pakistan. As long as you’re coming to see me, I’m really satisfied with that.
Lamont Peterson, he’s like a big brother to me. Barry, he’s a big brother and a mentor to me. You know, I’m very acquainted with people on the East Coast, and I know I’m going to put some asses in them seats.
Photos by Pat Lovell, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org