By Lem Satterfield
Super featherweight Adrien Broner of Cincinnatti is 21 years old, unbeaten at 20-0, with 16 knockouts, and coming off of Saturday night's unanimous decision triumph over southpaw Mexican former WBO super bantamweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon of Mexico accomplished before a hostile crowd in an HBO televised bout at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Although he failed to earn his 11th straight knockout in victory over the 32-year-old Ponce De Leon (41-3, 34), Broner, nevertheless, ended Ponce De Leon's knockout streak at two, his winning streak at seven, and joined WBO featherweight king Juan Manuel Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs), and, former super bantamweight titlist Celestino Caballero (34-2, 23 KOs) as those who have vanquished Ponce De Leon.
Broner, nevertheless, has been criticized for a general lack of excitement in the fight for refusing to engage in a brawl, even as the younger man resisted the urge to recklessly pursue his 11th consecutive knockout in favor of rightfully employing his superior pugilistic skills to turn a 50-50 match up into a relatively easy win.
Broner won 96-94 on the cards of David Denkin and Raul Caiz Jr., and, 99-91 on that of Tony Crebs. BoxingScene.com caught up to Broner, whose next fight will likely be agianst Caballero-conquerer and NABF super featherweight champion, Jason Litzau (28-2, 12 KOs), for this Q&A.
BoxingScene.com: How close do you feel the fight was?
Adrien Broner: Not that close. The only round that I felt that I probably could have lost was the eighth round, because I didn't really throw effectively.
I really didn't throw that many punches in that round. In that round, it was like I was kind of just, I don't know. I was kind of just taking the round off.
BoxingScene.com: What do you feel that you were doing effectively throughout the fight?
Adrien Broner: It was like he really came out and surprised me from the way that he fought the first round. We didn't train for someone who was going to run from me.
But I kind of had told my coach that we might want to expect that. I told my coach that once I hit this guy, that I felt like he was going to get on his bicycle.
But he automatically came out on his toes before we had even begun to throw any punches. That kind of surprised me.
BoxingScene.com: What effect did that have on you, strategically?
Adrien Broner: I was just moreso saying to myself, 'This guy knows that he can't beat me.' I was just, like, trying to focus on continuing to box.
I was never looking for a knockout, but after a while, I knew that I could have caught him coming in maybe with the left hook.
But he as so awkward that I could never follow up with the right hand. So I just stuck to our game plan and I boxed.
BoxingScene.com: Was your corner man, Michael Stafford, pleased with you after the first three rounds?
Adrien Broner: The way my trainer was talking, he was like, 'You're doing good, but I wasn't doing enough.' So, that's what he was worried about.
BoxingScene.com: Were you ever affected by the crowd's partisan support of Daniel Ponce De Leon and/or tempted to fight toe-to-toe?
Adrien Broner: Never. I wasn't worried about the crowd. I definitely could have gone to the body more. I could have gone to the body more.
Defensively, I think that I did great.
BoxingScene.com: Have you read or do you pay any attention to the negative criticism of the fight?
Adrien Broner: I really don't worry about the critics because some of these critics never have gotten into the ring in their life.
I would say that 85 percent to 90 percent of them never have been in the ring in their lives, so I really don't worry about what the critics have to say.
I just keep doing what I'm doing, and as long as I'm winning, I'm okay with it. I most definitely used my boxing ability and the skills that God has given me.
I was able to block out the crowd and to move around this guy. I was able to pot-shot when I needed to and pretty much just pick my spots.
BoxingScene.com: Was it necessary to stand toe-to-toe with Daniel Ponce De Leon near the end of the fourth round as you did?
Adrien Broner: Well, I never tried to fight for the crowd. I was really mentally strong. But I knew that at some time in my career that I would have to bite down and sit in there.
That was one of those times where I had to sit down on my punches against a guy. In the fourth round, that's when I felt like I had to really earn my respect from this guy.
If I didn't do that, I felt like he would just try to keep running in on me all night. After that fourth round, though, he wasn't really trying to come in as recklessly or as abusively as he was over the first few rounds.
BoxingScene.com: If you had your pick of your next three opponents, who would they be?
Adrien Broner: Jason Litzau because he was already one of the people that I was supposed to fight. I wanted to fight him anyway because he's in my weight.
A guy like Rocky Jaurez, because I know that he's going to bring a big crowd and he would look good on my record. But I really don't see too many guys in this super featherweight division that can beat me.
I would love to fight Eloy Perez, but he's a Golden Boy fighter, so they're kind of protective with him.
BoxingScene.com: Would you consider a move to lightweight?
Adrien Broner: I'm very comfortable at super featherweight or all the way up to junior welterweight, so, you know, it wouldn't really matter to me.