UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Adrien Broner was a cruiserweight when he started training camp for his first fight in two years.
By the time he steps on the scale Friday morning at Mohegan Sun, one of boxing’s most polarizing figures will have had to lose more than 35 pounds for his 12-round junior welterweight bout versus Jovanie Santiago. Broner still is convinced he won’t join the growing list of boxers who’ve failed during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the weight stipulated in their contracts.
That’s because Broner spent “a sh-t-long time” training in Davie, Florida, for this “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“It’s been 12, 13 weeks,” Broner told BoxingScene.com. “Yeah, I’ve been in camp for a while. That’s another reason why I did a long camp as well. I had to lose a lot of weight. But my weight is good, everything’s good, and I’ll be ready.”
The 31-year-old Broner appeared anything but ready in many of the photos and videos posted to his social media accounts during his long layoff.
“I had to lose like over 35 pounds,” Broner said. “I was pretty big. Two years and some change off, without going to the gym, running or nothing. Out partying and drinking, and then after the club it’s time to eat. And then after that club, it’s time to eat again and drink. You know how that go.”
Broner didn’t train seriously for nearly two years before beginning camp for this fight late in November. He last fought in January 2019, when he lost a one-sided, 12-round unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao in a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Broner boxed the Philippines’ Pacquiao at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds because it was a high-profile title fight for a seven-figure purse. He admits, though, that he is better suited to succeed in the junior welterweight division.
The four-division title-holder hasn’t won a fight in the four years since his debatable, 10-round, split-decision defeat of Adrian Granados in February 2017. Broner, who wants to fight three times in 2021, is consistently listed as a 9-1 favorite to top Puerto Rico’s Santiago, who is unbeaten but untested at this level.
“I’m looking to show everybody that Adrien Broner is still here,” Broner said, “and is still one of the best boxers in the world to ever lace up a pair of boxing gloves. So, I can’t wait until February 20th, to put on a great show.”
The 12-round battle between Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KOs) will headline Showtime’s three-bout broadcast.
The telecast is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EST, when former IBF lightweight champ Robert Easter Jr. (22-1-1, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, and Ryan Martin (24-1, 14 KOs), of Chattanooga, Tennessee, will square off in a 12-round junior welterweight bout. Showtime’s co-feature is a 12-round heavyweight fight in which Dominic Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs), of Eastvale, California, will face Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.