Adrien Broner is fast. He's flashy. He raps. He likes to talk a lot and, of course, he loves to have his hair brushed after his victories. But he can also fight, and now that he's ready to get back in the ring, you know what that means, right?
Let's hear from the fighter known as "The Problem."
"We are going head over heels, balls to the walls with this one," Broner said. "Let's go. Rock and roll. It is time to put on a show. You aren't just coming to see a boxing show, you're coming to the Adrien Broner Show. It is going to be fun. It is going to be entertaining. There are going to be a lot of smiles. Some might cry. But at the end, they will laugh about it. I want everybody to come out, have a good time. Saturday is going to be a nice night for everybody, family and all."
Presumably, Broner, who is moving up to lightweight, intends for everyone but his opponent to have a nice night. That would be lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco of Mexico, whom he will challenge Saturday night (HBO, 10 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
"I'm not coming just to win this fight, I'm coming to knock DeMarco out," Broner said. "This fight is speed versus power and it's going to be just another day in the ring for me. Going up in weight is going to be different and I know he can hit, but you can't hit what you can't see and I'm too fast and furious for him. Power is nothing if you can't connect."
In the co-feature, 30-year-old heavyweight hopefuls Seth Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs), a former Michigan State linebacker from Brandywine, Md., and Johnathon Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs), a Detroit product and protégé of the late Emanuel Steward, square off in a scheduled 12-rounder.
Broner, a 23-year-old former junior lightweight titlist from Cincinnati, is one of boxing's fastest-rising stars. Because of his brash personality, slickness, defensive prowess and the weight class he is in at this stage of his career, he is often compared to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
So it isn't surprising to hear Broner say he believes that someday he'll surpass the accomplishments of Mayweather, a five-division champion who generates gargantuan pay-per-view receipts.
"Of course I will," said Broner, who knows Mayweather, shares a manager with him (Al Haymon) and refers to Mayweather as a big brother. "That is what I am pushing forward to, and I know the work I have to put in. Those are big shoes to fill. You know I only wear a 6½, so it is going to be tough.
"A lot of people, they say me and Floyd have a lot of similarities. At the end of the day, you can watch tape and I do things a lot different than him. Our defenses are similar. When it comes to a fighting style and the way I fight, it is totally different."
Broner has a long way to go to come close to what Mayweather has done, but he's off to a good start.
"Adrien Broner is only getting better as his career goes on," said Golden Boy's Oscar De La Hoya, whose company promotes Broner. "He is one of the hardest-working fighters in the sport today."
Broner won a vacant junior lightweight world title -- the same division that Mayweather won his first belt in -- last November with a brutal third-round knockout of Vicente Martin Rodriguez. One big difference, though: Rodriguez was an unknown with no résumé to speak of. Mayweather stopped the longtime defending champion, the late Genaro Hernandez, who was widely recognized as the best in their division.
In February, Broner made a similarly dominant title defense against Eloy Perez, blasting him in four rounds. However, Broner (24-0, 20 KOs) was stripped of his title in July, before his second defense, for failing to make weight against Vicente Escobedo, whom he nonetheless smashed in five one-sided rounds of what became a nontitle bout.
Unable, or unwilling, to continue making 130 pounds, Broner is moving up in weight and getting the opportunity to challenge for a title in his first fight at 135 pounds against DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KOs), whom many regard as the No. 1 fighter in the weight class. When Mayweather moved up in weight, he challenged Jose Luis Castillo, then the No. 1 man in the division, for the same belt.
"I am trying to be better than anybody who ever laced up a pair of boxing gloves, and I think that pretty much sums up everything," Broner said.
"DeMarco is a great champion. He is a world-class fighter. He has the talent to bring something out of Adrien Broner that the world hasn't seen yet. Once that bell rings, I make my adjustments, and usually with a couple of adjustments the fight is over."
DeMarco, 26, has wanted to face Broner, but had to make sure that he came through safely in his Sept. 8 defense against John Molina on the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson undercard. That turned out to be no issue at all. DeMarco needed all of 44 seconds to put Molina away, walking out of the ring unscathed and able to come back quickly to defend against Broner.
"I know it's a difficult fight for both of us," DeMarco said through a translator. "Because of his talent and my heart and hunger, it's going to be a great fight for the fans. Broner is very elusive and he's an intelligent fighter, but we came prepared for that and more. I am very well prepared because I know Adrien is an extreme talent and a great fighter."
DeMarco, a southpaw who will enjoy a three-inch height advantage, is a very respectful, humble fighter. The next time you hear him brag or downplay an opponent will be the first time. But he did have one amusing line about Broner.
"I'm well prepared and my mind is on winning, and I have 'The Solution' for 'The Problem,'" he said.
Since being stopped in the ninth round of a world title fight by the late Edwin Valero in February 2010, DeMarco has won five in a row and claimed a vacant belt. That feat came in a memorable comeback victory against Jorge Linares 13 months ago, when a badly bleeding Linares was winning easily before DeMarco stopped him in the 11th round.
Beating Linares and Molina are good victories, but they would pale in comparison if DeMarco were able to stop the Broner Express. A victory would also open doors to bigger fights.
"Boxing is a very competitive sport, and whoever wins this fight will have many opportunities to further his career," DeMarco said. "I want those opportunities. I want what every boxer wants: recognition and success."
Although Broner has the wins against Perez and Escobedo, and a controversial decision victory against Daniel Ponce De Leon in a March 2011 nontitle fight, a win against DeMarco would be the biggest of his career, hands down.
"DeMarco is definitely my best opponent so far, on paper," Broner said. "It is the biggest fight of my career thus far. I am not looking past anyone.
"I am ready to show my talent. I think this is a fight that I will be able to show a lot more of my skills. In my last fights, even though some of my opponents were ranked, after fighting me, they got downgraded because of my high skill level."
It is a skill level reminiscent of Mayweather's, as is Broner's personality.
"Once someone sees me on TV, they always think that 'He is just a cocky brat,' but I am not," Broner said. "Once you get to sit down with Adrien Broner, you will fall in love with me. I don't want the world to dislike me in any way. I just want you to accept me.
"I am mentally strong and physically strong. I am just a special guy and I understand that you have people that know they have the talent, but sometimes they get scared when success is in their face. I am ready to go to the next level."