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20 JUNE 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Marc Livitz

Adrien Broner: 'It’s All Lined Up'

By: Marc Livitz: As is the case in professional sports in the United States, many of its respective players and athletes come from various and unique types of backgrounds. The roads taken to eventual glory or possible collapse are often determined by the will, determination and above all good decisions or lack thereof made by the athlete in question. Some scratch, claw and fight to get to the top. Many are able to effectively map out their desired future and put forth the efforts to bring destiny to well within their imaginative sights. Boxing is no exception. So commonplace in America is the saving grace and welcomed serendipity of the local gym or rec center. The time required to fashion the average, shy, passive or unruly kid into a disciplined warrior of the ring often amounts to years of devotion and patience on the part of student as well as teacher. This is after all, the fight game. The party stops for many young hopefuls once they can’t decide whether or not they’re made out of glass. Cincinnati’s Adrien “The Problem” Broner had his mind made up by the time he entered grade school. And there has been no looking back since lacing up his first pair of gloves.


“The Problem”’s introduction to the sweet science has blossomed into a kinship which has seen him earn his first major world title not long after the tender age of 22 as well as maintain the ever mythical “0” in the loss column. Many people are lucky enough to have that one or more special person in their lives. The one who encourages them to truly chase their dreams with little regard of the doubt others may have cast. Broner credits his father and uncle with the kindling of his affinity for the sport. “When I was six years old, my dad and my uncle put the gloves on me and not long after, they took me to the gym. I have been in the gym ever since. The first day in there I put on the gloves. I beat up one kid and then I got beat up myself by three-time Olympian Rau’shee Warren. I’ve been in the gym ever since.”, said the unbeaten Cincinnati fighter .


In the realm of professional sports, there are very few feelings that are able to match or produce the same levels of absolute euphoria that is experienced when teams or athletes are fortunate enough to win a championship of some sort in front of their hometown crowd. For many, a chance to raise the trophy or in the case of professional boxing, a world title belt in front of those who saw them rise from relative obscurity can momentarily outweigh the accomplishment itself. Adrien Broner comes from a city which has seen its fair share of world class fighters, possibly none more so in the last quarter century than light welterweight legend, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor. Going from the Millvale Recreation Center, where Broner honed his craft earlier in his life to the crux of his young professional career as the main event attraction at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, he was able to realize such an endeavor. He won the WBO Super Featherweight title by way of a three round destruction of Vincente Rodriguez of Argentina last November. “A lot of people don’t get the chance to win a world title at all, so for me to be able to win it at home was great for me. It was a real touching moment for me and something I will never forget.”


The passage to greatness for Adrien Broner was anything but immediate. In a current environment within the sport of boxing where several fighters, often world titlists have little or virtually no amateur experience, he was clearly an exception to what is leaning towards becoming an accepted norm. With over three hundred amateur fights to his credit, “The Problem” did more than just cut his teeth within the ranks for little or no pay. The fortitude required to log so many hours as a hopeful participant is something he feels benefited him to no end.


“It’s definitely a bigger difference. Experience can make a big difference in this game, but it can only take you so far. For someone like me, it was my talent, my maturity and where I stand mentally that took me over the top. It’s really up to the boxer”.



Adrien began his professional career with a chaotic bang within the ring, as four of his initial five contests were over in the first round by way of knockout. Today, he boasts an impressive overall record of 22 wins, no losses and 18 knockouts. A staggering knockout percentage of 82% is what really jumps off of the page when his record is examined. Some boxers will admit to seeking the quick finish, while Broner prefers a sweeter approach. The Cincinnati native elaborated, “I don’t go in looking for a knockout, but you can’t make a mistake with me. I was always taught that when you make a mistake, then you must pay. I was blessed with one-punch knockout power. Usually, when I catch guys solid, they fall down and they don’t get back up.”


The beneficial understanding that even with such devastating effectiveness within the ring comes the unforgettable responsibility and need to maintain a protective guard is one that is not equally possessed in the sport. Broner acknowledges the figurative call to arms as something he cherishes, respects and always looks to improve.


