By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Adrien Broner believes he had to go in a different direction to tap into the potential he is certain he still possesses.
That mindset has led him to West Palm Beach, Florida, where he’s working with trainer Kevin Cunningham for his upcoming fight against Omar Figueroa. Cunningham was in Broner’s corner for his unanimous-decision defeat to Mikey Garcia in his last bout, but Cunningham is now in charge because he has replaced Mike Stafford as Broner’s head trainer.
It’s not easy to replace a man who has been by your side since childhood. At the same time, Broner told BoxingScene.com during Showtime’s “2018 Boxing Upfront” event Wednesday that it was a necessary switch.
“It’s not hard because, at the end of the day, if I’m not right, then nobody can be right,” Broner said. “So I’ve gotta go get my sh*t together.”
The 28-year-old Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) has won world titles in four weight classes, but the Cincinnati native’s lopsided loss to Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) on July 29 and a debatable split-decision victory over Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs) in his previous fight have brought the polarizing Broner to a crossroads in his up-and-down career.
“I’m just ready to prepare and show everybody where I should be in this boxing game,” Broner said. “At the end of the day, it’s all because of me. I’m hard on myself, but I’m gonna get it together.”
The no-nonsense Cunningham, a former St. Louis police officer, has had his most noteworthy success training former junior welterweight and welterweight champion Devon Alexander and former welterweight champ Cory Spinks.
“I love everything about him,” Broner said. “Coach Mike is still in my corner, but I just had to switch some things up, tune up some things.”
Broner still has a good relationship with Stafford, but he’s not sure if Stafford will work his corner when he fights Figueroa in a 140-pound bout April 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime).
“I haven’t decided it yet,” Broner said. “It might be too emotional and I don’t need that. I’ve just gotta stay focused on this fight.”
In his most recent action, the 28-year-old Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KOs) tore through former four-division champion Robert Guerrero (33-6-1, 18 KOs, 2 NC) on July 15 in Uniondale, New York. Figueroa floored Guerrero five times on his way to a third-round technical knockout that initiated Guerrero’s immediate retirement.
Broner has never watched Figueroa fight, yet knows he needs an impressive win against the Weslaco, Texas, native to turn around his career.
“I need to stop him,” Broner said, “beat his ass.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.