In December of 2012 The Ring magazine listed Broner as the No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He went on to become champion in four different weight divisions. There was a consensus among experts and fans that he could be the one to fill Floyd Mayweather’s shoes as the new face of boxing.
Since his first professional loss to Marcos Maidana in 2013, Broner’s career has been a roller coaster. A budding rap career, trouble with the law, and a fracturing relationship with his mentor Mayweather all seemed to be interfering with the career of a potential superstar.
On April 21, Broner will challenge former welterweight champion Jessie Vargas at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They will meet at a catch weight of 144 pounds. It will be his first fight under his new trainer Kevin Cunningham.
Longtime trainer Mike Stafford will remain an assistant, but Broner insists he needed a change.
“I hear people say, ‘You are expected to change but you don’t, that’s why you end up in the same spots over and over’. So, I have to change something to get a different result. That’s why I had to step outside of the box and go for it,” said Broner. “I’ve known Coach Cunningham for a long time. He is the real deal. He is not going to B.S. me. He’s going to keep me on my toes. I need that.”
Broner is convinced this change will bring out the best in him. This fight is likely his last shot at becoming a world champion again. Sure, Broner can still make money and draw big names for opponents, but if he cannot beat Vargas, there is little hope for him to contend with the best in the world at 140.
However, an impressive performance, or a knockout on Saturday could catapult him right back into the mix.
“I started my career young. I won titles in four weight classes. I’ve accomplished a lot and there’s still more to come. I got a lot of fighting left to do,” said Broner.
This fight is flying slightly under the radar, which could be exactly what Broner needs to rebound. Saturday we find out if “The Problem” is back.
Header photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime