When Adrien Broner went to the canvas multiple times against Marcos Maidana in December, losing his title and perfect record, he looked confused, lost and ultimately demoralized. Often accompanied by a large entourage of enablers, draped in millions of dollars of jewelry and yapping like a Yorkshire terrier on speed, Broner has provided boxing fans with an endless amount of entertainment that leaves half the fans laughing and the other seething. But now, after a heart-breaking loss that leaves his future in question, something has changed with Adrien “The Problem” Broner. For once, his gift of gab has been put on the sideline and his hard work and dedication to his craft has checked in to the game.
The fighter we all know as “The Problem” faced several problems that night as Maidana used relentless pressure, relying on will and heart, to dethrone the champion and permanently stain Broner’s unbeaten record. Broner was able to get off the canvas and at times showed some flashes of the Adrien Broner boxing fans have been treated to for years, but unfortunately the damage to his body and mind had taken its toll. It was the first time any boxing fan could recall a moment where Broner was literally silenced. Everyone knows Broner for his flashy demeanor, crude language and arrogant personality, but for once that reputation was silenced and on Saturday night, May 3, in his return the ring, Adrien “The Problem” Broner will face his toughest test to date – himself.
We have not heard much from Adrien Broner over the past three months. He has given the fans some tweets here and there, but for the most part it is obvious that he is taking this fight very serious. He was part of a very brief interview with Brian Kenny on the Bernard Hopkins Showtime card two weeks ago. During that interview he was brief with his responses and failed to provide the entertainment we are used to seeing. For once, it seemed the humility trumped arrogance.
Is this a different Adrien Broner? If “the problem” was solved on that memorable night against Maidana, does a new one now exist? Can Adrien Broner come back and fill the shoes of fighters like Mayweather, Pacquiao and Cotto? The answer to those questions can only be provided by Broner himself. And the first step can be taken on Saturday, May 3 on the undercard of his mentor, Floyd Mayweather Jr. when Broner takes on veteran journeyman Carlos Molina.
After arriving in Las Vegas for media week, Broner, who is going down to junior welterweight for this fight, appeared to be very focused on the task at hand and adamantly states that he is not overlooking the veteran Molina. In addition to having a newer, more humble demeanor, Broner has moved his training camp to Washington D.C. to train at Barry Hunter’s gym where he has been sparring with Lamont Peterson and his brother Anthony. This camp is his first in D.C. since he started on his meteoric rise to three world championships by the age of 23. These changes are important for Broner and according to him these were much needed changes that he may have never made if he beat Maidana nearly six months ago. Broner feels that the loss was the best thing that could’ve happened to him and that his focus is now stronger than ever.
For the first time in years Adrien Broner is not talking about ‘what’s next.’ Every time we were given access into Broner’s camp the motto was ‘Broner is the next Floyd’ or ‘Broner is taking over the world.’ Now, those ideas have been put on the backburner and the fight that is now 4 days away takes precedence. Many people feel Broner will make easy work of Molina and there is no argument from Golden Boy that this fight was setup to get Broner back on track. However, ‘what’s next’ is always at the forefront of the boxing world. Golden Boy and Al Haymon have the potential to setup a nice matchup between Broner and titleholder Danny Garcia, who are good friends. Broner also exercised his rematch clause with Maidana and there is no doubt that fight will happen down the road. However, the fight I want to see is Broner v Mayweather. Even though Broner calls himself a protégé to Floyd, and has stated several times that he will not fight him, I can make an argument that Mayweather-Broner would be a fight Broner could benefit from. It is the perfect matchup of teacher versus student. Mentor versus protégé. And if Broner truly is the ‘next Floyd’ then he needs to step into the ring and prove it.
Fans should be excited for the Adrien Broner-Carlos Molina undercard on Saturday night. It will be a true test for Broner as he tries to come back from his only loss and earn back the reputation as ‘boxing’s next big star.’