Adrien Broner Opens Up About Mental Health Prior To Williams Jr Fight
Adrien Broner is a month away from his first BLK Prime PPV headlining spot on February 25th, against Michael Williams Jr., yet it appears his biggest fight has been one for him to find happiness and peace of mind.
Broner is now in charge of being the face seemingly of BLK Prime as he left his former entertainment platform, Premier Boxing Champions, for the financially fruitful endeavors of a historic BLK Prime contract that Broner has stated, is three fight deal with a total purse of 10 million dollars.
That being said, Broner is currently in camp with now-longtime coach Kevin Cunningham, and seemingly getting back in shape, but the big question is this: what happened to Broner’s once promising boxing career?
At one point, Broner was the next guy up after Floyd Mayweather, and then his fall from grace after the Marcos Maidana fight was nothing short of cataclysmic, and unthinkable.
“I had to dig myself out of a dark place, man. I don’t think a lot of people understand, but I’m here now and I’m on top of it and it’s time to make this [expletive] work. I been saying it a lot lately and my motto for this fight is ‘[expletive] it.’ I really looked myself in the mirror and I said ‘[expletive] it, no more drinking, no more partying,'” said Broner to Marcos Villegas, the founder of Fight Hub TV, in a lengthy interview conducted between the two of them. “Don’t get me wrong, there’s other ways to get money out here but I’m not gonna be able to do what I want to do and live how I want to live without boxing. So I have to just say ‘[expletive] it’ and put my head down and go to work and that’s what I did. It was tough. I’m talking about every mile, it was tough, but now we working, we feeling good and we here.”
This is a far cry from the Broner who was outspoken, loud, and often rude to his fellow opponents. At 32 years old, life has humbled Adrien Broner, who at one point was looked to be the crux of the sport.
The theme of the Broner story is simple. Addiction and depression are real.
“What made me really say ‘[expletive] it’ and do it is because I felt like everybody was just looking at me and saying fuck me — not literally saying it but the way I was getting handled and the way I was getting treated, it was like ‘fuck him, let him go over here and keep fucking up and we just gonna leave him over there,’ continued Broner to Fight Hub TV. “It was dark. Sometimes you just want to be alone. Sometimes you don’t want to be with nobody and then when you are with people you just still feel alone. A lot of people won’t understand it but it took a lot for me to get out that spot and doing the shit that I was doing, and I had to stop that cold turkey and really just say ‘[expletive] it.’”
These are rarely the words you hear from a fighter, as Broner is looking for redemption, both in and out of the ring. Broner is a different kind of Rocky Balboa. One who was granted a lot, and lost even more. Now, he isn’t quite a broken man, but he isn’t what he once was. The pain and suffering of some of the decisions have made him a loner to a degree. Now, Broner has to live up to the billing that this is the best training camp of his life, as it isn’t just his career riding on it, it appears it might also dictate the future of BLK Prime as well.
“I used to make sure everyone was straight, except for me,” said Broner a month ago. “Now I am taking care of myself.”
It isn’t unlike an old western movie of a shamed man looking to come to terms with his life in a trial or test that creates cinematic magic. Broner is looking to have that final act be the best act, but is it possibly?
“Could some things have been handled differently, yes, but at the end of the day I put it all on myself and that’s just the way I am. I don’t go pointing no fingers, I look myself in the mirror and say ‘I’m at this point in my career, I’m at this point in my life because of you’ and the only way I’m gonna get right is if I make the changes, if I go out here and get on this road, if I do my track workouts — if I do this. So I can’t put it on nobody else. So that’s what I did and I’m back in a good place,” said Broner. “I’m just going to take it a fight at a time, and my main focus is being sharp on Feb. 25th and after that we’ll see what’s on the table.”
The pay-per-view fight on February 25th, between Adrien Broner vs Michael Williams Jr., is less so about the match-up and more so about Broner. Can Broner finally have his redemption? We have heard this from Broner before and the performances haven’t lived up to the hype, think the Jovannie Santiago fight. Now, Broner is in the unenviable spot of being labeled as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” unless he really does get his redemption in the ring.
His opponent, Williams Jr., is rather green, being built on the regional circuit. His lone loss to John Bauza, was one-sided in Bauza’s favor until the time of the stoppage. Williams Jr., has celebs like Roy Jones Jr., who literally will be in his corner as well as Charleston White, who appears to work with the “Guns and Boxing” brand that Williams Jr’s family seems to run.
In the past, an opponent this unproven on the world level would seemingly be fodder for Broner, but at this point, anything goes. We saw Broner pull out the Sunday night of a fight with Omar Figueroa Jr., only to never return to PBC ever again. Broner has been out of the ring for two years, and it has been a very long two years at that.
My lingering question is, what is Broner driving force right now? Is it money or legacy? I think we will find out fight week.
The reason to tune into this fight is unlike many others as it is simple. Can Broner make peace with his past demons and finish his career on his terms? That is why I am watching this bout on February 25th.