During a Tuesday conference call promoting his Dec. 14 welterweight defense against Marcos Maidana on Showtime, WBA beltholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner gave himself the respect that he believes he is being denied as a three-division titlewinner.
Asked where he ranked among the sport’s top fighters, pound-for-pound, Broner (27-0, 22 knockouts) listed RING No. 1-rated Floyd Mayweather Jr. and RING No. 2 Andre Ward before naming himself as the third, fourth and fifth best in the world.
“Honestly, on the pound-for-pound list, I would say that I’m top five, easily. I’ll even name them. No. 1 is, I’ve got to pay homage to my big brother, Floyd Mayweather, because he’s the best in the game,” said Broner, who is ranked No. 8 in THE RING’s top 10 pound-for-pound list. Also on the magazine’s mythical rankings: No. 3 Tim Bradley, No. 4 Wladimir Klitschko, No. 5 Sergio Martinez, No. 6 Juan Manuel Marquez and No. 7 Manny Pacquiao.
“No. 2, I’ve got to give, honestly, and I’ve sat and thought about this, but I’ve got to give it to Andre Ward for the simple fact of what he’s done in boxing. They don’t give him the credit he deserves after all that he’s done and after everybody he’s beaten. I’m just telling the truth. No. 3, I’d have to say Adrien Broner. At No. 4, I’d have to say Adrien Broner. At No. 5, I’d have to say Adrien Broner. That’s how I see it.”
A 30-year-old puncher from Argentina, Maidana (34-3, 31 knockouts) will be after his fourth straight stoppage victory at The Alamodome in San Antonio against Broner.
Although he described Maidana as “a bone-cracking puncher,” adding, “it’s going to be a tough fight for me,” Broner said Maidana will “have to make me respect his power.
“Guys he knocked out, he was able to hit. He’s got to hit me first, and he’s never been hit by me,” said Broner. “I know that he comes to fight and that he’s not going to lay down unless I make him lay down.”
Broner is coming off a split-decision that dethroned Paulie Malignaggi in his 147-pound debut in June — just over a month before Broner turned 24 on July 28.
“I took this fight because a lot of people were saying that I was picking my opponents, and I haven’t fought no legitimate fighters, but you know, I was just blessed with talent and I made those fighters look basic. Now, I take on ‘Chino.’ He’s a hard-hitting knockout artist. Argentina’s super star. Pretty face. What can I say, it’s going to be a helluva fight,” said Broner, whose third-round stoppage of Vicente Martin Rodriguez earned him the WBO’s 130-pound belt and his first title in November of 2011.
“I’m a self-motivator, so I’m going to always be motivated, but it comes with the territory of being an African American that is on top. Like I always says, they’re never going to give me my full respect. They’re never going to do it, no matter if I knock Maidana out in the first round. They’re going to find some way to criticize. So, I just do me, and I’ll just get my victory and keep moving on with my career, because, at the end of the day, some of you reporters never threw a punch, so I really can’t read or think about it or take what you guys say to heart.”
Broner had said that the DeMarco bout might be, for him, a career-defining challenge reminiscent of Aaron Pryor’s give-and-take, 14th-round stoppage of Alexis Arguello, only to dominate DeMarco, whom he dropped once in the fight.
“I don’t know how I’m going to end the fight, and I don’t know how the fight’s going to end. All that I know is that I will be victorious… Every fight is going to be different,” said Broner. “Because every opponent is different. So, we’re going to see what Maidana brings to the table, and we’re going to play our cards when we get the game going.”
Malignaggi “was more difficult to hit than any opponent that I ever fought, I’ll give him that,” said Broner, who scoffed at the notion that there are those who believe Malignaggi defeated him.
“Paulie Malignaggi is a helluva fighter, but he never hit me with anything flush…It don’t matter what I do, I just feel like I will never get the credit that I deserve,” said Broner.
“So, even when I win this fight, and I’m going to win this fight in spectacular fashion, I’m going to keep it professional. I wish him and his camp the best, and I hope nobody gets brutally hurt, but I’m coming in for the kill, and I’m putting my heart on the line and he’s really going to have to be respectful of my boxing skills.”
Prior to facing DeMarco, Broner had already proven himself a breakout star with his fifth-round knockout of Vicente Escobedo in July of 2012, even as he had already 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.
Next came the move to 135 pounds to challenge DeMarco, who represented Broner’s fifth consecutive stoppage win.
“I just wanted to fight bigger names and I wanted the bigger fights. If I had stayed at 135, I would be a big bully. People would call me a bully. I do not want to be the bad guy. I’m just doing what’s best for my career,” said Broner.
“Right now, I’m at 147, and that’s best for my career right now. If it’s a big fight at 135, let’s make it happen. But right now, I’m worried about Dec. 14 and my welterweight title defense.”
As for Maidana, Broner said, “The motherf___er had better be ready.”
“I really can’t trash talk with someone who don’t speak English, so I will not be the villain like everybody tries to make me out to be the villain. What I want to say to Chino and to Team Maidana is that I hope he’s 110 percent ready, and I hope that he don’t have a cold the week of the fight,” said Broner.
“I hope that his team trains to the best of their ability. His coach, [Robert] Garcia, he’s got a great coach and I respect his coach. I want him to come prepared, because, come Dec. 14, Saturday night, I will be victorious, man, and I just don’t want no excuses.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com