Adrien Broner's upcoming November 17 fight on HBO against Antonio DeMarco has been embraced by the boxing community -- fans and media alike -- as a very strong addition to the current schedule, and I've personally yet to see anyone object to the matchup at all.
But in an interview with RingTV.com, Broner says that he still expects that even a convincing win won't be good enough to convince his skeptics that he's more than just hype. It's actually the best Broner interview I've read to date, and I strongly suggest you read the whole thing. Broner discussing the fight is a lot more interesting than his usual attempts to be a cute quote machine.
There is this part, which is sure to stir the hornets nest:
"I mean, he's the world champion at 135, and he just came off of some great stoppages, and so whatever I go in there and do, of course I want them to give me what I deserve. But just being me, and, you know, I'm an African American. So, you know, they're going to always find something wrong, and they're going to always find something to say. So that's why I just do what I do, and I don't even worry about the critics, man."
Listen, I can't tell you whether he's right or not, whether he's just looking for a notable quotable or not, or whether he's speaking the full truth from his perspective. I'm not Adrien Broner, so I don't know that. But that's how he's viewing things, or at least what he's saying, and it's a statement that doesn't get made easily or often. We've heard Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins, two living legends, say similar things over the years. Both have become accepted as true greats, even with their "haters" still lurking to this day.
But more interesting to me is Adrien discussing this fight with DeMarco:
"You know, I don't look at tape and I don't watch these guys because everybody is pretty much going to fight the same fight every time. I think that he's going to try to come in and do some different things that he's always done along the way. But at the end of the day, once you get hit, the new things that you have been trying to do, if you can't get them off, you'll go back to what you know."
Broner (24-0, 20 KO) is giving some actual insight into his thought process here, which is refreshing. Some guys don't watch tape, and I always wonder why. Some fighters have their trainers just watch the tape and don't go over it with them until the trainer breaks it down later, and I always wonder why. It seems like an advantage just passed over in some ways, even though there's the argument that focusing too much on the tape can lead to a bad game plan, too.
But Broner's stance here is reasonable and logical, I think. And I think in one way, he's absolutely right: Most fighters will always go back to what they know and what they naturally do, no matter how hard they try to make adjustments, if they get in trouble in a fight.
We've seen that with Amir Khan. Amir Khan has great skills offensively. The best he's ever fought was in totally neutralizing Andriy Kotelnik back in 2009. The second-best he ever looked, in my view, was beating up Paulie Malignaggin in 2010. After that, we've seen Khan get himself into trouble in fights with Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson, and Danny Garcia. He's 1-2 in those fights, and came damn close to getting knocked out by Maidana, too.
Point is, Khan makes the same mistakes when he gets cracked, or when a fight gets really competitive. Kotelnik and Malignaggi were made for Khan to be able to do the things that can make him dominant in the ring, and didn't have the strengths to exploit his flaws.
So the question is, can DeMarco find and exploit the flaws in Broner, and vice versa? DeMarco might well have a different game plan than normal, but he and promoter Gary Shaw are both confident that DeMarco is one of the better finishers in the game right now. If he can hurt Broner, will he be able to take him apart with good, clean, accurate shots?
And if DeMarco is buzzed by Broner, who will have a speed and possibly a power advantage, will DeMarco open himself up and get reckless?
It's a great matchup. And I can tell you right now, as someone who has doubted Broner, if he wins this fight, he deserves all the credit for it, in my opinion. This is a legit matchup.
Broner knows that, too, and is showing respect for DeMarco's ability:
"I know that he's got the size, and it's obvious that he can punch. But what's power against something that you can't hit? Power means nothing if you're not landing."
For this fight, and in this interview, Broner doesn't sound "cocky" or "arrogant" or like he's putting on a show in text. He sounds like a confident young fighter who knows what's ahead of him. And I think that's a great change of pace.