Adrien Broner: “I'm blessed with this talent, and I'm not going to let it go to waste”
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (July 16, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Adrien Broner
By John J. Raspanti - You can't be the king of the streets and the king of the ring. You have to pick one”

The mother of Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner was nicknamed “The Problem” sixteen years ago. Back then, the adults in his life weren’t sure what to do with him.

“It all started when I was a kid,” said Broner during a phone interview. “Me and my twin would go out and it would be like, 'Oh it's a problem.’ “

Broner, 22, is the youngest world champion in the U.S.A. He’s undefeated in 23 professional fights with 19 knockouts. On July 21, he’ll be defending his WBO junior featherweight title for the second time against Vicente Escobedo of Woodland, CA.

Some have said that Broner is the second coming of Floyd “Money” Mayweather. He’s flashy like Mayweather, and loaded with confidence. Broner himself is a big fan of Mayweather, but “The Problem” does have one singular advantage over his idol. He can punch.

Of his 19 knockout victories, ten have occurred in the first round.

Broner began boxing at age six. His initial experience with the sport was both thrilling and painful.

"You know my dad took me to the gym,” Broner said. “We used to box all the time in the yard. Me and my buddy would beat everybody up.”

“My first day in the gym, they put me in the ring with an eight-year old. I beat him up real bad. They then put me in with the best eight-year-old they had and I beat him up real bad. I dropped him and everything.

“So they called, ‘nuke, nuke,'” he recalled. “Nuke is the three-time Olympian Rau'shee Warren. He was nine at the time. He jumps in the ring with his braids and Jordon's on. He beat me up pretty bad and made me cry, and I've been there (in the gym) ever since."

Energized, but lacking direction, Broner needed something to keep him focused. He found it in boxing. But what kept him coming back to the gym?

"Competition,"he said. "I love the contact. Also the skill involved. Boxing isn't something you can just jump into. You can’t wakeup out of bed and say, 'Ah, I think I'm going to be a boxer today.' You just can't do that. So, that's what I love about it," he said. "I'm blessed with this talent, and I'm not going to let it go to waste.”

Broner pushes himself hard during his training camp. He refuses to assume anything.

"I just don't rely on my talent,” Broner said. “I also put in the work."

His competition has improved steadily over the course of his career. Is there one opponent who stands out?

"I don't know, I make them all look so easy.” Broner says with a chuckle. “I know deep down in my heart that I haven't had nobody bring out the best in Adrien Broner. I’ve had some good competition.”

Broner won the vacant WBO super featherweight title last November when he starched Vicente Rodriguez in three rounds. He defended his title in Cincinnati last February, knocking out an overmatched Eloy Perez.

"I've already done some great things,” Broner said. “That's why they compare me to Mayweather. They say guys like me don't come along again for fifty or sixty years."

Most fighters like to study tape of their future foes. It’s a proven preparation tool, and one utilized by many fighters and trainers. But Broner, like Mayweather, prefers to adapt during the fight.

“I don't watch tape of my opponents,” said Broner. “I just make sure I'm mentally and physically prepared. I get in there, make my adjustments, and go from there.

Unlike many boxers, Broner enjoys training. He believes his camp for the upcoming Escobedo bout was a success.

"Everything has been going well,” Broner said, “I'm not going to put no names out, who the real king is - I'm not going to say anything except I'm ready. You’re going to see something real special in a few weeks."

The accusations of being cocky bother Broner. He feels that the public doesn’t understand what it takes to be the best.

"If you want to be number one and be the best, you have to think you’re the best," said Broner. “Some people get cocky and confidence mixed up. I'm nowhere near cocky. I'm just very confident and I believe in myself.

“I will never go into a fight thinking that a guy has the upper-hand on me, “he continued.

”It don't matter who it is, I'm going to act the same, and I'm going to go in there and fight the same, like I'm the best.”

Broner has two other passions in his life besides boxing - music and being a father to his four kids (with a fifth on the way.)

“In my spare time I'm making music,” he said. “I'm a great father. If I'm not in the studio, I'm with my kids or my girlfriend. That's what I do.”

Broner ran with gangs from an early age. As he grew older, he realized he had to make choices about what direction his life should take. Boxing saved him.

"Even though I was in the street I did a lot. I did it all, “he said. “From the stuff I seen in those days, it matured me and calmed me down. When I was in my last situation it humbled me and made me see that boxing was my way out. I just had my son Adrien Jr., I had to stop doing the things I was doing for his sake.

“My dad was always around, so I wanted to be around for my kids,” he said. “My mom told me when I got out of my situation, she said, 'You can't be the king of the streets and the king of the ring. You have to pick one.' I picked boxing.”

On July 21, Adrien Broner and Vicente Escobedo will engage in a 12-round fight for Broner’s WBO junior lightweight championship. The event is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and R&R Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The HBO Boxing After Dark® broadcast will air at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Follow and visit John on Twitter:!/johnboxing1

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