A look back at the four-division world champion's finest moments as he prepares to return to the ring this Saturday night against Jovanie Santiago on SHOWTIME.
Adrien Broner accomplished more before his 24th birthday than all but a few fighters do in their entire careers.
The trash-talking, but oh-so-talented Cincinnatian won a major title in a third division while he was still a tender 23 when he outpointed Paulie Malignaggi in 2013. At the advanced age of 26, he added fourth title when he stopped Khabib Allakhverdiev in 2015.
And, in spite of some disappointments in recent years, “The Problem” is far from finished 31. Broner will return from a two-year layoff this Saturday, February 20, as he faces Jovanie Santiago on PBC on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), live from Los Angeles.
We’d like to take the opportunity of Broner’s comeback fight to look back on his remarkable career. Here is a look at five victories that have defined him.
5 JASON LITZAU
Date: June 18, 2011
Location: Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Mexico
At stake: No title
Records at the time: Broner 20-0 (16 KOs), Litzau 28-2 (21 KOs)
Result: Broner TKO 1 (2:58)
Significance: To understand the significance of this fight you have to go back to the one that preceded it. Broner defeated veteran Daniel Ponce de Leon but some believe he received a gift decision. His reputation was tarnished ever so slightly. Litzau, it turned out, would be the perfect remedy. The Minnesotan was a good, proven fighter, having outpointed Rocky Juarez and Celestino Caballero in his previous two fights. However, he didn’t get a chance to show what he could do against his gifted 22-year-old opponent. The fight was just getting started when Broner landed a right-hand bomb that hurt Litzau and followed with a brutal barrage the gave Curtis Thrasher no choice but to stop the fight. Broner never had a more sensational knockout.
4 ELOY PEREZ
Date: Feb. 25, 2012
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis
At stake: Broner’s WBO junior lightweight title
Records at the time: Broner 22-0 (18 KOs), Perez 23-0-2 (7 KOs)
Result: Broner TKO 4 (2:24)
Significance: Broner had won his first title by stopping complete unknown Vicente Martin Rodriguez in three rounds three months earlier. Perez was a different proposition. The Mexican-American was a slick, experienced boxer who some believed had the ability to give Broner significant problems. He didn’t. Broner put Perez down with a monstrous right hand and he was unable to get up, giving the high-flying champion his third consecutive knockout. Indeed, the champion made the most out of his last fight at 130 pounds and continued to build a sterling reputation. Meanwhile, Perez tested positive for cocaine after the fight, was cut by his handlers and never fought again. He died in 2019.
3 PAULIE MALIGNAGGI
Date: June 22, 2013
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
At stake: Malignaggi’s WBA welterweight title
Records at the time: Broner 26-0 (22 KOs), Malignaggi 32-4 (7 KOs)
Result: Broner SD (117-111, 115-113, 113-115)
Significance: Broner, only 23, had already won major titles at 130 and 135 pounds when he made the leap to 147 to challenge Malignaggi in a memorable fight marked by vulgar trash talk in the lead-up to the fight. “Magic Man” won the title by stopping Vyacheslav Senchenko in nine rounds in April 2012, his fifth consecutive victory. Meanwhile, Broner was blossoming into a pound-for-pound star. Something had to give. And it turned to be Malignaggi. Broner started slowly – his opponent won the first two rounds on all three cards – but he picked up his pace, outboxed Malignaggi and landed the heavier blows to win a split decision and a world title in a fourth division at an age when most top fighters are just getting started.
2 KHABIB ALLAKHVERDIEV
Date: Oct. 3, 2015
Location: U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati
At stake: vacant WBA junior welterweight title
Records at the time: Broner 30-2 (22 KOs), Allakhverdiev 19-1 (9 KOs)
Result: Broner TKO 12 (2:23)
Significance: Broner had run into trouble the previous few years, losing for the first time against Marcos Maidana (UD) and again against Shawn Porter (UD) at 147 pounds. Any aura of invincibility he had was gone. However, he still had his elite ability. Allakhverdiev found that out the hard way in Broner’s hometown. Broner, who moved back down to 140 for the fight, thoroughly outboxed the rugged Russian (he had wide leads on all three cards after 11 rounds) and ultimately beat him up. He was pounding Allakhverdiev unmercifully when referee Harvey Dock decided enough was enough and stopped the fight. The end came only 37 seconds before the final bell. Broner was a four-division champion, an achievement that bolsters his credentials as a potential Hall of Famer. Allakhverdiev never fought again.
1 ANTONIO DEMARCO
Date: Nov. 17, 2012
Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J.
At stake: DeMarco’s WBC lightweight title
Records at the time: Broner 24-0 (20 KOs), DeMarco 28-2-1
Result: Broner TKO 8 (1:49)
Significance: Broner had been stripped of his WBO 130-pound title when he failed to make weight for his scheduled defense against U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo in July 2012, a fight he won by a fifth-round knockout. No problem. He simply moved up to 135 and challenged WBC champ Antonio DeMarco, the time-tested veteran who was coming off a first-round knockout of John Molina Jr. He was no match for Broner. The challenger overwhelmed DeMarco with his speed and power to beat him up, break him down and take him out at 1:49 of Round 8. Broner was only 23 but already a two-division champion and veritable sensation.
For a closer look at Adrien Broner, check out his fighter page.