On the lavish 12th-floor balcony of the NYC Downtown Dream Hotel, clad from head-to-toe in a bright red track suit and equipped with a fluorescent smile that seems to indicate he knows something you don't, Adrien Broner sits comfortably in the moments leading up to the official press conference for his bout Saturday night in Brooklyn against Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs).
At one point a few weeks back, the odds for this fight were set at 5-1 in favor of Garcia. When Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, informed Broner of those odds, his response was simple: "What the f---?" While he was shocked, the feeling of being an underdog was not one Broner was unfamiliar with. "Coming from where I come from," he explained. "I'm used to being the underdog."
Even as the fight approaches and the odds level out, the feeling of being underestimated still lingers in Broner's camp. "Since he was a 55-pound fighter at seven years old and walked into my gym," said Mike Safford, Broner's longtime trainer, "he was an underdog...He'll always be an underdog."
A four-division world champion with a 33-2 record (24 knockouts), Broner's talent and ability have never been in question. It's his consistency that leaves people wondering. Failing to make weight in the past and stumbling into trouble out of the ring time and time again, Broner has been his own worst enemy on his way to moving up the ladder in the boxing world.
Frequent comparisons have been made between him and the reigning boxing top dog, Floyd Mayweather. Both undeniable talents, each with a penchant for trash talk and troublemaking, flare and flamboyance. The comparisons between the two are certainly understandable.
But while Mayweather prepares to ride off into the sunset with his perfect record likely intact, Broner is preparing for a fight against the undefeated Garcia that will most likely define the future of his career.
A win against Garcia could open the door for more megafights and earn him a seat at the table with other big name boxers. A loss would almost certainly lock him in as a big-name fighter who maybe fell short of his potential.
His 28th birthday is Friday, just a day before the fight with Garcia. Broner has a chance to prove himself, and show the world that he's matured and is ready to take his career to the next level with a win.
Broner is confident in his chances, and anticipates a major boom in numbers for his fan base following a win this weekend. "Saturday night," Broner predicted. "There'll be a lot more room on the bandwagon for anyone who wants to jump on."
He even threw down the gauntlet for media members, complaining that writers have sullied his name with slanderous stories of his personal struggles and legal troubles. He established an ultimatum that, if he wins Saturday, boxing writers "better write some good s---" for a change.
One thing is certain: If Broner can pull off a win Saturday against Garcia, the boxing world, writers included, will have no choice but to give him his due.