By Mike Coppinger
Highly-touted junior lightweight prospect Adrien “The Problem” Broner was criticized after a lackluster win over Daniel Ponce De Leon in March, his HBO debut. Broner didn’t engage De Leon much in the match, even though he seemed to have his way with the Mexican every time he pressed the action.
The talented boxer-puncher’s next bout was also on HBO, much to the dismay of critics who felt Broner didn’t deserve to be back on the network so quickly, against Jason Litzau. And with just one round, Broner quieted the doubters, stopping Litzau in impressive fashion in the opening stanza.
“A lot of people that criticized me, 85 percent of them never threw a punch in the ring in their life and never even had a street fight,” said the brash Broner. “You can’t listen to the critics, you just gotta go in there and do what you gotta do to get the victory, and that’s what I did.”
Broner (21-0, 16 KOs) certainly isn’t one to lack confidence, fully aware of the power he possesses in both hands.
“Going into any fight, it doesn’t matter who’s in front of me, anybody that I touch with a solid punch is gonna be hurt or either go down, so I’m just very confident in myself and I believe in myself,” said the Al Haymon-advised Broner. “That’s how I go in the ring and fight.”
Broner is currently in Colorado Springs, Colo., helping fellow Cincinnati fighter Rau’shee Warren and other Team USA hopefuls prepare for the upcoming Olympic Trials. Broner is of course also training for his next bout, which he says will take place “hopefully at the end of August, beginning of September.”
How much longer Broner will stay in the barren junior lightweight weight class remains to be seen, with richer bouts awaiting him at 135.
“A lot of people saying there’s nobody else at ’30 for me to fight, but we’re gonna take our time,” said Broner. “I’m only 21, I got a lot to learn in this game, I’m still learning. When the time comes and the situation is right, we’re gonna make that step.”
Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing freelancer for USA TODAY and Ring Magazine. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, the Ring Ratings Advisory Panel and the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger.