Brooklyn Boro

Broner in rare form prior to Barclays boxing bout

4-time champ goes on baffling profane rant at pre-fight press conference

April 19, 2018 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Adrien Broner went from playful to angry to offensive to realistic during his press conference rant ahead of Saturday night’s headline bout against Jessie Vargas at Downtown’s Barclays Center. Photo courtesy of Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
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Adrien Broner spent most of the early stages of Thursday afternoon’s Barclays Center press conference to promote Saturday night’s bout against Jessie Vargas bopping his head to the music blaring on his headphones.

He should have kept them on.

Known as “The Problem” during his mercurial career, one that has seen both its apex and nadir here on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, Broner became a major one for the fight’s promoters, his opponent and everyone watching what ultimately escalated into a shocking rant once he took center stage.

After placing his headphones on the microphone in front of him to reveal his tune of choice, Vanessa Carlton’s 2001 piano-driven pop hit, “A Thousand Miles”, Broner went on to utter a thousand mostly unprintable words, aiming them at the host of the press conference, the fight’s promoters and, of course, Vargas.

“This is a fake-ass press conference, this s—t is garbage,” Broner bellowed. “I’m just ready to fight.”

Broner liberally tossed around the B-word and N-word, called Vargas a “Puto,” a Spanish homophobic slur, claimed that everyone in the room was against him and that he would emerge victorious despite the wishes of his conspirators.

“Shut that s—t up, bitch-ass n—a!” the former four-division champion yelled while Vargas was trying to explain how he would win the fight. “I’m gonna be victorious, they all against me. They don’t want me to be in Rolex’s and private jets. They don’t want to see me at the top of my pinnacle.

“Soon to be five-time world champion,” he added. “In 2018 I’m taking over. I’m about billions.”

This bizarre behavior didn’t come as any great surprise to those who have followed Broner throughout his 37 previous professional bouts.

Broner’s first fight at Barclays, a unanimous decision victory over Brooklyn’s-own Paulie Malignaggi back in June of 2013, also featured plenty of harsh words and feelings.

Broner made headlines by sending a barrage of not-so-playful jabs at the Bensonhurst native regarding a shared love interest in the days leading up to that fight before taking Malignaggi’s WBA welterweight title.

Malignaggi held his own against the then-unbeaten Broner, narrowly losing his crown via a controversial split decision that raged on into the post-fight press conference, which nearly erupted into a brawl.

“First, I took his girl, then I took his title,” Broner boasted in the ring that night.

That low blow proved to be the high point of Broner’s career as he has since lost three of his last nine fights, including last July’s humbling unanimous decision defeat to Mikey Garcia here on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Broner didn’t have much to crow about following the loss, which snapped a three-fight win streak following his defeat to Shawn Porter in Las Vegas back in 2015. He spent most of the night chasing, but never quite catching up with, the still-undefeated Garcia.

“It was a good fight at the end of the day, I come to fight I come to win and I put my heart on the line,” Broner said. 

“But it was Tom and Jerry; I had to catch the mouse.”

Heralded as the potential second coming of mentor Floyd Mayweather before suffering his first career loss to Marcos Maidana following the Malignaggi fight, Broner instead has lost most of the shine off his once-bright star.

He has also had some well-publicized issues outside the ring, including a pair of misdemeanor battery assault charges.

Broner’s continued disrespect for opponents and even those paying him millions to fight can’t be helpful as he tries to regain his status as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound pugilists.

“I’ve seen a few mistakes that he’s made. I see that he’s beatable,” said a confident Vargas, who enters Saturday’s headliner, which has been set at a 144-pound catch weight, with a 28-2 mark, including 10 knockouts.

“I’m very versatile and we are going to switch up styles when we need to,” added Vargas, two days ahead of his Barclays debut. “There’s a reason we are both former world champions, but at the end of the day, only one of us can be the winner.”

Broner (33-3, 24 KOs) did settle down a bit in the middle of his otherwise incoherent, vitriolic diatribe, revealing what he is confronting in the ring Saturday night.

“Honestly, this is a very important fight for my career, on a serious level,” the 28-year-old Ohio native deadpanned.

“It’s like a parlay. We ready to fight right now. I know I’m going to win.”

Whether he was simply hyping the fight Thursday morning, or hyping himself up for it, Broner knows that a loss to Vargas before what should be an enthusiastic crowd at Barclays and an even bigger one watching on SHOWTIME, will likely spell the end of his big-money days in the squared circle.

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Also fighting on Saturday’s undercard are unbeaten Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) and Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) for the interim WBC Middleweight title. Charlo is no stranger to Downtown Brooklyn, having won each of his previous two bouts here via knockout in 2017 against Charles Hatley and Erickson Lubin.

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