NEW YORK (AP) — Adrien Broner unleashed a profanity-filled tirade against his opponent in the ring and his doubters outside it, proving he remains one of boxing’s biggest mouths.
What he is beyond that might depend on what happens Saturday.
Broner has another chance — maybe his last one — to demonstrate he’s a worthy headliner capable of beating boxing’s best. But he has to get by undefeated Mikey Garcia, who is moving up in weight for their 140-pound bout in Brooklyn.
He insists he’ll be ready, leaving his antics behind for a serious side he believes will bring back one of his vintage performances.
“I just know I’ll be ready Saturday night,” Broner said Thursday.
A champion in four weight classes and former Floyd Mayweather protege, Broner (33-2, 24 KOs) once seemed capable of unlimited heights. But then came a pair of losses, a couple other lethargic performances and legal trouble that left his commitment to the sport in question.
But a victory in the fight to be televised on Showtime vaults Broner back toward where he thinks he belongs.
“He keeps mentioning how he changed things in camp to make sure that he was 100 percent and no distractions,” Garcia said. “So I don’t expect him to be desperate inside the ring but I do expect him to be 100 percent and ready, and he knows if he beats me he launches his career back to where he was a star. And he had a few bad performances but it was all due to things outside of the ring and this is his opportunity to take over what was once his.”
Odds makers didn’t give him much chance when the nontitle fight with Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) was made, and Broner was incredulous when he saw himself listed as a 5-to-1 underdog when the betting line opened. They were the target of some of his tirade during Thursday’s news conference, as was the media that he thinks has covered him too negatively.
Broner has left plenty to criticize, from twice getting stripped of titles for failing to make weight, to legal problems that included jail time last year and another arrest in April on an outstanding warrant in Kentucky after he was stopped in a bullet-riddled car.
But he said he left the partying behind by taking his training camp to Colorado and has been on a steady diet of soup and will have no problem making the 140-pound limit. He said he simply never had incentive when he missed weight before but he does now, revealing last week that he’ll be fined $500,000 if he’s over at Friday’s weigh-in.
“It’s always been easy for me. I just never did it, because I didn’t have to,” Broner said. “If they tell me they’re going to pay me the same if I fight at (1)43 or 44 ... I’m going to fight 43 or 44. But now they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re going to get fined if you don’t make 40.’ OK, I’ll make 40, no problem.”
And as for those picking against him?
“Let’s see who’s on the pound-for-pound list after Saturday night,” Broner said.
He turns 28 Friday and said he’s started thinking about life after boxing. But he can put that off by beating Garcia, which would give him plenty of options at either 140 or 147 pounds.
“This is definitely a crossing point for me and the next fight for me I can definitely do some pay-per-view,” Broner said, “and I’ll do numbers.”
It’s also a big opportunity for Garcia, who’s won titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds but lacks mainstream recognition, in part because he was idle for 2 ½ years because of promotional issues before returning a year ago. He’s now calling his own shots and eager for opportunities back at lightweight, or even moving up to welterweight.
Stopping Broner would jump-start his career.
“I think this fight is a much higher-profile fight than my other fights, even though I’ve had other great fights because it’s created so much buzz and so much media and fans are anticipating a great fight,” Garcia said. “I think that’s the reason why it can transcend me into that next level.”