Lem Satterfield

Q&A Stafford: Broner will speak Spanish, punish Marcos Maidana

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SAN ANTONIO — RingTV.com caught up to Mike Stafford, trainer of WBA welterweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner, for his thoughts on Saturday night’s defense against hard-hitting Argentine Marcos Maida on Showtime from The Alamodome.

In July, on the heels of Broner’s split-decision victory over Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, which earned him his current belt in his 147-pound debut, that Stafford first expressed the desire to see his talented 24-year-old talent face Maidana (34-3, 31 knockouts).

Although Broner (27-0, 22 KOs) failed to earn his seventh straight stoppage win against Malignaggi, he did manage to end the then 32-year-old fighter’s five-bout winning streak after rising two weight classes from lightweight.

In addition, Broner’s win over Malignaggi made him a three-division titlewinner, having earned the WBO’s junior lightweight belt by third-round knockout over Vicente Martin Rodriguez in November of 2011, and the WBC’s lightweight title following an eighth-round stoppage of Antonio DeMarco in November of last year.

Stafford believes that Broner’s triumph over Malignaggi looks even more impressive in light of Malignaggi’s unanimous decision rout of two-division titlewinner Zab Judah this past Saturday.

“It shows you that Paulie took more of a risk with Judah and that he didn’t take that same risk with Adrien,” said Stafford. “If he would have fought that way with Adrien, then Adrien probably would have knocked him out. Against Judah, he was coming forward and mixing it up. But Paulie took a different approach to Judah. He saw that he was faster than Judah and that Judah doesn’t possess the skills that Adrien has.

“So with Adrien, Paulie was much more careful and he was not taking that same type of chance. People say that it was a controversial decision that Adrien won, but people have got to realize that they weren’t in there taking the punches. If you slow down some of the punches that Adrien was hitting Paulie with, Paulie knew, deep down inside, that Adrien was really hurting him. Paulie didn’t come forward like we thought that he would do, and so we had to chase him down and walk him down. But he knew that he was being outlassed by Adrien.”

Maidana is in pursuit of his fourth straight stoppage win since falling by unanimous decision to former IBF welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander in Maidana’s 147-pound debut in February of last year.

During his three-bout knockout run, Maidana has scored a sixth-round knockout of Josesito Lopez in June which followed up an eighth-round stoppage of Jesus Soto Karass two bouts earlier in September of last year.

Alexander was dethroned following a unanimous decision loss to Shawn Porter on the Malignaggi-Judah card, and Soto Karass will face Keith Thurman on Saturday night’s Broner-Maidana card.

“Adrien is so special, and he possesses so many skills and so many strengths, that he can put it on and put it off. He’s training hard and he’s going to be back on his game again, because he wants to make a statement and to let everyone know that he’s the top, pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. It don’t make no difference who he’s fighting. Maidana is just the one that was presented, and once he goes through him, Adrien will be the one to look for,” said Stafford.

“Maidana doesn’t have nothing special. All of the fighters can punch if you let them hit you. I mean, for people who are asking, “What is Adrien going to do when Maidana hit him?’ Well, I don’t train Adrien to get hit by any fighter. Adrien don’t go into the fight saying, ‘I’m going to take his best shot to show everybody that he can’t punch.’ So that’s not going to happen. That’s really stupid. The thing is, what’s Maidana going to do when Adrien hits him? How is he going to react to Adrien’s speed?”

In addition to Alexander, among those who have troubled Maidana are fast and mobile boxer Amir Khan and technicians, such as Andriy Kotelnik, who have beaten him. Experienced ex-beltholders Erik Morales and DeMarcus Corley also hindered Maidana before losing decisions.

Maidana was dropped three times while scoring two knockdowns during a sixth-round knockout win over future 147-pound beltholder Victor Ortiz in June of 2009. Still, he contends that his past experiences in those fights will help him against Broner, whom Maidana said is not “a slick boxer.”

“With Adrien, you know this kid he’s speaking Spanish and learning different words. He keeps that inside. With the speed and the power and the boxing ability that Adrian has, he’s going to put that into effect and make Maidana look so bad, that he’s going to look like an amateur. He might tell Maidana that ‘you’re making a mistake,’” said Stafford.

“And he might say, ‘if you do that again, I’m going to hit you with this right hand again.’ So he’s going to talk to him. I’m telling you. He’s learning Spanish. He’s a smart kid. He’s picking up on it. So I’m sure that he’s going to be doing it in Spanish, because he’s been doing that with his sparring partners, and he’s got about four or five Spanish guys that he’s been sparring with.”

Broner’s trainer since he first walked into a gym as a 6-year-old, Stafford also discussed the revealing first of two episodes of Showtime’s All-Access: Broner vs Maidana.

During the episode, Broner talks about engaging in backyard boxing bouts, many of which were against his twin brother Andre,  his role as a father and brief stint in jail for armed robbery.

“That was just Adrien letting people know who he really he really is. A lot of guys in boxing don’t really know Adrien,” said Stafford, who is 57. “They don’t know that he has been a fighter since he was young, and the gyms that he fought in and the tournaments that he fought in. A lot of you guys don’t know him, so he was just elaborating on some of the things that he went through in his life, and what he what he went through with me.”

