ATLANTIC CITY — WBA welterweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner has been blessed with boxing talent as well as the gift of gab and the unbeaten 24-year-old isn’t shy about letting you know it.
“God just makes special motherf___ers, and I’m one of them,” Broner before sitting down to a Friday evening meal at Caesars Hotel in advance of tongiht’s Bernard Hopkins’ IBF 175-pound title defense against Karo Murat.
“It’s just my time. They say that a guy like me comes around every — what? — 10-to-30 years? That’s starting to add up. It’s about time. It’s about that time for me to take over. I think that just sums it up right there.”
“I’ve been watching this kid, man, and this kid, he’s a talent. That kid has it. He’s one of those rare fighters that has the entire package,” said Leonard, during an interview with RingTV.com. “He’s defensive, he’s offensive, he’s powerful, he’s quick. He has everything. I just look forward to watching him grow.”
While Broner said Leonard “probably doesn’t remember” meeting him, signing “a picture for me and everything,” as well as watching a 10-year-old Broner compete in a national amateur tournament in Kansas, Pryor has often interacted with Broner in their native Cincinnati.
“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 a full month before Broner defeated DeMarco. “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.”
Broner (27-0, 22 knockouts) is predicting similar results as a Showtime headliner on Dec. 14 against hard-hitting Marcos Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs) as part of a as part of a card called, “Danger Zone” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“When you talk about a Marcos Maidana, he’s never fought me. He’s never fought a guy who fights like me,” said Broner, who dethroned Paulie Malignaggi by split-decision for his third title in as many divisions in June.
“Maidana has never faced Adrien Broner. You’re going to see an electrifying victory from Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner. You will see why I’m the lottery pick to take over this sport.”
Trainer Mike Stafford said he expects Broner to take his game to another level.
“We’ve got something special planned, depending on how tough this guy thinks that he is. It’s going to bring the beast out of Adrien,” said Stafford. “Adrien’s got a lot to prove, because a lot of people are saying that he’s not the one in boxing as far as pay per view and all of that, but he’s going to prove to everybody that he’s the top, pound-for-pound, fighter in the world.”
MIX-AND-MATCH SCENARIO LOOMS AFTER MANNY PACQUIAO-BRANDON RIOS
Top Rank’s stars were aligned, literally, over the months of October and November, with WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley’s split-decision over Juan Manuel Marquez on Oct. 12, followed on Oct. 19 by junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov‘s 10th-round stoppage of Mike Alvarado that dethroned the loser as WBO titleholder.
On Nov. 24 in Macau (Nov. 23 in the western hemisphere), eight-division beltwinner Manny Pacquiao will engage in a clash of 147-pounders with former 140-pound titleholder Brandon Rios, who will make his welterweight debut.
Alvarado (34-2, 23 knockouts) was coming off a unanimous-decision win over Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) in March that had earned him the WBO’s 140-pound belt and avenged his seventh-round stoppage loss in October of last year.
Also in March, Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) had scored a 12th-round knockdown against Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) in a unanimous decision victory for Badley, who successfully defended the title he won from Pacquiao by disputed split-decision in June of 2012.
Marquez (55-7-2, 40 KOs) was coming off last December’s sixth-round stoppage victory over Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), against whom Marquez is 1-2-1.
Depending on what happens in Pacquiao-Rios, Arum said any number of matchups could occur.
“Right now, this is the last fight of the three great fights, Manny against Rios, and, obviously, a lot depends on who the winner of the fight is. But there are some fantastic matches that can be made. Next year, with these fighters, Manny has unfinished business with Bradley. That might be a good option if he beats Rios. Rios, if he wins, Ruslan Provodnikov or Bradley would be very good opponents,” said Arum.
“Ruslan Provodnikov and Pacquiao, if Manny beats Rios, would be an intriguing kind of fight. And, then, of course, there’s a revenge match with Manny and Juan Manuel Marquez, which would be very sell-able, particularly with the Mexican Americans that would like to see that fight again and who are still heavily in Marquez’s corner. Let’s see how this fight goes on Nov. 23, and then I’m sure that everyone will sit down, and we’ll work out who Manny or Brandon or both are going to fight next.”
PROVODNIKOV WELCOMED BY RUSSIAN COMPATRIOTS, WHOM HE JOINS AS CHAMPION
Provodnikov received waves of support from his Slavic compatriots in the immediate aftermath of his victory over Alvarado, according to Provodnikov’s manager, Vadim Kornilov.
The first contact was made by WBO light heavyweight titleholder, Sergey Kovalev, a crony from their amateur days, within an hour of Provodnikov’s triumph.
“Right after the fight, Sergey Kovalev actually called me on my phone to congratulate Ruslan, but he couldn’t reach me because my phone was blowing up,” said Kornilov. “But we did call him back. I had seen Sergey’s call about an hour after the fight, but I’m not exactly sure how soon he made the call after the fight had ended.”
WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who was born in Kazakhstan, called and “talked to me on the telephone through my father after the fight and congratulated me on the win,” said Provodnikov. “And so did [IBF featherweight titleholder] Evgeny Gradovich, who is also my friend and, also, Gradovich and I are champions from the same region” of Siberia.
Provodnikov said he heard from Golovkin on Sunday, and from Gradovich through a call to Kornilov on Monday.
“Sergey called me after the fight, and he congratulated me. We have a great relationship. I’ve known Sergey for a very long time. We’re friends,” said Provodnikov through Kornilov’s translation.
“We’re from different cities, but he’s from Siberia, too. I’m very glad that all of my people, and all of these fighters from Russia are beginning to take part in the worldwide game of boxing. I’m very happy about that.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com