Adrien Broner has won world titles in four weight classes from junior lightweight to welterweight, but his three defeats, all by decision, each came when he stepped up to face the best opponents of his career: Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter and Marcos Maidana.
But with an upset victory against legendary eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao on Jan. 19 (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Broner believes he can change the perception that many have of him as an underachiever.
"This is my first pay-per-view but I was always supposed to be here. God doesn't make mistakes. After this victory, I will be taking over the sport of boxing," Broner said Wednesday at his media day at Ten Goose Boxing Gym in Van Nuys, California, where he and trainer Kevin Cunningham traveled to from their camp in West Palm Beach, Florida. "This is just the beginning."
Broner is 0-1-1 in his last two fights, with a clear loss to Garcia in July 2017 followed by a draw with fellow former junior welterweight and welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas in April. Despite falling short of victory in his biggest fights, Broner has remained a draw at the box office and he has delivered Showtime's best viewership in recent years -- other than heavyweight world titlist Deontay Wilder -- so he is getting a shot to challenge Pacquiao for his secondary welterweight world title. But Broner said there is even more at stake in this fight than claiming that belt.
"This win makes me an icon," Broner said. "It makes me what I always wanted to be, and what everybody always thought I would be. A win here and I'm a legend overnight."
Cunningham has known Broner for many years, though this is just their second fight together. But he said Broner has done everything he has asked of him in training camp.
"I've never seen Adrien this focused and I've been around him for years," Cunningham said. "He came to camp with a look on his face like this is the one he's got to have. He prepared for nine hard weeks and we didn't miss a beat. Everything was on point. He's ready. He's focused. We had tremendous sparring. Everything went great. We didn't have any hiccups, any injuries or setbacks. He's ready to go and he's going to look spectacular on Jan. 19.
"There's a big difference in Adrien from the last camp. He didn't take Jessie Vargas as seriously as he's taking this legendary eight-time world champion in Manny Pacquiao. There were some things that went on that showed he wasn't as focused as he is for a fight like this. He's not screwing around. He's not looking for days off to go have a good time. He's just locked in on Manny Pacquiao."
Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), 29, of Cincinnati, said he grew watching the 40-year-old Filipino legend Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) fight and always wanted to face him.
"I'm a competitor. One day I want to be the best, and to be the best you have to beat the best. It starts here," he said. "The sky is the limit for me, but in boxing you have to take it one fight at a time. You can't overlook anybody in this sport. My main focus is Manny Pacquiao and I will be ready. A win would mean a lot. It turns a new page in my book.
"It's another beginning. I'm already a star in boxing, but a win here and I'm taking over the sport. This is just the beginning."
Pacquiao won the secondary 147-pound belt by dominant seventh-round knockout of slugger Lucas Matthysse in July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and sent him into retirement.
The knockout was Pacquiao's first in nine years and 14 fights since he won his first welterweight belt by stopping Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in 2009.
During the lead-up to the fight with Broner, Pacquiao has talked about how much he enjoyed getting a knockout after such a long drought and that he is aiming for another one against Broner. Broner shrugged it off.
"His last fight he did stop Matthysse, so I'm pretty sure he still has power, but I'm going to be ready, I'm going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table," Broner said. "We're in shape to get it done, I can tell you that.
"It's going to be a hell of a fight. I just can't wait till Round 1. Everybody I fight says they are going to knock me out. That should be the objective of every fighter, but that's not going to happen. It's not a mystery -- he's been knocked out before. Not once, not twice, but three times. And he's been put down a lot, too. There are many blueprints to beat Manny. I think I have all the tools to beat him. I will show all the tools in my arsenal and show all the weaknesses in his."