Adrien Broner calls himself The Problem. He had one Thursday. He couldn’t remember his opponent’s name. Or, at least, he chose not to, perhaps because confidence has never been a Broner problem.
“Gavin, Davin,’’ said Broner, who during an international conference call also called his newest challenger Ted. “I really don’t know his name.’’
Might not have to either.
For the record, Broner faces a Welshman named Gavin Rees on Feb 16 in an HBO-televised bout from Atlantic City, N.J. In a fight for Broner’s 135-pound title, Rees might prove to be just another marker on what many believe is a fast track to stardom for the fast-talking lightweight from Cincinnati.
Broner has no doubts about that. No surprise there. Call Broner whatever you like. If it’s cocky, you’ll never be wrong. During Thursday’s call, there was a question from the UK about whether that confidence was arrogance.
“No, it’s not,’’ Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) said. “It’s just the truth. I want to be known as the best guy who has ever laced up a pair of boxing gloves.
“That’s my goal.’’
Broner said it as though that goal is just matter of time. Gavin, Davin, Ted, Manny, Moe & Jack are just guys in the way of what the 23-year-old foresees. With his mix of speed, power and elusiveness, he has been called the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. He and Mayweather are friendly. He’s been seen hanging with Mayweather in Las Vegas. There’s already talk about Broner fighting on the undercard of a Mayweather return projected for May 4, possibly against Robert Guerrero.
“Anything is possible,’’ said Broner, who hold the World Boxing Council’s version of the lightweight championship. “I don’t get hit that much. My fights don’t last that long.’’
Yeah, he said, there’s a “great possibility” he will fight on a card featuring Mayweather’s first bout since his release from jail.
The assumption is that Rees won’t leave Broner with a painful reminder of who he is. Rees, whose brief reign as a junior-welterweight titlist ended in 2008 with a loss to Andreas Kotelnik, promised an upset. Who in a conference call doesn’t? But Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs) did so with a flourish
“After I knock him out, I’ll brush his hair for him,’’ Rees said in a mocking reference to the hair brush that has become a theatrical prop for Broner, who climbs into the ring as though it were a stage.
Much of what Broner does is playful. He enjoys the spotlight. He reminds reporters that they have his phone number. He’s having fun, yet there’s an understanding that he’s just one big punch away from being turned into a fool. Not knowing your opponent, he concedes, might not be wise.
“The fact that I don’t know him makes even more dangerous,’’ he said.
Nevertheless, Broner has yet to see danger he can’t conquer and won’t court.
“I don’t need to get acquainted with anything he brings,” Broner said of Gavin or Davin. “Whatever he brings I’m going to be ready for. Like I said before, I don’t watch tape on fighters. I don’t study their best moves. I don’t study their best punch. At the end of the day, if you’ve got your best move or your best punch, all of it means nothing if you can’t land a shot.’’
Phoenix super-bantamweight Emilio Colon-Garcia is scheduled to begin the New Year with his first bout since a victory last May on Jan. 18 on a Michelle Rosado-promoted card at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa. The card represents a return of boxing to the Phoenix suburb, once home for late junior-welterweight Scott Walker, best known for an upset that ended Alexis Arguello’s comeback. The eight-fight card is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.