Trainer Mike Stafford on Adrien Broner’s ascension towards stardom, the possibility of a Vegas training camp, and an eventual Mayweather fight

Rising star Adrien Broner, right, facing off with Paulie Malignaggi this past June (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)

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By Chris Robinson 

Very few prizefighters in boxing have come along and taken the sport by storm in the way that three-division world champion Adrien Broner has over the past few years.

Possessing qualities that are both charismatic and outlandish, Broner is the type of guy you seem to either love or hate. But at the end of the day, the 23-year old Cincinnati native seems to find a way to keep spotlight shining upon him.

The latest news surrounding Broner is that of a possible clash with Argentina’s Marcos Maidana, who he likely will meet this November in Las Vegas in his first pay per view showcase. It’s a risky matchup for the ultra-confident Broner, but the type of fight that will continue his climb up boxing’s ladder if successful.

Wanting a better sense of Broner as a fighter and person, I reached out to his longtime trainer Mike Stafford to discuss a few topics related to his charge.

In this one on one, Stafford discusses Broner’s recent razor-thin victory over Paulie Malignaggi in Brooklyn, gives his thoughts on the feedback from critics, reveals whether they might train in Las Vegas this coming camp, and shares his outlook on a possible meeting between his fighter and pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather in the future.

This is what Stafford had to share.

Broner’s split-decision victory over Malignaggi…
“He’s showing everybody that he can adjust to anybody in front of him. A lot of the critics are saying it was a close fight. To me, it wasn’t a close fight. I thought he showed excellent defense, he counterpunched, and he landed the clear, better shots. He walked him down. He did everything that we wanted him to do, other than get the knockout. Adrien has set his bar so high with his knockout ratio, once he doesn’t knock somebody out they want to complain and say he’s not the greatest. But he showed everybody he’s the total package.”

Why the critics expect too much from Broner…
“They’re always going to be harsh. He’s 23 and he’s fighting a 33-year old veteran and they don’t give him no credit. That’s crazy. The kid aint nothing but 23 and doing a spectacular thing. They expect too much out of him. And they feel that he doesn’t hold up to what they think he’s supposed to do and they’re saying he’s not the one. And that’s not fair. The bottom line, whether you knock a person out or win a split-decision, you want to win. And that’s the main thing.”

His history with Adrien…
“I’ve been knowing him since he was close to six years old. When I first started working with him, he was a ball of fire. He’s always been fast and aggressive. Ever since he was six or seven years old. He’s been strong and he was doing the same thing he’s doing now. He was stopping people. So, it’s not that he’s doing something totally real new. He’s had over 300 amateur fights and he’s a man now. But in the amateurs he did the same thing. That’s how he won in the amateurs; speed, power, and aggressiveness. And at the end of the day he still possesses that. He’s always aggressive.”

A ball of fire…
“That’s Adrien. He’s come from the inner city. It isn’t like he was a church boy or something like that. I mean, he’s an inner city rough kid. A lot of times, you learn stuff from the streets and stuff like that. The bottom line, though, he’s a good kid and he does a lot for the community and stuff like that. He’s an outgoing person. Some people take it for more of what it is. He’s just energetic and the way he is. He wants to be the center of attention. He wants to be number one. That’s how he’s always been. Even when he played basketball, he wants to be the best basketball player. He competes. If he raps, he wants to be the best rapper. He’s just a competitive person. He always was a ball of fire.”

The possibility of training Adrien out of Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas next month…
“I probably will, you know what I’m saying? It depends on my schedule. I’ve got a busy schedule. Right now, I don’t know. Because if I come out, I will probably bring a lot of kids and my other guys because they have fights coming up. We’ve got so many people fighting. I’ve got so many people. It’s kind of hard to say. We’ll probably be down around September or something. Probably around Floyd’s fight. We’ll be at Floyd’s fight. I’m having a couple kids fighting that week.”

Eyeing future opportunities…
“Well, it’s up to me and Al Haymon and Golden Boy and R&R Promotions. Mainly, me and Al Haymon make the planned decision and naturally, Adrien, he doesn’t care who he fights. And that’s the bottom line at this point. He’s done fought well enough, he’s shown the world. He’s making Golden Boy money, he’s making TV money; he’s making money for everybody. Right now, he’s got a family so he’s got to get paid now. I think he put himself as one of the top guys in boxing. Now he can get paid. Basically, the opponent would have to be up to the promoter, the TV, a combination of all of that. For him to get paid, he’d have to get the right opponent. It’s more than just what you or the public or the media wants.”

Why a move back to lightweight likely isn’t in the cards from Broner…
“The bottom line, the money’s got to make sense for him and I don’t think at the lower weight classes you have the top guys who could generate the money that he could. It wouldn’t be worth it to try and go down in weight and try to do that just to make a fight. It would have to be a major fight for him to go down to 135. A major, major fight. There isn’t nobody down there. He wiped out the division. He wiped out 135 and he hasn’t explored [140] because he has not had the opportunity. We’ll see.”

Responding to Floyd Mayweather Sr.’s statements that a fight between Broner and his son could take place if the money was right…
“Well, it’s up to the kids. Me and Floyd can go back and forth and say this and say that, but it’s up the two fighters. You would have to ask them that. Because, I don’t think Floyd should be trying to answer questions for his son. I think his son is in control of his own destiny. He’s 44 and 0; he don’t need nobody telling him who he should fight. It’s up to the kids. I’m not going to get into no talking matches with Floyd Sr. I respect him. He don’t know nothing about Adrien and I don’t think he know the relationship of Floyd and Adrien. I think that he should leave that situation alone and let them handle that. We’ve got a great relationship with Al Haymon and Floyd’s got a good relationship with Al Haymon. I think Floyd Sr. is talking for Floyd Sr., I don’t think he’s talking for his son.”

Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com

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