ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Adrien Broner said before Saturday's fight that fans wouldn't just be watching a boxing show. No, he said, they would be watching the Adrien Broner Show.
And did Broner put one on or what?
Broner, with his Floyd Mayweather-like style, broke down Antonio DeMarco in dominant fashion and stopped him in the eighth round to win a lightweight world title before 4,256 on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall.
For all of the flash and brashness that Broner displays, it wouldn't mean anything if he couldn't fight. But, boy, can he fight.
"I was shakin' and bakin' him until I flipped him up," Broner said during his postfight interview, when, of course, he had his father brush his hair. "I knew coming into this fight it was going to be a world-class fight, but I knew he didn't have the skills to beat me."
Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) took on DeMarco (28-3-1, 21 KOs), widely regarded as the best 135-pounder in the world, and destroyed him to win, at age 23, a world title in his second weight class.
It was a stellar performance from the man who calls himself "The Problem." If Broner keeps fighting like this, he is going to be a problem for years to come.
"I think he can be the next Floyd," said Gary Shaw, DeMarco's promoter, who has been around boxing since the 1970s. "He's fast, he has the moves, he has great defense. Obviously, he has punching power. He hurt DeMarco a few times, cut him up. I think Broner is the total package.
"Very few guys could stand up to a guy like that for eight rounds. Broner is special."
DeMarco, 26, of Mexico, was making his third title defense, but none of the opponents he had faced had the combination of power, speed and defense that Broner possesses.
DeMarco had claimed a vacant belt in a memorable comeback victory against Jorge Linares 13 months ago by stopping him in the 11th round. But DeMarco had lost virtually the entire fight to that point before the miracle rally. And his two previous defenses came against lower-than-top-level opponents, including John Molina Jr., whom DeMarco stopped in 44 seconds on Sept. 8 to set up the fight with Broner.
But many believed DeMarco would give Broner, who was moving up to lightweight, some trouble. He's a tall southpaw with a good chin and a never-say-die attitude. But Broner established himself quickly, and DeMarco was never really in the fight. He won the first round on all three judges' scorecards, but he was shut out thereafter.
By the end of the first round, the right side of DeMarco's face was marked up from eating a steady diet of Broner left hands.
One of Broner's best weapons in the fight was a right uppercut, with which he abused DeMarco in the fourth round. DeMarco continually leaned over, and Broner let the punch rip over and over. He also snapped DeMarco's head back with clean left hands.
For whatever reason, DeMarco stood right in front of Broner, who took every opening available.
Broner had a huge fifth round -- so big that it could have been scored 10-8 even though there was no knockdown. He snapped DeMarco's head back with a right hand, then did it with a jab.
Broner was busting up DeMarco's face with all the clean shots. In the fifth round, Broner landed an astonishing 52 of his 78 power shots, according to CompuBox statistics, leaving DeMarco looking discouraged as he went back to his corner after the round ended.
It was simply a matter of time until Broner was going to knock him out, which he did in the eighth round. He ripped DeMarco with a sustained combination and then floored him with a left uppercut. As referee Benjy Esteves counted, DeMarco's corner threw in the towel and Esteves called off the fight at 1 minute, 49 seconds.
"I don't try to knock out people," Broner said. "But I know I have the ability to press him and get the cheese."
Broner closed the show in tremendous fashion, landing 38 of 50 punches in the eighth round.
For the fight, Broner landed an absurd 241 of 451 punches (53 percent) while DeMarco was limited to landing just 93 of 351 blows (26 percent).
"His shoulder roll and the defense he has were hard to penetrate," DeMarco said through a translator. "I fought my heart out and I will be back."
Broner, of Cincinnati, earned by far his most significant win and has a chance to someday be a major star in boxing. He had already won a vacant title at junior lightweight -- the same division that Mayweather won his first belt in -- last November with a third-round knockout of Vicente Martin Rodriguez. But Rodriguez was an obscure fighter with no notable wins.
Broner also stopped Eloy Perez in four rounds in a defense, but before a July defense against Vicente Escobedo, Broner failed to make weight and was stripped of his title -- though he still crushed Escobedo the next night in a nontitle fight.
DeMarco is better than those guys, though, and Broner made beating him look just as easy as those other wins.
"He was definitely the toughest opponent I have faced," Broner said. "He was strong and could take a punch, but I'll fight anybody. I'll be running this city and sport for a long time to come."
He certainly has potential to someday rule the pound-for-pound list. This win was a building block to that end.
"That was a breakout performance for Adrien," said HBO Sports senior vice president Kery Davis, who has been Broner's biggest supporter at the network that has been televising his fights. "Going into the fight, I thought he would struggle with a bigger guy. Instead, he put on a virtuoso performance."
Broner clearly was satisfied with his performance afterward as he strutted around the ring with his new belt wrapped around his body.
"I wanted to make a statement tonight," he said. "And I did."