A year ago Adrien “The Problem” Broner was undefeated.
By the age of 24, Broner had captured world titles in three different weight divisions. Some compared him to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Broner didn’t disagree. He relished discussing his fighting flair.
On December 14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, the heavily-favored Broner met Argentine tough guy, Marcos Maidana.
Broner brimmed with confidence before the fight.
“Maidana is a good fighter, a hell of a fighter, but he’s not on my level,” Broner said a few days before the match. “My career is going to the rooftop. It’s going to skyrocket. But this is just the beginning. It starts here.”
His rocket ran out of fuel that night as Maidana pummeled him from pillar to post. Floored twice, the wildly unpopular Broner showed courage in lasting the entire 12-rounds. But he lost respect when he high-tailed it out of the ring before the decision was announced.
Can anybody say bad sport?
Soon after the loss, Broner apologized for his quick exit. He said he had a bad night against Maidana. He returned to the ring four months ago to face fringe-contender Carlos Molina.
Broner easily won the match, but was hardly impressive. The bout was supposed to showcase the new Broner. Instead, it highlighted some of his flaws, like lulls of inactivity and a proclivity for being tagged with right hands.
This Saturday night in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH, Broner (28-1, 22 KOs) will face Emmanuel Taylor (18-2, 12 KOs) in a 12-round Jr. welterweight encounter.
Ten months after his defeat at the hands of Maidana, Broner sounds like a fighter who has fully grasped what happened to him.
“I learned I need to stay in shape,” said Broner at Wednesdays media day. “Before the Maidana fight it felt like I was unstoppable, I could do anything. I could just go back in the ring and everything would be normal. But after the fight I realized I have to slow down.
“I can still be me and have fun, but I can’t be beating up my body. I have no more flaws. I put down everything. Now I just have fun, I stay in shape and I keep positive people around.”
Taylor, 23, earned the Broner fight by edging Karim Mayfield seven weeks ago. That victory erased the defeat he suffered at the hands of Chris Algieri earlier this year. Taylor doesn’t believe that Broner is taking him seriously.
“He’s definitely understating me,” Taylor said. “He’s going to be in for a rude awakening. He was blasted out when he fought Marcos Maidana, and he didn’t look that good against (Carlos) Molina.
“He stands right there to get hit and doesn’t move around on his feet. I’m a hard hitter, so if I catch him a couple of times it’s going to be night, night for him.”
That seems unlikely. Broner has the edge in speed, power and experience. He should be able to stop Taylor inside the distance.