When something gets repeated often enough, people will start to believe it. For the past year, Adrien Broner has been telling anyone who’ll listen that he’s destined to become a boxing superstar on the level of Muhammad Ali. While he’s convinced himself, the response from boxing fans has been much more tepid. Tomorrow night on HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” main event, Broner can go a long way to changing that when he faces a significant threat in WBC lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco. A tall, aggressive southpaw with power who needed less than a minute in his last outing to vanquish John Molina, DeMarco has all the tools to derail Broner’s superstar aspirations. But let Broner tell it, DeMarco is just a pit stop on his goal to surpassing his idol Floyd Mayweather. Should we see a dominant performance Saturday night, you may just start believing him too.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: On paper, Antonio DeMarco is expected to be your toughest challenge. What do you consider his best attribute?
Broner: His best strength is his heart. DeMarco has the heart of a champion. There comes times where you’ll have to dog it out or make the fight easy. I’m ready for whatever. We won’t know until the bell rings, but I’ll make the adjustments as needed to get the victory. If it’s a guy who may pose problems I’m going to box. If I see I can walk him down, I’m gonna walk him down. You don’t fight everybody the same. We know we’re very in shape and ready for anything.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You seem to prefer the high guard and walking down fighters. Is that strategy conducive to DeMarco’s style?
Broner: A lot of people don’t know. When I first seen Floyd Mayweather, I was 12. From watching him do it I said let me try it. Once you try something the first time you’re not gonna get it. Now at 23, 11 years down the road, it really helps me out; I really don’t get hit (laughs). It took me a long time to perfect and there’s still some things I see when I watch Floyd that I still have to work on. It’s a work in progress.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Earlier this month you and 50 Cent got into it on Twitter with you offering to face both Yuriorkis Gamboa and Billy Dib. Are those still options should you get by DeMarco?
Broner: I’m really not worried about the Gamboa fight. I don’t need him to be a superstar. Without him, the fans are still going to want to see Adrien Broner no matter who I fight. It would be a big fight, a super fight we can make down the line. I want to see Gamboa get his career back going. We haven’t seen him fight in a long time and he’s an exceptional talent in boxing. He has some nice amateur credentials [too], but at the end of the day I’m “The Problem” and will stay undefeated no matter who they put on the other side of that ring.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You had to deal with a lot of problems while still trying to get your career off the ground in 2008. Some of those legal issues took years to resolve. How did you stay focused on boxing with them hanging over your head and no big company backing at the time? (Writer’s Note: According to Cinncinatti court records,Broner was arrested and charged with multiple crimes from 2007-2008, such as intimidation of a crime witness, carrying a concealed weapon, aggravated robbery and felonious assault. He was acquitted of all charges.)
Broner: I just stayed focused man and left it up to the man upstairs. He definitely helped me and now I’m a world champion going for another title in another weight class.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: We know how Floyd went about pushing his name to next level with the “Money” persona. Define your persona and why you’re so confident it’ll be just as big.
Broner: I think it will come. The things I do with the antics is just me being me. Everybody around the world will love me just like do [Muhammad] Ali. You have some who dislike him but for the most part the whole world had to see Ali. That’s what I’m looking forward to.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You talk a lot about becoming a superstar but in order for that to happen, you need that big rival or signature win. Who in the immediate landscape can give you that push to the next level?
Broner: The superstar opponent will come with me just being me and putting on great performances. I would like a big fight with Juan Manuel Marquez before he’s done. That would be a hell of a fight. It’s a lot of names out there but we’ll take it slow and one fight at a time. Right now DeMarco is on my mind and I’m gonna get this fight out the way.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: A lot of people soured on you for not making weight against Escobedo. Looking back on it, how you feel about everything that went down?
Broner: I’m never gonna get a fair shake. They’re gonna always find a way to put some type of criticism in the situation. I just do me. As long as I’m victorious, looking, leaving the ring not beat up with my million dollar smile, I’m ok with that. I’m the Meek Mill of and LeBron James of boxing. I’m a young phenom and star. It’s just gonna get bigger from here and I’m ready for it.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: At this stage, are we done with the hair bush routines?
Broner: [Chuckles] The brush ain’t retired; he’s just trying to slow up right now.
Adrien Broner vs. Antonio DeMarco for the WBC light title airs Saturday (November 17) night at 10 p.m. ET on HBO’s “World Championship Boxing,” live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The co-main event is Seth Mitchell facing Johnathon Banks for the NABO heavyweight title.