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Can troubled Adrien Broner turn career around? Winning Saturday would be a start
Faces Santaigo in Showtime main event
Adrien Broner, his career in shambles, in debt due to legal issues, 0-2-1 in his last three bouts and without a win in four years, is hoping that he can turn things around on Saturday night when he ends a two-year layoff.
The former four-division world titlist will return to the ring to face the unknown and untested Jovanie Santiago in the 12-round welterweight main event of a tripleheader on Showtime (9 p.m. ET) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The fight will be Broner’s first in the 25 months since he barely threw any punches and was outclassed by legend Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title bout in January 2019.
Broner agreed to the fight Santiago at the junior welterweight limit of 140 pounds, where once held a title that he lost on the scale for failing to make weight. But even though Broner took off considerable weight during his training camp, the fight was announced as a junior welterweight bout and he spoke recently about how “140 pounds is the weight that I want to be at,” it was clear in recent days that he would not be able to make it for Friday’s weigh-in.
So, the contract weight was upped on Thursday with Showtime announcing that the fight “will now be contested at the welterweight limit (147 lbs.) following a mutual decision from both fighters.”
Santiago was also having issues making 140, had been kept in the loop about a possible weight change all along and was not at all unhappy about the switch, a source with knowledge of the situation told Fight Freaks Unite. Broner actually making 140 pounds for the bout was termed as being “aspirational” after two years out of the ring, the source said.
“After this fight I’m going to stay on track and get right back to the gym.” - Adrien Broner
Broner, who trained in Davie, Florida, since November before heading to Connecticut this week, acknowledged his battle with the scale.
“I had to lose the 35 pounds and it was tough,” Broner said. “I’ve put in the work. After this fight I’m going to stay on track and get right back to the gym. The goal is to become the five-time world champion, and then the sixth and the seventh time after that. I’m just working. I was so out of shape. I had to be gritty and I had to dig deep. Being out that long, I was overweight. I had to wake up and run miles and work my body back. It was tough.
“I’ve just had to change everything, change the lifestyle mostly. What would I tell a younger fighter? Just stay in the gym as much as possible. Don’t be blinded by the money and the lights and the girls and the partying life. I’m not saying don’t live your life. You can’t just box, box, box your whole life. You just have to stay relaxed.”
Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs), 31, of Cincinnati, who has made many millions of dollars, may still want to fight for the glory and more titles but he also needs the money despite referring to his AB initials as standing for “About Billions.”
He was unable to come up with the cash to pay off what has ballooned into a nearly $856,000 judgment against him after he failed to show up in court to answer a lawsuit filed by a woman he sexually assaulted at a Cleveland nightclub in June 2018. Broner previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and unlawful restraint charge in the criminal case related to the incident.
“Even if I didn’t have these pending court cases against me, I’d still be working my ass off to come back and make a fortune,” Broner said. “That has nothing to do with my motivation. God gave me a blessing and gifted me with some great talent and I’m not going to let it go to waste. The motivation is that I miss the sport. I miss being on top. I miss being champion and I’m going to take another run at being champion.
“I’ve found my love for boxing again. I gave myself some time to miss boxing and I’m ready to go in there and win some more world titles. My children are what fuel me now.”
Broner also recently admitted to battling a problem with alcohol.
“I went through a lot of things, honestly,” Broner said. “One day, I just woke and said, ‘I’m done.’ In order to change, you’ve got to make change or you’ll steady get caught up doing the same thing. I cut a lot of stuff, I stopped doing a lot of stuff and I got myself together. It was a long road to get to where I’m at today and now I’m here.
“Listen, if you got a belt, just hold on to it. I’m coming to sweep it all up — WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF. I’m coming to get them all.”
But Broner said whatever issues he has outside of the ring, he is prepared and focused on Santiago.
“I know he’s coming to fight, he’s undefeated and he’s hungry,” Broner said. “Anybody who fights a name like Adrien Broner is going to always train to their best ability so I’m not looking at this as a fight where I just go in and destroy this guy. I’m just going to go to do what I have to do to get the victory — look good inside and outside the ring.
“I feel like I’m going to be a world champion again, again, again and again. Yes, I took two years off from boxing, retired and let my body heal and rest. I just feel like I’ve got what it takes to win more championships in different weight classes so that’s what I’m going to do. At the end of the day, he’s here because of me and everybody in this room (at Thursday’s final news conference) is here because of me, so that’s special. Saturday night, the only thing that’s going to be special is this whooping I’m giving out. He’ll know then.”
Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KOs), 31, who has previously fought all of his bouts in either his native Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, is getting the biggest opportunity of his career and vowed to take advantage of it.
“I’m going to show who I am. I’m going to show Adrien Broner that I’m ready to fight,” Santiago said. “I know this is the biggest fight of my career. He’s a big name and I’m going to try and win for Puerto Rico. Winning this fight would be the best thing that’s happened in my career and my name would get a lot bigger in the boxing world. I don’t have anything to lose. Adrien Broner has everything to lose so he better bring his A-game against me. A win for me would catapult me into a world title shot.
“AB always puts on a show so on Saturday I have to be ready to put on my own show against AB. He is a good (former) champion but I’ve trained really hard in the gym and I’m going to show it.”
Also on the card in 12-rounders:
Co-feature: Otto Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs), 30, of Sweden, and Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs), 35, of Eastvale, California, will meet in a battle of heavyweight contenders.
Opener: Former lightweight world titlist Robert Easter Jr. (22-1-1, 14 KOs), 30, of Toledo, Ohio, meets Ryan Martin (24-1, 14 KOs), 27, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in a junior welterweight bout.