(CBS Local)- It’s been two years since the boxing world saw Adrien “The Problem” Broner inside the ring. After dropping a unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao in a fight for the WBA world welterweight title in January of 2019, Broner took time away from the sport. That time away has now ended as the former four-division world champion is set to return to the ring on Saturday, February 20 at the Mohegan Sun Casino when he takes on Jovanie “El Lobito” Santiago on Showtime pay-per-view.
The 31-year-old Broner says that the decision to return was an easy one, that he just felt ready to be back in the ring.
“I just felt like it was my time to return. I was ready to return,” said Broner in an interview with CBS Local’s Ryan Mayer. “It was my first time retiring from boxing and taking my big break and healing up. I’m ready to come back and put on some great shows.”
Though the decision to come back felt like the right time, that doesn’t mean the training to get back in boxing shape was easy. As Broner points out, getting back into the rhythm and lifestyle required to fight at a high level requires a different level of commitment.
“It was tough. The very first couple of weeks was grueling. Waking up at 6:30 in the morning go hitting the miles and hitting sprints and then going back to the gym. Just getting back to a boxer’s lifestyle was tough for me,” said Broner.
The camp needed to be difficult to face the 31-year-old Santiago who is undefeated to this point in his career. Heading into next Saturday’s bout, Broner says that he’s going in with a underdog mindset despite his previous stature as one of the best in the sport.
“I really don’t look at fights like that, I don’t go into fights with a mindset of ‘I have the advantage because of this or that.” I got into every fight like I’m the underdog, like everybody is waiting on me to lose and everybody is waiting on me to make mistakes,” said Broner. “That’s how I stay as sharp as possible. I’m going into this fight knowing that Santiago is hungry, he’s undefeated and he wants to keep his 0. I have to stay sharp, and I just got to do what I got to do to get my victory.”
Broner’s desire to stay sharp is also partially due to the skill of his opponent who he views as a good all around fighter. But, he’s confident that he’ll be prepared for whatever Santiago brings to the table.
“I really can’t say what really stands out because he does so many things well. He’s in, he’s out, he can bang if he got to. He’s an all around fighter. For this training camp, I trained my ass off and got in some good work. So whatever he brings to the table, I’ll be ready for it.”
Catch Broner vs. Santiago along with Dominic Brazeale vs. Otto Wallin on Showtime’s pay-per-view card Saturday, February 20 at 9:00 p.m. ET.