By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Adrien Broner didn’t even let Brian Custer finish his question to Jessie Vargas.
The Showtime announcer attempted to ask Vargas about a statement he had made regarding Broner losing when he “stepped up” in fights contested above the super lightweight limit of 140 pounds. An agitated Broner wouldn’t allow Vargas to publicly pick apart his resume two days before their 12-round, 144-pound main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“He did, too,” Broner yelled at Custer during a press conference Thursday at Barclays Center. “He ain’t win his fights when he stepped up.”
Broner pointed out Vargas’ largely lopsided unanimous-decision defeats to former WBO welterweight champions Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao. Those are the only two losses of Vargas’ 9½-year pro career, but Bradley and Pacquiao were the onetime WBO welterweight champ’s two toughest opponents.
“I don’t wanna hear none of that sh*t,” Broner said. “When you stepped up and you fought Timothy Bradley, you lost. And when you stepped up and fought Pacquiao, you lost. So shut that sh*t up, bitch-ass n*gga. So what I’m saying is this – I’m a four-time world champion. I’ve been a world champion at ’47 before. So I don’t wanna hear nothing. Quit talking about all the losses. You ain’t them. You’ve gotta beat me first. No homo. Come on, man. Get up out of here, man.”
Despite losing to Bradley and Pacquiao, the 28-year-old Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) is a slight favorite over Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in part because Broner has either lost or struggled during fights contested above 140 pounds.
The Cincinnati native is 2-1 in fights as a full-fledged 147-pounder, but Broner’s two welterweight wins were split-decision defeats of a past-his-prime Paulie Malignaggi and Adrian Granados. Broner was knocked down twice by Argentina’s Marcos Maidana during his lone loss at the welterweight limit, a 12-round unanimous decision.
The 28-year-old Broner also lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Shawn Porter in a fight contested at the same 144-pound catch weight at which he’ll battle Las Vegas’ Vargas. Broner’s most recent defeat came against another four-division champion, Mikey Garcia, in a 12-round, 140-pound fight July 29 at Barclays Center.
The Broner-Vargas fight will be the main event of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast Saturday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
In the opening bout, Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) and Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) will fight for a vacant version of the WBA super featherweight title. Just before Broner-Vargas, Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) will square off against Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California, in another 12-rounder for the WBC interim middleweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.