 

Below is the Q&A interview with Stafford in its in entirety.

RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on the first episode of All-Access?

Mike Stafford: That was just Adrien letting people know who he really he really is. A lot of guys in boxing don’t really know Adrien. They don’t know that he has been a fighter since he was young, and the gyms that he fought in and the tournaments that he fought in. A lot of you guys don’t know him, so he was just elaborating on some of the things that he went through in his life, and what he what he went through with me.”

RingTV.com: What would you say to critics of his behavior and of his persona?

MS: Well, he’s a young kid and you’ve got to let the kid be himself. I mean, it ain’t like he’s out here selling drugs or he’s out here being a gang-banger and stuff like that. Adrien’s just a guy who likes to have fun.

He’s young, and he maybe takes it overboard a little bit. But it’s all in good fun. It’s not like he’s robbing a bank and doing the things that he could have been doing. At the end of the day, though, he’s back in the gym.
 

RingTV.com: What does Malignaggi’s performance against Judah say about Adrien’s victory over Malignaggi?

MS: It shows you that Paulie took more of a risk with Judah and that he didn’t take that same risk with Adrien. If he would have fought that way with Adrien, then Adrien probably would have knocked him out. Against Judah, he was coming forward and mixing it up.

But Paulie took a different approach to Judah. He saw that he was faster than Judah and that Judah doesn’t possess the skills that Adrien has. So with Adrien, Paulie was much more careful and he was not taking that same type of chance.

People say that it was a controversial decision that Adrien won, but people have got to realize that they weren’t in there taking the punches. If you slow down some of the punches that Adrien was hitting Paulie with, Paulie knew, deep down inside, that Adrien was really hurting him.
 
Paulie didn’t come forward like we thought that he would do, and so we had to chase him down and walk him down. But he knew that he was being outlassed by Adrien.
 

RingTV.com: Do you see any similarities between the success that Alexander had against Maidana and that which you believe Adrien will have against him?

MS: Well, Adrien is so special, and he possesses so many skills and so many strengths, that he can put it on and put it off. He’s training hard and he’s going to be back on his game again, because he wants to make a statement and to let everyone know that he’s the top, pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.

It don’t make no difference who he’s fighting. Maidana is just the one that was presented, and once he goes through him, Adrien will be the one to look for. Maidana doesn’t have nothing special. All of the fighters can punch if you let them hit you. I mean, for people who are asking, “What is Adrien going to do when Maidana hit him?”

Well, I don’t train Adrien to get hit by any fighter. Adrien don’t go into the fight saying, “I’m going to take his best shot to show everybody that he can’t punch.” So that’s not going to happen. That’s really stupid. The thing is, what’s Maidana going to do when Adrien hits him? How is he going to react to Adrien’s speed.

That’s what we look at. We don’t look at Maidanana’s being a knockout artist. It ain’t no such thing as a knockout artist. Hell, Mike Tyson was a knockout artist, and he got knocked out. So there’s no such thing as a knockout artist. I don’t see how people can call somebody a knockout artist. The main thing is winning, and not getting hit, okay?

 

RingTV.com: Have your game plan take into account Maidana’s troubles with skillful fighters such as Alexander, Khan, Kotelnik, whom he lost to, and Corley and Morales, whom he defeated?

MS: My thought on that is that we’re something special, and you guys will have to really, really watch what he does to dissect anybody, whether it’s Maidana or the next guy. He’s learning every second of the day. He may see something in a split-second that me and you don’t see, and he’ll take advantage of it.

He’s so smart. His boxing IQ is what makes him so special, along with the skills that he has. So, me and you, we may see it one way, but he sees something different because he’s in there. He’ll tell a guy when the guy is making a mistake, and that’s what he’ll do with Maidana.

With Adrien, you know, this kid he’s speaking Spanish and learning different words. He keeps that inside. With the speed and the power and the boxing ability that Adrian has, he’s going to put that into effect and make Marcos Maidana look so bad, that he’s going to look like an amateur. He might tell Maidana that ‘you’re making a mistake’

And he might say, ‘If you do that again, I’m going to hit you with this right hand again.’ So he’s going to talk to him. I’m telling you. He’s learning Spanish. He’s a smart kid. He’s picking up on it. So I’m sure that he’s going to be doing it in Spanish, because he’s been doing that with his sparring partners, and he’s got about four or five Spanish guys that he’s been sparring with.

 

RingTV.com: Given that they’ve both move up in weight, and that Adrien still appears to be growing, who do you believe will be the bigger man, physically, when they enter the ring?

MS: I don’t get into that bigger man stuff. I think that the fact that Adrien’s got a better skill-level combined with his will is going to make him seem like the bigger man.

Bigger man don’t mean nothing. Skills win fights. Smartness wins fight. You can be big and everything, but if you don’t have the skill to deliver the punches at the right time, then a little man can beat you to death.

So I look at Adrien just being more skillfull and having the know-how to just beat this guy. He can capitalize on all of Maidana’s mistakes.

It’s going to come down to Adrien’s determination and the fact that he’s in tip-top shape. That’s when you’re going to see the bigger guy.


 

 

Photos / Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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