Jerry Glick reporting: Apparently the problem that the hugely confident Adrien “The Problem” Broner is referring to when he uses the nickname “The Problem” is recalling his opponent’s name for this Saturday’s WBC Lightweight title fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For the record his challenger is former WBA Light-welterweight champion Gavin Rees, 37-1-1 (18 KOs), from Newport, Wales.
None of Broner’s bravado appeared to rattle Rees during the press conference at famous BB Kings in Times Square, NY. He did get a bit testy when he was at the podium, but otherwise took it all in with humor.
Described as “Wildly charismatic,“ and “Hard working”, by Golden Boy’s David Itskowitch, Broner displayed his brash attitude by refusing to say Rees’ name correctly. “I respect him as a fighter,” said the undefeated, 25-0 (21 KOs), defending champ. “I respect every fighter because only a boxer knows what we go through in the ring.” Nevertheless he continued to refer to Rees as “Cabbage Reed? I don’t even know his name.”
He may not know his opponent’s name, but he says that he knows what he, himself has, “Its God given,” “The Problem” explained. “I’m the best of my era. Floyd’s (Mayweather) era is closing and I have to respect him.”
A comparison can be made between Broner and Mayweather because there are similarities in their styles. It is obvious that the young champion (23) from Cincinnati is impressed with the multi-weight title holder, Mayweather and has molded himself after the former “Pretty Boy”. Both have exquisite timing, incredible speed, skills by the truck load and a cockiness born from an over abundance of talent. It sometimes happens in boxing that great champions cause young fighters to attempt to emulate them; after Muhammad Ali danced his way to greatness he was followed by many young men who tried to do the same thing, some were successful such as Sugar Ray Leonard, and others just didn’t have the inborn skills to make it work. Even Ali took his style and swagger from others; he boxed like the original Sugar, Ray Robinson, and bragged like wrestler Gorgeous George who Ali admitted he was impressed him with his swagger. Broner is not the only fighter influenced by Floyd, and he won’t be the last.
Questioned about his cockiness, Broner claimed that he excelled in every sport including baseball, but said that his favorite part of playing baseball is “stealing” bases.
The rap on Broner has been his lack of quality opposition, but he answers that by pointing out that he’s so good, saying “I can’t get mad because I’m God gifted and I make everybody look like a nobody.”
Broner claimed that he never views tapes of his opponents. He formulates strategy when the bell rings, “I don’t train for fighters,” he explained. “I train to stay in shape.”
Broner believes that he can adjust to anyone put in front of him.
He said that after Rees he would like to fight WBO Champ Ricky Burns in a unification fight, “Then move up to junior-welterweight and wreck that division.”He wanted to fight, “That short, turtle armed guy, Yoriorkas Gamboa,” but it didn’t happen. Broner saw that as a possible career defining fight, “But he’s messing up. He tastes the canvas in every fight.”
As far as drugs in boxing is concerned, Broner said, “I don’t even take vitamins.” He is willing, he added, to take a blood test before every fight.
When Juan Manuel Marquez was mentioned as an opponent Broner said that he would not expect Marquez to take such a fight because of blood testing. “You saw him (at the last Pacquiao fight) he looked like a linebacker.”
It should be an entertaining fight, but decidedly one sided as the slower, fighter from Wales will eventually succumb to the finer skills, power, and speed of Broner.
**HAVE A HEART**
Broner admitted that there were three occasions where he had to use his heart, “There were three fights that I really got touched but didn’t show it,” he recalled. “I was taught in every sport don’t show emotion, my dad was real big on that. A kid named Terrance (Jett) caught me with a hard shot, but I recovered and stopped him in the sixth round. The next time I got hit really hard was the Ponce De Leon fight. He caught me with a good shot in the third round, right on the button. I didn’t show it, stayed focused. Then DeMarco hit me with a great shot but I didn’t show it. It was to the body.”
“He’s a huge outsider in this fight,” said co-promoter Matchroom’s head man, Eddie Hearn as he assessed Rees’ chances of winning. “That’s what it should be but to make the odds that some people are making him is abusive. You’re talking about a man who’s the British, European, and a former world champion, and better than anyone Broner has faced so far.”
Hearn’s opinion of Irish Andy Lee’s challenge to Matthew Macklin is that Lee is biting off more than he can chew; “This is a fight for Macklin, not Andy Lee.”
He said Lee’s trainer, Adam Booth is working to rebuild Lee’s confidence with a few more fights before they take on a fighter of Macklin’s ability. Eddie thinks that if that were seriously offered to Lee his team would pass at this time.
“We offered him the (Darren) Barker fight and they don’t want that yet,” said Hearn.
As for the Sergio Martinez-Martin Murray fight, Hearn picks the champ, “Especially in Argentina, but Martinez is getting to that age now, he’s having operations, you never know.”
Why did he lose to Kotelnik? According to Rees, he drank too close to the fight. “I went out with the boys and had a couple of pints and a couple of pints led to more.”