UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Adrien Broner compared this fight week experience to jail, a restrictive space with which he is all too familiar.
Broner blamed the COVID-19 restrictions of the proverbial bubble Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime have used at Mohegan Sun the past six months for his inability to get down to the 140-pound limit at which he and Jovanie Santiago were supposed to fight Saturday night. Their contract weight was moved up seven pounds, to the welterweight maximum of 147, during fight week.
The weight switch fueled Broner’s doubters, who criticized the polarizing fighter for yet another weight issue that was perceived as an unfair disadvantage for Santiago because he hadn’t boxed at the welterweight limit in more than five years. Puerto Rico’s Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs) proved himself by testing Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC), but Broner beat him by unanimous decision in their 12-round main event at Mohegan Sun Arena (117-110, 116-111, 115-112).
Broner believes he still can get all the way down to 140 pounds, the division within which he feels he is at his best.
“We woulda made 140 this fight,” Broner said early Sunday morning at a post-fight press conference. “But the way this stuff’s set up, it’s really hard for you to lose weight. You really can’t do what you need to do to train and lose the weight. It wasn’t no bags and you really couldn’t do what you need to do to get the last few pounds off. So, it was like, you know what I’m saying? But, of course, we can make 140 – of course.”
The 31-year-old Broner last competed at the junior welterweight limit in July 2017. He weighed in at 138¾ pounds for that fight against Mikey Garcia, who beat Broner by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
If his next fight requires Broner to get down to 140 pounds in a bubble environment, he is confident that his experience last week will enable him to do that.
“Now, knowing what I gotta do to make the weight [in a bubble],” Broner said, “I’ll do what I gotta do and make it.”
Broner is hopeful, however, that coronavirus restrictions are loosened by the time he returns to the ring.
“The next fight, well, when I come back, hopefully this COVID mess is over with,” Broner told Showtime’s Brian Custer following his victory. “Because, you know, when you get here, you can’t do nothing, you can’t go nowhere. You can’t go nowhere, you can’t see nobody. You know what I’m saying? You can’t do nothing. They watch you. And, I mean, they own you. I felt like I was in jail again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.