LAS VEGAS — Three-division titlewinner Adrien Broner planned to return impressively from what he has called "a minor setback" — his loss to Marcos Maidana — with Saturday's 140-pound debut against Carlos Molina on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Maidana undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Competing in his fourth weight class against Molina (17-2-1, 7 KOs), who was last in the ring for a 10th-round stoppage loss to ex-beltholder Amir Khan in December 2012, the 24-year-old Broner (28-1, 22 KOs) delivered, winning a unanimous decision, 98-92, 99-91, and, 100-90 on the respective cards of Patricia Morse Jarman, Ricardo Ocasio and Levi Martinez.
"I feel good. It was a good fight for me to shake the cobwebs out. I definitely looked good and got the victory. As you can see, I didn't have any trouble," said Broner, who was dropped twice in December's unanimous decision loss to Maidana that dethroned him as WBA 147-pound titleholder.
"I stayed calm, and it was a sparring session on national television. The loss humbled me, but at the end of the day, I'm still Adrien Broner. This weight is the right weight, the last weight was the right weight, but there are some things that I didn't do. I'll fight anybody. I want to fight Manny Pacquiao."
After a relatively controlled first round likely won by Broner, Molina got Broner's attention late in the second round with a bludgeoning, overhand right which he followed with a left hook.
In the third, Broner was warned by referee Kenny Bayless after slamming Molina to the canvas, a move that only served to motivate Molina after taking a few seconds to recuperate. The fighters traded evenly over the final stages, each landing nice right hands down the stretch.
Over the next four rounds, Broner stood his ground more, ripping home all manner of punches on the inside that caused redness around Molina's eyes and drew a trickle of blood from his nose.
Broner fought in retreat in the eighth and ninth behind his jab and movement, easily eluding and out-maneuvering Molina until they traded right hands late in the round. There was a good exchange between the fighters just prior to the bell ending the 10th.
Broner jumped two weight classes from 135 to face Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs), falling in a what was a brutally physical bout that tested the loser's resolve in only his second fight in the 147-pound division.
Broner already had earned title belts over three weight classes before facing Maidana, 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.
Last June, Broner rose into his 147-pound debut for a split-decision victory that dethroned Paulie Malignaggi for the division's WBA's belt.
Up until a day before the fight, Broner had worn a full beard, but he was clean shaven at the behest of the Nevada State Athletic Commision.