Adrien Broner danced as music pumped through headphones, a large smile and sunglasses affixed to his face during introductions.
Then Jessie Vargas spoke, his opponent in the welterweight fight at the Barclays Center on Saturday night. And Broner's outlook changed.
''This is a very important fight for my career,'' Broner said ahead of the bout on Showtime. ''I know that Jessie trained hard to beat me. This is a win that could take either of us to the next level.''
A champion in four divisions, Broner (33-3-0, 24 knockouts) is coming off a loss to Mikey Garcia in July. Broner is at a crossroads in his career, according to Stephen Espinoza, the president of sports and event programming for Showtime.
''He's been one of the most well-known fighters in the sport,'' Espinoza said. ''But he's got to keep winning to be at that top level. And so he is at a critical juncture. He can't really afford another loss and stay in that top tier of elite fighters. So this is a very important fight for him at this stage of his career.''
The public critiques of his standing in the sport cause Broner to bristle.
''I'm still one of the best fighters of this era,'' Broner said. ''When I'm done with my career, I will be one of the best to every lace up a pair of boxing gloves. I just can't wait to give everyone something to remember on Saturday.
''When (Vargas) stepped up (in weight class) and fought Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao, he lost. I'm a four-time world champion, so I don't want to hear anything about my losses. Jessie Vargas is not as good as those guys I lost to.''
Vargas (28-2-0, 10 KOs) is a two-division champion, coming off a 10-round unanimous decision over Aaron Herrera on Dec. 15.