WASHINGTON -- Humility and Adrien Broner are not words that usually go together. But, at least by Broner's often outrageous ways, he has shown a modicum of humility in the wake of his upset loss to Marcos Maidana in December.
"Losing that fight was definitely the best thing to ever happen to my career. Just think -- if Adrien Broner didn't lose that fight, if you think I'm a jackass now, what would I have been then? Who knows," said Broner, sporting a full beard, diamond earrings and teeth encrusted in diamonds too.
Slightly more humble perhaps, but as he says, he's still fresh, fly and flashy. But he still must put the humiliating loss to Maidana behind him and get the public to also.
He was a huge favorite when they met at the Alamodome in San Antonio, an unbeaten welterweight titleholder who had claimed world titles in three weight classes by age 23. Broner was supposed to be the next big thing in boxing. He thought it, told anyone who would listen, and many agreed.
But Maidana would not be denied and took it to Broner from the opening bell. He dropped Broner twice, roughed him up nonstop in an action-packed fight and won a well-deserved unanimous decision.
While Maidana parlayed the victory into a big-money title unification showdown with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Broner wound up on the undercard.
"This fight is huge for me," Broner said. "Everyone wants to see what Adrien Broner is going to do next after this devastating loss I took in the early part of my career. I know why everyone has their eyes glued to me."
Broner is dropping down to junior welterweight -- which he initially skipped over after winning titles at junior lightweight and lightweight before going to welterweight to win another -- and will face Carlos Molina in a scheduled 10-rounder that is supposed to serve as a rehabilitation fight.
Although Broner has been headlining cards, he said he's happy to fight on Mayweather's undercard, because Mayweather is his friend and mentor. Broner shows his affection for Mayweather by referring to him as his "big brother."
"If I got a chance to fight on the biggest stage in boxing of this era, why not? Why not get the exposure," Broner said. "Why not take his fans, because after Floyd Mayweather, somebody got to take over? I'm very excited.
"Why not fight on his undercard? I'm helping him and he's helping me. It's a lovely thing. Who would have ever thought we'd be fighting on the same card?"
Although Broner (27-1, 22 KOs), 24, of Cincinnati, is again a heavy favorite, he made a big change in training for this fight -- besides just growing his beard. He returned to Washington to train, just as he did earlier in his career.
He and trainer Mike Stafford worked at Washington trainer Barry Hunter's gym and got plenty of good sparring at a gym loaded with talent, including junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and his brother, Anthony Peterson.
"This is where I made my big turn as a professional so we came back just to get comfortable, doing the things that I was doing in the past," Broner said. "You can sometimes get the big head and overlook things. So now we're back.
"Taking a loss like that like that and being from where I'm from, you got a lot of guys who try to leach off you. After I lost I didn't get as many calls as I used to. There wasn't a lot of people around me like there usually be. And now I'm only riding a few deep."
Said Stafford, "Behind good losses always come a good win and Saturday night Adrien's going get an excellent win. Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, even Bernard Hopkins -- all these guys took losses but they came back and were victorious. We just have to get back to a world championship shot again."
That's the plan. Broner said he wants to go after a world title at junior welterweight to give him a fourth belt at such a young age.
"I wasn't going to say this but since I'm ambushed and crowded by some great-looking reporters I will let you know that I will be trying to make history," Broner said. "Four-time world champion in four different weight classes at 24. I'm trying to do that.
"I can go to any weight class now and fight for a world title. It's tougher for other boxers to do that but I have the ability to do that and I know I will be fighting for the world title at 140 real soon."
The champion is Danny Garcia, Broner's pal. They share the same promoter (Golden Boy) and the same adviser (Al Haymon). A fight between them isn't out of the question, but more likely Garcia will defend his title once more and then move up to welterweight, opening a path for Broner to fight a belt.
"I love Danny Garcia. Hopefully, Danny Garcia keeps winning," Broner said. "I want him to keep winning. We're on the same team and if we fight later down the line so be it. Right now we're on the same team and we're OK."
Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs), 28, of Norwalk, Calif., does not figure to give Broner too many problems. He was picked for a reason.
He is a smaller man, doesn't pack a big punch and has not fought since December 2012, which was the only time he faced a notable opponent. It was former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan (who fights Luis Collazo in Saturday's co-feature), who knocked him out in the 10th round.
Broner, however, swears he is taking the fight seriously.
"He gonna come to fight," Broner said. "He is coming to be the second person to beat Adrien Broner and that's always going to go into history because I will be going into history when I'm done with boxing. He's gonna be there all night. It's gonna be a helluva fight."
Eventually, Broner wants a rematch with Maidana.
Broner had a rematch clause in his contract and exercised the option. However, he ultimately allowed Maidana to fight Mayweather instead. Broner wouldn't say is he was paid to step aside, but given that Haymon works with Mayweather, Maidana and Broner, some sort of arrangement likely was worked out.
"Honestly, if I was able to fight Maidana on Sunday [the day after the loss], I would have fought him on Sunday," Broner said. "I went to the ER after the fight and I was shadow boxing and ready to go again. I'm a fighter. Boxing is boxing and business is business. I opened another fight for my 'big brother' and I'm happy for him and I'm happy for Maidana. I gave them a chance to make that fight happen.
"If somebody don't take too much punishment we can fight in July. I'm going right back to camp [after Saturday]. No partying, no breaks for me." And perhaps, he'll still have his element of humility.
"I thank the Lord for giving me that wake-up call [against Maidana]," Broner said, "and letting me know -- 'I gave it to you and I can take it away.'"