We are less than a month away from the return of Adrien Broner. So, as we count down to the night of August 20, let us be honest with each other, there will be “The Problem.” In the form of, history tells us, Adrien Broner not letting his hands go very much, and having a harder time with an athlete not as skilled as he.
Hey, maybe past performance will not provide the instruction to what we will see when Broner and Omar Figueroa clash in Florida, in a battle put together by Premier Boxing Champions to screen on Showtime.
AB has been saying the right thing, at times anyway, because he knows the drill. He understands that he cannot spread the word that he fights in the manner he intends to, because he is about safety first, he doesn't want to absorb punishment.
So, when AB says, “I’m real excited to be back in the ring. It’s been a long camp and I’m ready to fight. It feels great to be back. I’ve been training so hard and somebody’s got to pay for it,” you should steel yourself for the possibility that in fact Figueroa is not going to “pay for it.” We can hope, of course, that perhaps at almost 33 years old Broner has slipped enough so that naked aggression will present more of a problem for him than it usually has in the past, and that results in our feeling a sense of expectations met after watching Broner go rounds. But at some point, choosing optimism over a stack of evidence isn't an exercise in faith, it's a signal of stupidity.
Here are quotes from AB, Omar, and company:
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – July 21, 2022 – Four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner and Omar “Panterita” Figueroa previewed their super lightweight showdown during virtual media events this week before they headline live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in a Premier Boxing Champions event. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature top 140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov squaring off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event. Plus, WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez defends his title against unbeaten Hector Garcia in the telecast opener.
Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Also featured were Broner’s longtime trainer Mike Stafford, and Figueroa’s father and trainer Omar Figueroa Sr. Here is what they had to say this week:
“Keep training your ass off Omar, I’m training my ass off too, and we’ll give everyone a great performance on August 20.
“I’m real excited to be back in the ring. It’s been a long camp and I’m ready to fight. It feels great to be back. I’ve been training so hard and somebody’s got to pay for it.
“The goal right now is to beat Omar Figueroa Jr. Then I’m going to the drawing board from there. There are a lot of big fights that I can make. First I have to be successful on August 20.
“You can’t look past a guy like Figueroa. He’s always been a tough competitor and he’s a world champion. We’re definitely not looking past him. At this point I’m just taking care of whatever is in front of me.
“Nothing in boxing is easy. Mentally it’s always tough but I’m getting through it every day and working my ass off.
“I’m going to go in there and do what I have to do to get the victory. If I have to bang or snipe, I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m ready for the best Omar Figueroa Jr.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen until that first bell rings. I’m just going to keep preparing to the best of our ability.
“I’m a four-division world champion, so the expectations for myself are always high. I know that when I go into the ring, people expect great things out of me. I’m used to it and just focused on getting the victory.”
OMAR FIGUEROA JR.
On Adrien Broner saying that he’s going for the stoppage…
“If he’s going for the stoppage, then I’ll meet him in the middle of the ring. That’s it. We’ll see.
“I’m excited that this fight is finally happening. I’ve been looking forward to the challenge. I know that Broner has a lot left in the tank and I know that he’s a world caliber fighter regardless of whatever is going on outside of boxing for him. We’re preparing like never before.
“Now that I have my mental health under control as well as feeling great physically, I feel like it’s given me new life. We’ll just have to wait and see how I look and feel in this fight and then we’ll go from there.
“Before I got my mental health under control, I was fueled by hatred and anger and all the negative stuff. Now I’m really soaking it in, making time for my family, being there for my dad. I’m being appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that I have to do this again with my family and do it at the level I’m doing it.
“We’re getting ready for the best Adrien Broner. Whether that’s one that throws 10 punches a round or 50 punches a round, we’re focused on our craft and what we have to do to win the fight. That’s all we have in mind right now.
“It’s never been me against the world. It’s been me against myself. Now I’ve realized that. After being diagnosed with the slew of mental health issues that I had, I realize that the battle really has been with myself. I’ve made my career so much harder than it had to be because of everything that I had going on outside of boxing. Now that I’ve gotten that cleared out of the way, I’m able to focus on what I have to do to be the best version of myself in the ring.
“I have to credit Simone Biles for helping me get the ball rolling on getting my mental health under control. For her to pull out of the Olympics when she did and for the reason she did – I feel like that started the snowball effect for me. I realized that if she had the guts to take care of herself and pull out of the world’s biggest competition when all eyes were on her essentially, then me, who has been getting punched in the face for the last 20 years, I had to start taking care of myself too. I’m so glad that I did. It’s been life changing.
“I’ve been working my ass off both internally and externally to be the best version of myself. We’re hoping to provide that on August 20. I’m going in there and I want to feel that fire again. It’s exciting and I can’t wait to go out there and put it out.”
MIKE STAFFORD, Broner’s Trainer
“It’s been a long camp and at this point, we’ll definitely be ready for this fight on August 20.
“It’s never a crossroads fight for Adrien. He can always fight anywhere in the country, any time he wants to, because he has the attitude that he’s going to win. We’re looking at it like we’re going to take over boxing again,
“A lot of people wanted him to lose, because they don’t see the skillset and the punches that he throws that truly count. He actually dropped Jovanie Santiago, but didn’t get a 10-8 round for it. A lot of people talk about Adrien, but they’re not in the ring taking shots from him and seeing the skills Adrien has.
“Adrien just wants to get back in the ring and prove that he’s the top dog again. He’s training his ass off to prove to the world that he’s coming.
“Most of Adrien’s stoppages came below welterweight. When he was at 147, he would never even weigh in at that limit. I think this is definitely his comfortable weight.
“People think Adrien is a regular fighter, but he’s beyond regular. He’s opened up the door for a lot of fighters. But he needs one or two more belts before we ride off into the sunset.”
OMAR FIGUEROA SR., Figueroa’s Father and Trainer
“We’re going back to basics. It’s kind of like starting over and getting into his memory and the things we were doing before when he was doing great. We’re trying to get him in top shape. A lot of respect to Adrien Broner. I think both guys are going to go in there and put up a big fight. It’s going to be exciting. They are equally matched.
“I think Omar is going to be a much different fighter on August 20. We’re just hoping that both fighters come in great shape and put on a good show for the fans. I’m wishing the best for both fighters.
“I can guarantee the fans will see a tough Mexican fighter. Omar has a great offensive skillset. He throws a lot of punches. Adrien likes to fight these kinds of boxers. It’s guaranteed to be a great fight and the fans will enjoy it.”