LAS VEGAS — Adrien Broner was beaten bloody and dropped twice en route to a unanimous decision loss to Marco Maidana, which dethroned him as WBA welterweight titleholder in December.
Broner, nevertheless, said that he is in a good place, mentally, heading into Saturday night's fight against Carlos Molina at the MGM Grand, doing so with a nifty comeback.
"I'm great. I didn't go through nothing. How many times have you lost and got millions for it? I'm great," said Broner, 24, who will fight Molina on Showtime Pay Per View. "Some of the best fighters in the world, in the universe, have taken a loss. This is just my first loss. It just so happens that I took my first loss in this era. So to some people, it's big. Bigger than what it really is."
A three-division titlewinner, Broner (27-1, 22 knockouts) will make his 140-pound debut against Molina (17-1, 7 KOs) on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Maidana undercard, which also bosts a 147-pound bout between ex-beltholders Amir Khan and Luis Collazo, and unbeaten middleweight J'Leon Love against Marco Antonio Periban.
Broner said that he will be a more focused fighter than ever after preparation that took place at the Washington, D.C.-area gym of IBF 140-pound titleholder Lamont Peterson, with whom he has often sparred, rather than in his native Cincinnati, Ohio.
"It's a great atmophere out there," said Broner, wearing a full beard and speaking to a group of reporters in the VIP room of the MGM Grand. "There are some things that I was doing before that I've stopped doing, but we're back on track and this train is rolling."
Broner said that as his change in behavior has included a decrease in the number of members of his entourage.
"Sometimes, when you're in the position that I was in, you know you have people who come around every day, and who call every day," said Broner. "But after that fight, people didn't call as much and they didn't come around as much. So I was solo, for the most part. All that I had was my closest, my coaches."
Some of the adjustments were made at the advisement of Mayweather, Broner said.
"You'll hear things, but sometimes, for a guy in my position, it takes you to bump your head one time. So I'm happy. This is the biggest and greatest thing to have happened in my career," said Broner. "I'm happy that it happened, and now, I see the ones who love me and the ones who were doing it for their own good. But it's okay. We're okay. The circle is definitely smaller."
Before losing to Maidana, Broner had earned title belts over three weight classes, taking the WBO's junior lightweight belt by third-round knockout over Vicente Martin Rodriguez in November 2011, and the WBC's lightweight title following an eighth-round stoppage of Antonio DeMarco in November 2012.
In his previous bout in June 2013, Broner jumped two weight divisions for his 147-pound debut with a split-decision victory that dethroned Paulie "The Magic Man" Malignaggi for the division's WBA's belt.
Broner said that he not only learned more about himself as a fighter against Maidana, but that he also has gained a measure of respect from the boxing community by rising from the canvas in the second and eighth rounds to go the distance.
"If you didn't see anything, you did see that Adrien Broner is a fighter. A true fighter, and even on my worst night, I'm still hard to handle. It was a helluva fight. He hit me with some great shots, I hit him with some great shots. Not only do people know Adrien Broner, but the people who don't follow boxing know Adrien now. They don't even know the person I lost to," said Broner.
"They just know that Adrien Broner took a loss, and that's all that they know. Hey, he was the better guy that night, and I congratulate him on his victory, and I gave him a chance to change his life and his family's life in his next fight with Mayweather, and I'm happy for him. I'm not mad. This is the sport of boxing."
In Molina, Broner faces a fighter who will be ending a 16-month ring absence, having last been in action for a 10th-round stoppage loss to Khan in December 2012.
"Molina's got a lot of heart. He's a punching bag with arms and legs. It's more of me just being more focused," said Broner. "I've really cut off all contacts, and I've not been on the internet. I have just been focusing on boxing. Now, we're back, and I'm going to make an example out of this boy on Saturday night."
If he wins, would Broner want Manny Pacquiao next?
"Pacquiao can get it. Where are they? Pacquiao, Top Rank, his promoter," said Broner. "We'll fight Pacquiao next. I would stop this fight to fight Pacquiao. What do I gotta do?"