Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |



Broner arrest not a distraction, he’s sending Pacquiao back to Senate, says Cunningham

Adrien Broner. Photo by Robby Illanes/SHOWTIME

Speed bumps pop up, and it doesn’t stop the progression of the purpose.

Milestones emerge, and are acknowledged, and then, it’s back to the grind.

January 19 is the date circled on the calendar, and if it plays out as planned in the mind of trainer Kevin Cunningham and his charge Adrien Broner, then at around midnight, AB will have secured a career defining victory.

Broner is slated to take on the fighting Senator, Manny Pacquaio, the pride of the Philippines, one of the world’s most superlative multi-taskers. We checked in with the Florida based Cunningham, the St. Louis expat, an ex cop who has AB in camp with him for the second time. By the sounds of it, Cunningham is exceedingly amped up to see AB at his best take on Manny, who seems on an upswing in this last chapter of a storybook career. They fight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, and on Showtime Pay Per View, for the record.

“We are on the grind. On my birthday! 54. That’s the new 34,” Cunningham told me.  “I feel young and fresh…and training all these great fighters (like Broner, and Gervonta Davis, Erickson Lubin etc.), I feel young and fresh and that is what AB is going to show, be fresh and flashy against Manny.

“This camp has been different, maybe the best of his whole career, and it’s not just the camp. It’s the look. I see the eyes this fight. His whole swagger is different,” Cunningham continued. “It’s the eye of the tiger.”

Broner, age 29, will spar 12 rounds today, Friday, the tutor said.

I probed for more insight…we discussed the recent spate of iffy and errant and controversial scorecards turned in by judges in high profile bouts. Does that change how Cunningham sees things…would he be more inclined to direct Broner to seek a KO, theorizing that he might not get the judge love in a close contest?

“I wouldn’t say we are training for the KO, but don’t be surprised if it happens. Now, strange judging is nothing new to boxing. I wouldn’t put pressure on my fighter to go for KO….we got a game plan, our focus is to win round by round.”

In the past, some pundits have seen Broner throw less than might be called for, if he wants to impress judges. So, will a call for a high volume outing be on Cunningham’d must do list?

“No,” he told us. “People are talking about volume, how busy Manny is. But we are not there to match Manny punch for punch. It’s about the right fights at the right time. It’s not about bunches of punches, it’s about setting up shots, timing the shots, Manny throws a lot of shots, but some are reckless, and we want to make him pay for being reckless.”

And then, you might have seen some other news, one of those “speed bumps.” Broner was arrested Sunday in Broward County, Florida after a warrant for his arrest was issued for failure to appear in court earlier this month. He was booked in county jail and then released. The bench warrant stemmed from a case dating back to December of 2017, according to TMZ. Broner in that instance had no driver’s license, was speeding, and had no registration or proof of insurance.

“I was unaware of the arrest. Obviously there was some warrant, it was nothing major, it was resolved in hours and AB went about his weekend. He never missed training, nobody noticed anything. The bottom line, on a bench warrant, an officer can pull you over, cite you, and you have a court date,” said Cunningham.

“This legal situation should be rectified, I don’t see this as a major distraction.”

Pacman’s trainer Freddie Roach took the opportunity to do some chops busting. In a release to media, “Dedham” Freddie aimed some barbs at AB. “Sounds like Adrien should change his ring name from ‘The Problem’ to ‘The Fugitive.’ This may be the first time,” Roach said,  “I face a corner that includes a bail bondsman!”

The speed bump won’t take Broner off course, Cunningham says. “By January ninth, we will have been in camp ten weeks, it’s been a tremendous camp, and if camp wasn’t going great, I wouldn’t say it just to say it! AB is going to put on a spectacular performance, trust me! Manny is a Senator, we are sending the Senator back to the Senate where he belongs as a 40 year old!”

Woods worked at ESPN Magazine from 2003-2011, after coming from NY Newsday. He was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2009-2015 and then started publishing NYFights.com.