Three-time world champion Adrien Broner acknowledges that there have been times during his career when his antics outside the ring have gained more attention than his accomplishments inside of it.
The Cincinnati native, who has won titles at 130, 135 and 147 pounds, hopes to keep to attention on his boxing ability when he faces John Molina Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on March 7. The 140-pound bout will air on NBC in the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series.
Broner’s antics, such as his crude comments about Jay Z and Rihanna last month, have made him the fighter that many boxing fans love to hate. But the 25-year-old father of six now wants to shed some of his negative baggage.
"I don't necessarily have to give them a different side because, at the end of the day, you're going to have people that like you and people that dislike you. But I do have to sharpen things up,” Broner said. “I can't come off as brash and disrespectful. Because, when I was younger, it was just like middle fingers to everybody and 'This is the way I'm gonna do it,' and, 'Eff you all, y'all are against me.’
"But I didn't have to come off that way. So, right now, I have a chance to get people to understand me and the reason that I act this way. If somebody can understand that, then they can be like, 'Maybe he's not a bad kid.'"
With the opportunity to fight regularly on television, Broner sees this as his chance to establish himself as one of boxing’s top stars.
"This is the first time that some people are going to be seeing me, and they're going to love me because I'm outspoken and I really don't put a cap on too much. But it's going to be fun,” Broner said.
“I am glad that I still have the crowd that hates me, because crossing over to NBC, this could be the first time that they're seeing me. They haven't seen the videos of the wild things that I used to do. Their first time seeing me, they're going to see a boxer, and that's exactly what I'm going to be."