“You always need to combine speed with power because speed is power. Many fighters get so hung up on throwing heavy amounts of power punches, but the ones that hurt the most are the ones that you don’t see.”


Among the early accolades in Broner’s career are tournament championships from the National Silver Gloves in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Children as young as ten years old vie to compete for trophies within their corresponding age divisions as designated by USA Boxing. He also progressed to the semi-finals of the 2005 Junior Olympics. His professional debut in May of 2008, which was made possible by R&R Promotions and Mr. Andrew Williams resulted in a 32 second knockout win. Not long after, Golden Boy Promotions came looking for his signature. Broner explained how both companies have assisted him with the development of his boxing resume.



“Golden Boy has definitely done their job, but at the same time my promotional company at home (R&R Promotions) and Andrew did their fair share, too. He gave me twelve fights at home and several fights on Golden Boy cards, so I tip my hat to Golden Boy and my home promoter, Andrew Williams.”


Not every boxer wins a world title and even fewer do so at such a young age. The sport has occasionally seen the athletic as well as professional decline of fighters who reach the pinnacle of the game and perhaps by a slight of hand or errors in judgment, do not stay there for very long. It’s often been said that having too much money is bad enough, while too much money in addition to loads of free time can often be the proverbial dagger. Adrien Broner is already aware of the potential pitfalls. He said, “I’m prepared. I know where I’m going. I have the charisma, the character and I like to put on a show. It’s not all about the money with me. Even if I had millions of dollars now, I would still be doing it. I’m just a die hard fan and I really love the sport.”


This was beyond evident during a fight which took place in March of 2011. The early knockout was not seen in his bout with the durable and well-tested Mexican challenger, Daniel Ponce de Leon, who controlled parts of the early rounds. Broner took command in the middle rounds of the fight and often fired at will upon his opponent. He earned a unanimous decision victory, although the scorecards of two judges were of the opinion that the contest was rather close. Broner spoke of his journey through some new though not totally untested waters.


“I learned that I can keep my composure and do whatever is necessary to get the victory. It wasn’t exactly my toughest fight and I made it easy for me. I just out-boxed him.”


Adrien Broner is prepared to welcome the task of becoming the torchbearer for the sport, perhaps for the next decade if he feels so compelled. Fighters age while boxing itself does not. Coming to terms with such a reality can be cumbersome when the pugilistic world becomes too attached to just a handful of combatants and their dwindling yet financially promising immediate futures. The undefeated kid from Cincinnati looks forward to the day when his name is called to lead the way for the tomorrows of the ring. “My goal is to be the new face of boxing. Floyd (Mayweather) and (Manny) Pacquiao really have boxing around their arms right now. Hopefully they’ll fight, but maybe they won’t. After all of this is done, it’s time for Adrien “The Problem” Broner.”


Boxing is a dangerous business and many if its participants are at times known just as much if not more for their eccentric fight night rituals and practices, which can range from the odd to the outright bizarre. Following Broner’s most recent victory (versus Vincente Rodriguez), he asked his dad to assist him in the ring prior to taking part in his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman. “Hey Pops! Come brush my hair”, said the triumphant fighter. His father, Thomas shortly thereafter obliged, brushed his young son’s hair and all was right. Adrien spoke about his confidence and how he feels it can only take him further.


“For me, it’s not about nerves. I just love to put on a show. The more people that are out there watching, the more I want to put on a great show. I know I’m prepared and ready. I’m also there to entertain.”


Adrien Broner is also a family man.


“It’s about success. I don’t want my kids to have to grow up the way I did or have to go through the things that I went through in my life. I just want to make it a better place for them.”, he said.


Adrien stated that the aforementioned Rau’Shee Warren and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. are the two who fighters he most admires. He will defend his WBO Super Featherweight title against the also undefeated Eloy Perez of Salinas, California on February 25th in St. Louis, Missouri. As the date approaches, Broner is basking in his confidence as a professional fighter and seeks to exude mutual feelings of luminosity.


“Put on your sunglasses. I’m going to shine like the sun is out”.


February 11, 2012.

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