By Lem Satterfield
It was way back in January that 21-year-old super featherweight prospect Adrien "The Problem" Broner of Cincinnatti told Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com that he would easily defeat either former world champions Daniel Ponce De Leon or Celestino Caballero or then-NABF super featherweight champion Jason Litzau if he ever got into the ring with any of them.
At the time, Broner was 19-0 with 16 knockouts and being considered for a March 5 bout opposite either the 32-year-old De Leon (41-3, 34 KOs) or the 27-year-old Litzau (28-3, 21 KOs), the latter of whom was coming off of November's split-decision over the 35-year-old Caballero (34-3, 23 KOs).
"I would crush him early. Both [Caballero and Litzau] are wild and slow," said Broner. "[Litzau] won't hit me with none of that stuff. I'll see him a mile away. I'll probably have a bigger workout in the entrance than the fight. I'm ready."
At the time, Broner was speaking five days after having scored a Jan. 15, first-round knockout of 27-year-old John Revish, who entered their bout with a mark of 10-1-2, with eight knockouts.
"I just fought on Saturday and as you can see I'm right back in the gym. [Ponce De Leon] would be the easiest opponent for me," said Broner. "He's too slow, his defense is terrible and his footwork is terrible. And both guys, their chins [are not good]."
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Broner has proven to be prophetic.
On March 5, Broner easily rose to 20-0, with 16 knockouts with a unanimous decision triumph over southpaw Mexican former WBO super bantamweight titlist De Leon before a hostile crowd in an HBO televised bout at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Although he failed to earn his 11th straight stoppage, Broner ended Ponce De Leon's knockout streak at two, his winning streak at seven, and joined Caballero and former WBO featherweight king Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1, 27 KOs) as those who have beaten Ponce De Leon.
Still, Broner was criticized for a perceived general lack of excitement for refusing to engage in a brawl with De Leon in favor of employing his superior boxing skills to essentially coast to a victory by 96-94 on the cards of David Denkin and Raul Caiz Jr., and, 99-91 on that of Tony Crebs.
Last Saturday, in an HBO-televised clash with Litzau at the Arena VFG, Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco, Mexico, Broner scored a sensational knockout with two seconds left in the first round to improve to 21-0 with his 17th stoppage.
Broner's assualt began with 16 seconds left, as he trapped Litzau on the ropes near a neutral corner and blasted him with 11 unanswered blows that sank his opponent to the canvas and caused referee Curtis Thrasher to come to his rescue.
Broner spoke to BoxingScene.com about his thoughts on his future, which includes a desired match up opposite WBA featherweight king Yuriorkis Gamboa (20-0, 16 KOs) and continuing to honor his "favorite fighter," unbeaten six-time titlist Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) in fighting style.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on your performance against Jason Litzau?
Andrien Broner: I went in there and did what I was trained to do, which was to stay calm, and if the shot presented itself, which it did, then I was to take whatever he gave me. I took my time, and took advantage of the situation that arose, and I was able to get him out of there.
BoxingScene.com: Did you feel that you made a statement considering he had beaten Rocky Jaurez and Celestino Caballero, and that you got Jason Litzau out of there faster than Jose Andres Hernandez and Robert Guerrero did by scoring their eighth-round knockouts?
AD: Definitely, definitely. He was supposed to be at the top of his game and fighting at the best of his career. Supposedly. I knew that coming into the fight. But I also knew that if I caught that guy, that he wouldn't be able to withstand my power. I had a good training camp and I felt very strong. I was at the lowest weight of my career at 128.5 pounds.
I felt great, and I went in there and I did what I had to do to get the victory. I'll stay at this weight for a little while, but I should be going up real soon.
BoxingScene.com: What fights will you pursue at the super featherweight class?
AD: Whoever is trying to fight me. I have to sit down and talk to my new management, Al Haymon, and see what's next. Actually, a lot of people keep saying that I should fight Yuriorkis Gamboa. I keep hearing Gamboa. Any body out there. If Gamboa wants to meet me at a catchweight, or come up and fight me, then, you know, we could do it. That would be a very big fight, but, you know?
But I think that right now, it's kind of early in both of our careers. But if the financial part is right and he agrees to it, I have no problem with it.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts about the criticism that you took for not engaging Daniel Ponce De Leon and, instead, boxing him and what is your overall assessment of that performance?
AD: I don't make no excuses. De Leon was a great guy and he came to fight. He was very awkward and he was a southpaw and very crafty. I just had to stick to the gameplan. I agree that I did take a break in the later rounds, particularly after the seventh round. I took a break in the eighth round because in the seventh round, me and De Leon bumped knees.
We bumped knees pretty badly, so I had to take a break, but I still pulled it out. I know that I might have lost that eighth round, but after that, I still thought that I pulled out the other last couple of rounds.
BoxingScene.com: What criticisms were you hearing about your performance against Daniel Ponce De Leon?
AD: I don't worry about what people say. I don't worry about the critics. Because 85 to 90 percent of the time, those guys who are at the computers writing the stories never have thrown a punch in their lives.
So, I just go into the ring and do what I do best, man. We're going to adjust to the style of the other fighter. Whatever the other fighter brings to the ring at that time, we're going to make adjustments and get the victory.
BoxingScene.com: You're 21-0 with 17 knockouts, but do you consider yourself a boxer or a puncher or a little of both?
AD: I feel like when I box, I can catch people on their mistakes. That's accurate. But I know that I can bring the fight to a guy and take a guy out too. Nothing is broke, so nothing about my game needs to be fixed. I'm going to continue to stick to what I have been doing, and that's boxing.
I'm going to continue to be slick and to build up my record in my craftiness. I'm going to continue to do what I do best.
BoxingScene.com: Do you see any similarities between yourself at this point in your career and a young Floyd Mayweather?
AD: I have heard that before. Everybody says that we fight just alike. I mean, it's no mystery who my favorite fighter is. You know, I was always told that it's okay to steal a little bit from others in this game. You can steal a little bit and use what you learn and incorporate it into your own style.