By Tom Gray
While attending Mayweather vs. Cotto in Las Vegas this reporter met up with the explosive WBO Super Featherweight Champion, Adrien Broner.
After cordially introducing myself I requested a cell number so that I could arrange a telephone interview. The Cincinnati star fixed me with a cold stare and whispered “It’s 513”, his eyes narrowed; “don’t ever ask me for that again!” Now if Mike Tyson or Bernard Hopkins had said that you wouldn’t have seen me for dust but I found Broner’s bravado amusing and the joke broke the ice.
In contrast to Broner’s comedy value is a 23-0 record and his nickname “The Problem” is beginning to look like an understatement with ten of his nineteen stoppages listed as first round knockouts. On July 21st, Broner defends his title for the third time against Vicente Escobedo and victory should secure lucrative super fights in the very near future.
The following is a transcript of an interview with the WBO super-featherweight champion:
TG: You’ve exploded on to the scene as a professional and as a champion. Tell me about your amateur career and what you were like as a kid?
AB: I had over 300 amateur fights and won most of them (Amateur Record: 300-19). I always knew I would be world champion from a young age and it happened and now I’m doing fantastic as a professional.
TG: Who gave you the nickname, The Problem?
AB: My brother gave me the nickname because I was causing havoc in amateur tournaments and it just stuck. My brother, Andre, and I were tearing up all the competition.
TG: Were you always a huge puncher and where does the power come from?
AB: Even as a kid I could punch and, being honest with you, I don’t know where the power comes from. I don’t even try to knock guys out, it just happens.
TG: What do you do in training, specifically, that enhances your speed and power?
AB: I don’t do anything specifically - this is a gift from God.
TG: You obviously look up to Floyd Mayweather, who you frequently refer to as a surrogate big brother? Who else do you admire within boxing and why?
AB: Floyd is like my big brother and many people say we’re very similar in terms of style. The common denominator is that we have such a strong work ethic and that is why we’re successful. My brother Rau’Shee Warren is also a big influence, he’s fighting in the Olympics for the third time and he is such an inspiration.
TG: Many people, including yourself, have said you could be the one to follow in Mayweather’s footsteps. What does Adrien Broner have to do to rise to those heights?
AB: I don’t need to do anything but keep winning. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
TG: What would Adrien Broner bring to HBO’s 24/7 series?
AB: To be honest they can get me on that show right now. I’m exciting enough right now, they don’t need to wait.
TG: There’s only five pounds between yourself and Yuriorkis Gamboa. What do you make of Gamboa and when are we likely to see you both in a prize ring?
AB: He’s a good fighter and I don’t know when it’s going to happen but when it does I will be victorious. Gamboa’s tough but it doesn’t matter who it is, if you’re in the opposite corner, I’m gonna get you.
TG: When you look ahead, who else do you see in your future in terms of huge fights?
AB: There are so many big fights out there for me. You have Amir Khan.
TG: Khan is a light welterweight who is heading north?
AB: Oh yeah, light welterweight, welterweight - wherever. My speed and power will come up with me.
TG: Have you got an eye on any of the rival champions? Are you looking to unify the division against Uchiyama, Takahiro Ao or Juan Carlos Salgado?
AB: It’s hard to arrange for these guys to come over to the States and fight. I don’t need them and I have bigger fights ahead of me.
TG: You won the WBO Super Featherweight title which had been vacated by Ricky Burns. Ricky is now up at 135lbs. Do you see yourself up at lightweight soon and would he be on your radar?
AB: I don’t worry about Ricky Burns. If he wants the fight he can have it. I’m sure he’s a good fighter and I know he’s doing okay but I don’t watch him fight.
TG: Banned substances have cast a huge shadow over the sport in recent weeks. You had a title defence fall through because the Khan/ Peterson rematch was cancelled. What can be done to prevent incidents such as these?
AB: I don’t know what happened in that situation and I hope all is well with Peterson. It didn’t really affect me that badly because we have a fight lined up on July 21st.
TG: Vicente Escobedo is next up for you. What do you know about him and what can the fans expect?
AB: He’s a former Olympian, he has a good record and he’s a tough guy but I’m looking to make a statement in this fight. I don’t go looking for knockouts but you don’t get paid for overtime.
TG: You’re entertaining and charismatic and obviously get off on being a showman. Explain to me who the real Adrien Broner is off camera?
AB: It doesn’t matter if you catch me on a Monday or a Sunday. It doesn’t matter if you knew me at school or you know me now. I’m always that same Adrien Broner, I’m like that shiny penny that never changes, man.
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