“There’s nothing wrong with predicting what you’re going to do,” said Pryor, 57, who, like Broner, is from Cincinnati. “It’s a little bit cocky, you know, but like I’ve told him, ‘You can do all of that if you want to, but you gotta win. You’ve got to win.’”
And that, Broner has done.
A 23-year-old former WBO junior lightweight beltholder, Broner (24-0, 20 knockouts) will pursue his fifth consecutive stoppage win against WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, as part of an HBO-televised doubleheader at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Nov. 17.
“I think that Adrien Broner is going to look real good in this next fight. I think that the harder the guy fights, the better Adrien Broner gets,” said Pryor.
“I think that somewhere from the seventh round to the 10th round, Adrien Broner’s going to get him. Those will be the rounds that I think he’ll take to knock the dude out.”
A former IBF and WBA 140-pound champion who retired with a mark of 39-1 that included 35 KOs, Pryor was 12-0 with 10 stoppage victories when fighting in Cincinnati, where Broner is 11-0 with 10 knockouts.
Known for pointing an ominous fist at his opponent prior to his fights, and for crashing a Sugar Ray Leonard press conference before challenging him to a fight at the podium, Pryor has no problem with Broner’s bravado.
“You’ve got to go out there and fight the fight that you predicted to everybody that you would,” said Pryor, whose desired clash with Leonard never materialized. “I mean, if you’re coming out there like Aaron ‘The Hawk’ Pryor, then, you know, Aaron ‘The Hawk’ is a boxer.”
Pryor is most well-known for his two classic battles against the late Alexis Arguello, whom he stopped in the 14th and 10th rounds in November of 1982, and, September of 1983, respectively.
Pryor’s lone defeat was by seventh-round stoppage against Bobby Joe Young following a 27-month ring absence in August of 1987. But Pryor rebounded to score knockouts in the final three bouts of his career, the last being in the seventh round over Robert Choate in December of 1990.
Broner’s last two fights in Cincinnati, at U.S. Bank Arena, were knockouts in the third and fifth rounds over Vicente Martin Rodriguez and Vicente Escobedo in November of last year and July, respectively.
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 in July.
Broner’s sometimes polarizing in- and, out-of-the-ring antics have included the rap monicker, “AJ Da Problem,” regularly posting videos on Youtube as that character, 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, and a post-fight his in-the-ring interview following the Escobedo victory that ended with a mock marriage proposal.
Broner has admitted to borrowing from the persona of Floyd Mayweaer Jr., and has taken similar criticism for his opinions. Most recently, during an interview with RingTV.com, for example, Broner said that it’s difficult to get credit for his accomplishments as an African American.
But Pryor believes Broner should make no apologies for his bombastic personality, which has spawned a local, and, apparently, a national popularity that may soon rival his own.
“He’s an underdog to a certain degree. I think that’s how it is for most of the fighters who come out of Cincinnati. Cincinnati is not a real, real big town for boxing,” said Pryor.
“I know that being from Cincinnati, I didn’t always feel that I got the chances to prove myself. So I think that when a young guy goes out there, you know he just wants to be a good champion, knowing that we don’t have too many championship fights in Cincinnati.”
Below is what Pryor had to say about Broner in the entire Q&A.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on the talent and the skills of Adrien Broner as a fighter?
Aaron Pryor: Well, you know, I have worked with him as an amateur, and I’ve worked with him as a pro. I think that if he gets the shot at the championship, he’ll take it.
RingTV.com: What do you think that he does well?
AP: He throws punches, and, to me, that’s one of the best things that you can do. He doesn’t just get out there and pose. He throws punches, and then he counter punches excellently at the same time.
You know, that’s a special skill and that’s great for a fighter to be able to counter punch and punch at the same time. Do you understand what I mean by that?
RingTV.com: Can you clarify what that means?
AP: Well, you know counter punches is a back-and-forth read where not only are you both punching, but you’re also capable of leading off with the punches.
That’s what he’s doing. He’s not only leading off with the punches, but he’s also throwing counter-punching combinations behind them.
RingTV.com: Does he compare favorably to you?
AP: I don’t know. If you watch some of my fights, I’m old school, right? But he’s more like Floyd Mayweather. I think that before they get to me, they see fighters like Mayweather, and they portray that.
Some of the style and some of the attitude that Mayweather has. He does favor me I think, but he also has somebody in his own era that he’s looking at and he looks at him as an idol.
Everybody sort of looks at Floyd and says, “Wow.” But whenever I’ve worked with Adrien as an amateur, I gave him so much confidence that he can be a good pro.
I wanted him to know that the most important thing to me is not a knockout. Do not go out there looking for the knockout, or just try to knock the dude out. I would tell him this, and that means that he will get a knockout.
I’ve watched his last few fights, and you always get the impression that he’s eventually going to knock the guy out, but he’s not over eager like that. He’s doing it the right way.
That’s really exciting for me. I don’t work with him every fight or anything, but he’s still my friend, and I’ve worked with him as an amateur and a professional, so my prayers are going out to him.
RingTV.com: What do you think of his next fight with DeMarco?
AP: Listen clearly to what I’m saying, and I don’t mean to be cocky or anything. But every fight for Adrien at this particular time is the type of fight that you predict to the public what you’re going to do.
I think that Adrien Broner is going to look real good in this next fight. I think that the harder the guy (he)fights, the better Adrien Broner gets.
I think that during his last two fights, I’ve seen him have some endurance in the last few rounds. So, hopefully, it’s that way in this next fight.
I think that somewhere from the seventh round to the 10th round, Adrien Broner’s going to get him. Those will be the rounds that I think he’ll take to knock the dude out.
RingTV.com: So you’re predicting Broner over DeMarco by late-round knockout?
AP: He ain’t got no choice. When somebody is putting the pressure on you, and you already know some moves and stuff to make, sometimes, that brings the better fighter out of you.
I think that if you compare this fight to the ones that I had with Alexis Arguello, that’s what Alexis Arguello brought out of me.
It was already in me, but I needed a powerful fighter to bring it out of me. Right now, Adrien Broner is fighting champions, and that’s when you show everybody that you are a champion.
RingTV.com: So what are your thoughts on some of his boastfulness?
AP: Well, there’s nothing wrong with predicting what you’re going to do. He’s not really the underdog, but you have to go in as the underdog to a certain degree.
That’s because he’s talking and he’s telling people what he’s going to do. So, you’re running your mouth, and that means you have to go out there and fight two fights.
RingTV.com: How do you mean?
AP: You’ve got to go out there and fight the fight that you predicted to everybody that you would. I mean, if you’re coming out there like Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, and then, you know, Aaron “The Hawk” is a boxer.
Like, with Alexis Arguello, when I was fighting him in the later rounds, and when we were punching each other, I decided that I wanted to do a little boxing, and he didn’t know what to do with that.
So in Adrien Broner’s situation, Adrien can come out there banging and banging and banging and banging, and then, he can decide he wants to box, and he looks good doing it.
RingTV.com: So you have no problems with how he has handled himself in the media?
AP: No. It’s a little bit cocky, you know, but like I’ve told him, “you can do all of that if you want to, but you gotta win. You’ve got to win.”
RingTV.com: So are you saying that you approve of his outspoken nature because he backs it up?
AP: Yes, and because he’s an underdog to a certain degree. I think that’s how it is for most of the fighters who come out of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati is not a real, real big town for boxing. I know that being from Cincinnati, I didn’t always feel that I got the chances to prove myself.
So I think that when a young guy goes out there, you know he just wants to be a good champion, knowing that we don’t have too many championship fights in Cincinnati.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org