SAN ANTONIO — While working out at the local Morones Boxing Gym this week in advance of Saturday’s Showtime-televised clash with Marcos Maidana at The Alamodome, WBA welterweight beltholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner felt a chill, and that, he said, had to change, as much for others as for himself.
As a result, the 24-year-old went out and purchases four space heaters for the facility, according to Broner’s trainer, Mike Stafford, as well as Rick Marones Jr., the gym’s owner.
“When I went into that gym, I saw that it was kind of cold in there, and they had only two space heaters,” said Broner. “So I went out and a bought heaters for the gym, and I love helping, man. I love helping out people who need help.”
It is a side that Broner said the public does not often see.
“People don’t see when I go a place like a Walmart or something, and I just, out of love, because I know that I’m working hard and getting paid more than them,” said Broner. “I’ll buy for my whole line. That’s what I do, but people don’t see that. They just think that I’m arrogant and insolent and just stupid, but that’s okay.”
Morones had more to say about Broner.
“We only had two heaters in there, and Adrien went out and bought four more of them for us this week,” said Morones. “With Adrien Broner, people don’t know how to separate the entertainment part from the actual person he is and the heart that he has. He’s very humble and he’s a big-hearted person.”
Morones Jr. had similar compliments for pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is THE RING and WBC welterweight champion as well as THE RING, WBA and WBC junior middleweight champion.
Morones said that Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) flew him and his father, Rick Morones Sr., to Las Vegas so that they could witness his majority decision over Canelo Alvarez in September at the MGM Grand.
“People judge Adrien Broner and Floyd Mayweather as being arrogant and pointing the finger at them the wrong way. I was fortunate to have a phone call with Floyd Mayweather himself before the Canelo fight. It was like 2:30 in the morning that he called me after I had written him a letter,” said Morones Jr.
“Floyd flew me out there, and he paid for my food, and he paid for my hotel, my ringside ticket, my flight. Man, he really took care of me. I went to the fight because of him, and I was at ringside, with my dad. He paid for my food and everything.”
BRONER: ‘SCHOOL WASN’T A CHALLENGE FOR ME; I WAS ALWAYS THE SMARTEST IN THE CLASS’
Broner said that he first donned a pair of boxing gloves when he was a 4-year-old engaging in backyard contests with others, such as his twin brother, Andre.
“My parents always tried to keep me busy. School really wasn’t a challenge for me. I was always the smartest in the class. I was in Northern Michigan University at 16. I messed that chance up in about three months. They kicked me out. They said that I was too ‘Hood,’” said Broner.
“I came home, got into it with the wrong guys and with the wrong group. So I fell off track with boxing. I’ve done been in some crazy situations. Some crazy situations. I’m talking about being held at gun point. When was 18, I was in jail. I missed the Olympics. I was facing 57 years. I couldn’t hit no bags, or nothing, so I beat up on guys.”
One of Broner’s children, his son, was born while he was in jail.
“I had to see him through the glass. I’m thinking that I’m never going to see daylight again,” said Broner. “Then, one day, my lawyer came back, and he was like, ‘We”re going to get you out of this.’ The first day that I got out, I remember, ” said Broner.
“Because when I first got out, I kissed the ground. I went straight to the gym and I sparred. Everybody thought that I fell off into the streets and I was never going to box again. When I got in there, they were like, ‘How did you go to jail and get out and be better?”
BRONER: ‘WE CAN DIE EVERY NIGHT THAT WE STEP INSIDE THAT RING’
Going into a fight with the hard-hitting Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs), Broner knows that one punch can change his entire life and not necessarily for the better.
“Even the fighters have to understand. It’s cool to thank your promoter and definitely your manager and your home team, but at the end of the day, nobody’s going into that ring and putting our bodies through what we put our bodies through. We can die every night that we step inside that ring,” said Broner, a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio.
“We’re really putting our lives on the line, and I don’t think that we’re getting the type of respect that we should get. I mean, you think about it. You will never know what a boxer puts his body through. There’s fighters who really starves theirselves just to make weight.”
Broner also spoke of the nomadic experiences of a fighter and of the sacrifice required for his craft.
“There’s fighters who go away from their familes for months at a time,” said Broner, who is a father. “Going away from your family, what, eight months out of a year? I mean, it’s ridiculous. I mean, this is the stuff that people don’t know about boxers.”
Broner flew more than 50 family members to his training facility in Colorado Springs for Thanksgiving.
BRONER AND THE WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION
In addition to Puerto Rican junior featherweight challenger Cesar Seda (25-1, 17 KOs) challenging Mexican-American WBC titleholder Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KOs), and WBA 175-pound beltholder Beibut Shumenov (13-1, 8 KOs) defending against Tamas Kovacs (23-0, 14 KOS), Saturday’s card includes boxer-puncher Keith “One Time” Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs) in a 147-pound clash with Mexican brawler Jesus Soto-Karass (28-8-3, 18 KOs).
Not only has Thurman has called out Broner for a potential matchup of promotional stablemates in 2014 should he get beyond Soto Karass, but there are other active fighters within and around the division who are also promoted by Golden Boy.
Malignaggi’s triumph helped him to rebound from June’s split-decision loss to Broner, which dethroned Malignaggi as WBA titleholder.
Other potential rivals might include RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, who is also advised by Haymon, as well as Lucas Matthysse or Andre Berto. Another fighter promoted by Golden Boy is Robert Guerrero.
“No disrespect to no fighter out there, I respect all fighters, but in this era, today, there’s Adrien Broner,” said Broner. “That’s the activity in boxing. I haven’t heard anything happening and haven’t seen anything happening.”
Broner has said that he would never fight Mayweather.
“The only thing extravagant and amazing that’s happening in boxing,” said Broner, “is when Floyd Mayweather does something or Adrien Broner does something.”
As for Maidana?
“He’s a different type of fighter, and he might bring something else out of Adrien Broner that the world has never seen. But he might be a regular, typical fighter after I make him look the way that I’m going to make him look. Then, he’s going to be another nobody. He’s going to have to go and beat somebody who is supposed to be somebody for them to see that I didn’t just beat a nobody,” said Broner.
“I beat somebody and made them look like a nobody, just like Paulie. Who knows. They say styles make fights, but just know that I will be victorious on Dec. 14, and I’m going to put on a good show…Like they say, ‘Everybody’s not born to be a star.’ You’ve got people who want to make a lot of money, sit back and be comfortable. Well, I love money, and I love being a star.”
Warren takes on Jose Silveira (15-9, 6 KOs), Herring faces Lance Williams (6-2, 6 KOs), and Easter, Hardy M. Paredes (16-12, 10 KOs).
Warren, Easter and Herring share a friendly competition based in their compared performances.
“First of all, this goes back to training. We all train together, of course, so in camp, we push each other to do better. Then, when it comes to fight time, we compete to see who can put on the better performance as far as the knockouts. It’s all in fun, and we’re all family, so we’ve been together for about a month and a half. On Saturday, it’s going to be just another fight moving me up the ladder,” said Herring, 28.
“If you look at my guy’s record, all of his knockouts have come against guys who don’t belong in the ring. None of his opponents had a single win that he has knocked out. So, he probably got somebody off of the street, for all I know. Plus, he fought Robert Easter Jr. in his last fight in September, and he got knocked out in the first round. I don’t look past any man or any opponent once I step inside that ring, but I don’t see any threat. I was in the Marine Corps, so I know that you can’t beat me, mentally or physically.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com