LAS VEGAS – The beating that Adrien Broner absorbed by Marcos Maidana in December would have totally humiliated and humbled most mortals. He was knocked down twice, nearly knocked out and held on for dear life before finishing on his feet and losing a 12-round unanimous decision and his WBA welterweight title.
It’s the kind of beating that is supposed to make a boxer go back and reflect on changes and perhaps come back more humble. If Broner had that reflective, soul searching talk with himself, he must have felt that he was just fine the way he was before – a supremely confident braggart that rubbed people the wrong way.
Broner is back and in rare form. He will meet Carlos Molina on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana show at MGM Grand on Saturday night.
Four days before taking on Molina, Broner called out Manny Pacquiao, who scored a decision against Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand last month.
"Pacquiao can get it. Where are they? Pacquiao, Top Rank, his promoter," Broner said. "We'll fight Pacquiao next. I would stop this fight to fight Pacquiao. What do I gotta do?"
First beat Molina and then prove that he’s back on the right path.
For a moment - an utterly brief moment – Broner admitted that the loss to Maidana was humbling. But then he was off to the races, demonstrating with his mouth why so many people relished his loss to Maidana.
“People want to know if the loss (against Marcos Maidana) has humbled me and of course it has,’’ he said. “If I would have won that Maidana fight people would be calling me an ***hole. People still call me that, but now I thank God that he slowed me down in my tracks even though it is still a heavy and fast train. Right now, Denzel Washington couldn't stop this train.’’
For those who aren’t that hip, Denzel Washington was in a movie entitled “Unstoppable’’ about a runaway train in 2010. And like most must-see movies involving a major star, Broner believes everyone will be tuning in to watch his match against Molina.
“This fight is huge for me,’’ Broner said. “Everyone wants to see what Adrien Broner is going to do next after this devastating loss I took in the early part of my career. I know why everyone has their eyes glued to me.’’
Broner arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday, sporting a full beard, and announced that he was fit for the fight on Saturday night.
"I'm great. I didn't go through nothing. How many times have you lost and got millions for it? I'm great," said Broner, “Some of the best fighters in the world, in the universe, have taken a loss. This is just my first loss. It just so happens that I took my first loss in this era. So to some people, it's big. Bigger than what it really is."
Fighting on someone else’s undercard, even on Mayweather’s undercard, is a step down for Broner, who was being hailed as the next Mayweather before Maidana humbled him. He envisioned himself as a Pay Per View superstar along the lines of Mayweather. Well, he made it to Pay Per View, but as one of the lead in fights to the main event. At least Broner seems to have taken that slight and turned it into a positive for himself.
“Being on this undercard means a lot. It means a lot to know I play a big part in boxing. It is great to be on this card,’’ Broner said.
Broner entered the match against Maidana as the WBA welterweight champion, thanks to a close 12-round decision against Paulie Malignaggi. Broner was able to walk through Malignaggi’s punches and it may have emboldened him and gave him a false sense of security in the welterweight division. Malignaggi doesn’t have devastating one-punch knockout power. But Maidana does. He swarmed Broner in the first round and then dropped Broner. It was the first time that Broner had been on the canvas as a pro. Maidana did it again in the eighth round.
"I was surprised by the way Adrien got hit by Maidana. He'd been hit in the past, but I was surprised that Maidana hit him like that,’’ said Mike Stafford, Broner’s trainer.
The way Maidana so easily manhandled Broner has prompted the former junior lightweight and lightweight champion to take a step back from the welterweight division. He will fight Molina at 140 pounds. Molina hasn’t fought in 16 months after being stopped in the 10th round by Amir Khan in 2012.
"Molina's got a lot of heart. He's a punching bag with arms and legs. It's more of me just being more focused," said Broner. "I've really cut off all contacts, and I've not been on the internet. I have just been focusing on boxing. Now, we're back, and I'm going to make an example out of this boy on Saturday night."
In Broner’s mind that loss did not take him out of the consciousness of boxing fans.
“In this era, you can't talk about boxing without bringing up Adrien Broner,’’ he said.